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Monday, March 20, 2023

Real Betis 0-1 Manchester United Match Report | Europa League 22-23

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Manchester United advanced to the Europa League quarterfinals after defeating Real Betis 5-1 on aggregate. Following a convincing 4-1 win at Old Trafford a week ago, the Reds followed it up with a 1-0 win away from home to secure a place in the competition’s last eight.

Both goalkeepers would play key roles in a frantic, end-to-end second leg, but it was a stunning strike from Marcus Rashford that would prove to be the difference-maker tonight.

Both United and Betis were welcomed into a raucous Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville, and while the hosts needed a quick start, it was the Reds who dominated from the start. In his first start for the senior side, Facundo Pellistri saw his cross float just over where Rashford was waiting. A few minutes later, the pair were involved again, this time with Rashford looking to play in the young Uruguayan, but Rui Silva was quick off his line to gather the ball.

Despite Ten Hag’s men making a strong statement, Betis grew into the game and began to carve out chances in search of a potentially game-changing opener in the first 10 minutes. The best of those fell to Juanmi, who was forced wide by a heavy touch before cushioning an effort beyond David De Gea that bounced just outside the post. On the half-hour mark, our no.1 read the situation well and was quick on his feet to deny Betis’ no.7 with a brilliant defense-splitting pass. Joaquin was also unlucky, as his fierce drive clipped the outside of a post, resulting in a corner, presumably for the smallest of touches off Casemiro.

Although the Reds had a comfortable aggregate lead going into the second leg in Seville, the first 45 minutes were a frantic, end-to-end battle as both sides sought the opening goal. The home team tested the United defence in the minutes before the break, but our back four stood firm.

Facundo Pellistri has given Manchester United a different threat in their forward line after Real Betis performance | @TyMarshall_MEN #mufc https://t.co/YLg70AYbvt

— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) March 17, 2023

We failed to score in the final action of the game, as Wout Weghorst couldn’t quite get on the end of Pellistri’s scuffed shot, before a thumping clearance was met by the whistle, signalling half-time with the score at 0-0.

The second half continued where the first left off, with an electrifying atmosphere and enthralling action from both hosts and visitors. Rui Silva saved Rashford’s huge chance before De Gea’s point-blank save denied Ayoze Perez a goal for Betis, fisting it away to safety. Minutes later, a brilliant Reds move saw the ball fall to Rashford once more, but our no.10 blazed his effort over.

Rashford, on the other hand, needed only seconds to make up for those missed opportunities. Picking up the ball on the edge of the area, the England international, who was named to Gareth Southgate’s latest squad earlier today, unleashed a potent, twisty effort that moved vigorously in the air before resolving into the bottom corner of Rui Silva’s goal for the game’s first goal.

Ten Hag turned to his seat for fresh legs with a four-goal aggregate lead to see out the win away from home. Marcel Sabitzer made an almost immediate impact, being on the end of a great pass from Bruno Fernandes just five minutes after his introduction, but the Austrian was denied by Betis.

Our opener appeared to deflate the Spanish team’s hopes, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side unable to create many clear-cut chances in the aftermath, despite some intricate play in and around the box. Meanwhile, the introductions of Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga boosted our confidence, with the former put through on goal one-on-one with the goalkeeper, which Rui Silva won despite the offside flag.

The Reds comfortably saw out the game, resting some legs in the process, and will now take part in Friday’s draw to determine the competition’s quarter-final ties, before welcoming Fulham to Old Trafford for the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday.

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