Marcus Rashford’s heroics were not enough for Manchester United as Raphinha’s fortuitous goal rescued Barcelona a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off.
In-form Rashford scored his 22nd goal of the season — matching his best tally for a single campaign – to cancel out Marcos Alonso’s opener in Thursday’s thrilling clash at Camp Nou.
United were ahead nine minutes after falling behind thanks to more good work from Rashford, whose quick thinking from a short corner culminated in Jules Kounde putting into his own net.
But Barca, who lost influential midfielder Pedri to a first-half injury, hit back against the run of play in the 76th minute when Raphinha’s cross went right the way through to keep things finely poised ahead of next week’s return leg
Wout Weghorst was played clean through by Bruno Fernandes in the first big opening of the game but was denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who was also equal to Casemiro’s header.
Ter Stegen produced another fine stop to keep out Rashford, while David de Gea got a strong hand to Jordi Alba’s effort after Aaron Wan-Bissaka was caught dawdling.
Alonso opened the scoring four minutes into the second half, losing his marker and heading in Raphinha’s corner, but the visitors swiftly levelled.
Fred surged forward and played in Rashford, who blasted past Ter Stegen at his near post to keep his hot streak going.
Rashford was key again just before the hour, driving into the box and delivering a cross that went in off Kounde after Fernandes flicked it on.
United had a penalty appeal for an apparent Kounde trip on Rashford rejected and they were further aggrieved when pegged back soon after — Raphinha’s right-sided cross evading Robert Lewandowski and nutmegging Raphael Varane before nestling in the bottom-left corner.
Barca went particularly close to finding a late winner as Casemiro hit his own post amid a scramble, before De Gea superbly denied Ansu Fati in a gripping conclusion