Manchester United beat Real Betis 1-0 in the UEFA Europa League, 5-1 on aggregate putting them into the quarter finals in for competition. It was a tetchy match for United with Betis getting the early chances but poor in doing so. Marcus Rashford scored his 27th goal of the season in the 55th minute of the match to end the tie for the Spanish side. United looked pretty tired during the match and their fixture calendar will continue to be busy.
United started well in Seville but Facundo Pellistri was caught offside in the second minute of the match. Casemiro blocked a shot on goal from Betis forward Ayoze Perez in the fourth minute of the match with the Spanish side also starting the match brightly. United won a corner in the eighth minute of the match, which Bruno Fernandes took. The ball was fed into Casemiro, who flicked the ball into Wout Weghorst, who could not find the target. Unfortunate for United.
In the same minute, Juanmi was played in by Perez but he was unable to find the target either. Joaquin had a shot on goal in the 11th minute of the match but the 41-year-old’s shot was off target, just hitting the post as David De Gea made the dive to make the save. United were starting to look off the pace in this match with Marcus Rashford losing his footing on an attack. Fernandes then had a shot in the 20th minute, firing it over the crossbar. United needed to so better.
Betis made their first substitution of the match in the 26th minute with Juan Miranda replacing Abner Vinicius because of an injury. Pellistri was booked in the 29th minute for a foul but it looked like he was stood on and booked for it. Very bad officiating but United are used to that lately. Juanmi had a shot on goal in the 32nd minute of the match after a through ball from Aitor Ruibal but De Gea was off his line quickly to make the save for United.
United needed to get into this match as Betis were the team most likely to score but their attacking had been poor to this point. United were still in the lead with their three-goal cushion obtained from the 4-1 victory in the first leg at Old Trafford but one goal for Betis could put the Spanish team back into the match. United did not seem to be close to their best though – matches catching up on them playing every three days for the last 80+ days.
In the 37th minute, Fernandes played the ball into the box to Rashford but the England forward could not meet the ball. Harry Maguire put a big block in to deny Betis in the 42nd minute of the match, then carrying the ball on the right flank to launch a United attack. United should have had their goal in the second minute of added time with Pellistri and Wout Weghorst on the attack – the Dutchman was so close to getting the ball into the net. 0-0 at half time.
There were no substitutions for either side at the start of the second half. Joaquin had a shot on goal in the 46th minute of the match but he missed the target once again. Rashford had a shot on goal in the 50th minute of the match but his left-footed shot was well over the crossbar. Three minutes later Rashford was denied a goal after Pellistri started the attack, beating a man and finding Fernandes who fed Rashford but the Rui Silva made the save to deny him.
Rashford then missed a glorious chance in the 55th minute, timing his run well to meet the ball which Fernandes sent in for him. He skied his effort. Rashford then found the back of the net in the same minute after Casemiro fed the ball into him superbly and firing his shot from about 25-yards into the far bottom corner. It was his 27th goal of the season so far and put United 1-0 up on the night, 5-1 up on aggregate. Betis were out of the Europa League surely?
In the 58th and 59th minute, Betis made a triple substitution with Willian Jose, Borja Iglesias and Sergio Canales replacing Ayoze Perez, Aitor Ruibal and Joaquin. Erik ten Hag made a double substitution on the hour with Jadon Sancho and Marcel Sabitzer replacing Marcus Rashford and Fred. In the 66th minute, Andres Guardado replaced Guido Rodriguez for Betis and two minutes later, Anthony Elanga replaced Bruno Fernandes to save him for the weekend.
Weghorst had a shot on goal in the 70th minute of the match after Sancho played the ball to him but the Dutchman failed to connect cleanly and his effort made the ball bounce up with Silva making the save easily. Granted, it was not a goal that United needed nor would cost them as Betis needed five goals tonight to knock United out of the Europa League this season. Betis won a free-kick after Maguire fouled Borja Iglesias – I came to nothing for Betis.
In the 75th minute, Ten Hag made a double substitution with Diogo Dalot and Victor Lindelof replacing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Lisandro Martinez. United started to play better after the first lot of substitutions, even though they had scored before that. They seemed more fluid in the attack but still did not find any more goals. Sancho did have a chance on goal in the 80th minute but he was offside and he struck it straight at the goalkeeper anyway.
Three minutes were added on at the end of the match but United were already through. Betis seemed to be the better team in the first half but they could not make it count. As soon as Rashford scored his 27th goal of the season, that was it – game over for them. United will find out their UEFA Europa League quarter final fate shortly after noon on Friday but by that time, they will be gearing up for the Emirates FA Cup quarter final against Fulham on Sunday.
David De Gea: I think he needs to improve on his distribution – but teaching an old dog new tricks can be complicated. He made some important saves against Betis, specifically against Juanmi. Held on though and United are through to the UEFA Europa League quarter finals this season. ★★★★★★★
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: The right-back brought energy to the match and he utilised the space well. His use of the ball was not the best though. He has been largely positive in recent weeks. I just think this United side has been tired out playing every three days for 80+ date and it won’t get easier yet. Replaced by Diogo Dalot 75′. ★★★★★★
Harry Maguire: He was solid in defence against Betis despite them being the better team in the first have and having many different chances. Should have maybe scored with a header from a corner in the second half. That said, it is good to see him get a run out again as United need rotational options. ★★★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: Defended superbly and was not fazed by Betis at all. The atmosphere did not shake him either. He showed his importance in the team with his selection at a time that players will be needing a rest. Some players have that winner’s mentality where they will throw every ounce they have. Replaced by Victor Lindelof 75′. ★★★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: It was a panicky first half for the Dutch left-back and the atmosphere did not perhaps help him. He was much like his United teammates in the first half – poor – but in the second half, they raised their game with Marcus Rashford getting the goal to seal the victory. He did well when United fought back. ★★★★★★
Casemiro: It was a slow start for the Brazilian midfielder and United as a whole and as soon as United got to speed in the game, he managed himself superbly. He got his sixth assist of the season for Rashford’s goal. He will miss the next four domestic matches due to suspension now, so he will get a rest. ★★★★★★★
Fred: Energetic and largely ineffective. That was Fred’s performance against Betis. He’s a useful player to have under Erik ten Hag but when he has a bad game, the players around him suffer too. He played further forward against Betis but did not get anything – his shots were speculative. Replaced by Marcel Sabitzer 60′. ★★★★★★
Facundo Pellistri: Made his first start for United and was effective on the right-wing. Booked for a foul, which seemed to be on him, to by him. Seemed to be ahead of his teammates in terms of wavelength as he broke forward with no support. He’s a bright player and needs to see more action for United. ★★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: In terms of influence, he had little to none in this match. A booking for him would mean suspension for the first leg of the quarter final. He managed to avoid that so will be fine now. We need to see more from Bruno Fernandes this season but he has played 43 of the 45 matches United have played. Replaced by Anthony Elanga 68′. ★★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: For 55 minutes of the match he was not in the right zone for United. He looked tired, uninspired and unable to get anything. However, he turned on the style enough to get his 27th goal of the season, assisted by Casemiro which settled the tie for United with a 5-1 aggregate victory. Replaced by Jadon Sancho 60′. ★★★★★★★
Wout Weghorst: This was his 17th successive start for United and it was not a match that he would hit the headlines with for the right reasons. He was not at his best in holding up the ball or creating space and his the post from close range. He’s still a positive player to have but United need better from him. ★★★★★
Jadon Sancho: Replaced Rashford 60′. Showed a lack of pace on a number of occasions. I would like to see so much more from him. United paid a pretty penny for his services and are not getting much from him. ★★★★★
Marcel Sabitzer: Replaced Fred 60′. Saw an effort on goal saved by Rui Silva. It is good to see him back after missing the last few matches with a knock. He needs to be a big player for United with Casemiro suspended. ★★★★★★
Anthony Elanga: Replaced Fernandes 68′. Had no impact at all. Did have a shot on goal but it was embarrassingly wide of the target. He needs to go out on loan to gain some confidence and perfect his ability. ★★★★
Diogo Dalot: Replaced Wan-Bissaka 75′. Provided energy at right-back and had a good crossing chance against Betis. United have two good right-backs this season but both have had lulls recently. ★★★★★★
Victor Lindelof: Replaced Martinez 75′. Gave Lisandro Martinez a bit of a rest before Sunday’s clash with Fulham at Old Trafford. Did not step a foot wrong and did what was required for 15 minutes or so. ★★★★★★
Goals: Marcus Rashford 55′
Assists: Casemiro 55′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (Dalot 75′), Maguire, Martinez (Lindelof 75′), Malacia; Casemiro, Fernandes (Elanga 68′); Pellistri, Fred (Sabitzer 60′), Rashford (Sancho 60′); Weghorst
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton, Butland; Varane, Shaw; McTominay
Bookings: Facundo Pellistri 29′
Written by John Walker