Match Info – Manchester United vs Real Betis – 2023-03-09
Manchester United’s unbeaten record at Old Trafford continued with a convincing 4-1 victory over Real Betis in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League last-16 encounter.
Eager to bounce back from their crushing 7-0 defeat to Liverpool, Ajax manager Erik ten Hag was left grinning from ear to ear just six minutes into their match against Real Betis as Marcus Rashford’s clinical strike gave the hosts an early lead, taking advantage of an error from the Spanish side’s defense and putting to rest any lingering nerves among the Manchester United faithful following their heavy loss.
Betis showed their resolve in their inaugural visit to Old Trafford, responding to United’s early goal with a confident display that saw them level the scoreline midway through the first half through Ayoze Pérez’s composed finish inside the box, with the forward looking to replicate his past success against United after previously registering two assists in their prior encounter while playing for parent club Leicester City, while United were saved from conceding a second goal just before the break when the woodwork came to their rescue.
12 & 6 – Manchester United have scored 12 goals from fast break situations this season, the most of any team from Europe's top five leagues in all competitions; six of them have been scored by Marcus Rashford, also the most of any player in Europe. Rush. pic.twitter.com/cWExxDdhhs
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 9, 2023
The second half saw a change in momentum, as Manchester United took control of the tie with two quick goals in the space of 10 minutes, first from Antony’s well-placed shot and then a lucky deflection from Claudio Bravo, who failed to keep out Bruno Fernandes’ header. The visitors tried to mount a comeback, but the Red Devils defense held firm to secure a comfortable 4-1 victory in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.
Wout Weghorst seized the opportunity to contribute to the score, finding the back of the net for only the second time since he joined United, thanks to Facundo Pellistri’s exceptional play in the lead-up. In summary, United’s response was crucial, and despite still bearing the emotional wounds from Sunday’s tragic event, they demonstrated progress and are now within reach of the UEL quarter-finals.