A hard-fought 90 minutes in Man Utd vs Real Betis at Old Trafford on Thursday ultimately culminated in Manchester United all but booking their spot in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, at the expense of Real Betis.
Erik ten Hag’s troops marked their return to action a short time ago.
Fresh off a harrowing seven-goal drubbing at the hands of Liverpool at the weekend, the Red Devils turned their attentions back towards matters on the continent, desperate for a bounce-back result in Man Utd vs Real Betis, first leg tie.
And it was star frontman Marcus Rashford who set United on their way towards precisely that inside five minutes on Thursday.
After latching onto the ball inside the visitors’ penalty area, Rashford showcased supreme confidence in cutting outside, before lashing home into the roof of the net:
Visitors Betis, to their credit, did pull level in deserved fashion just beyond the half-hour mark, before Leicester City loanee Ayoze Perez came close to doubling his tally for the evening, only to see a deflected effort come back off the post.
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Safe to say, then, that Man Utd required a step up in performance on the other side of the interval.
And, in a boost for all associated with the club, this, in turn, is precisely what was forthcoming.
First, just over five minutes into the 2nd-half, Antony put Ten Hag and co. back in front, courtesy of a sumptuous left-footed effort.
Then, just shy of the hour mark, it was the turn of Bruno Fernandes to kill off not only the game, but potentially the tie, too, in nodding home Luke Shaw’s whipped corner kick.
And yet, there was still time for further celebration inside the Theatre of Dreams.
This came in the game’s closing stages, as Wout Weghorst, at long last, notched his first home goal in Manchester United colours to round out the scoring in England’s northwest.
Antony and Weghorst both missed glorious chances to extend United’s lead further, but Erik ten Hag’s side will still travel to Spain next Thursday in pole position to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.
The return leg of Man Utd vs Real Betis will played out next week to decide the team reaching UEL’s last eight.