(Football news) Marcus Rashford scored his 27th goal of the season as Manchester United went on to secure a 1-0 victory over Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin in the Europa League. The result meant that the Red Devils secured a 5-1 win on aggregate and progressed into the quarter finals of the tournament and now have a good opportunity to win a European trophy, especially since Arsenal were eliminated by Sporting CP on penalties. It wasn’t the best performance for Erik ten Hag’s side who struggled to control the first half which almost led to Betis taking an early lead but Juanmi missed the target.
Real Betis’ wastefulness proved to be Manchester United’s gain as the Red Devils weathered the storm and took the lead in the 55th minute through Marcus Rashford who redeemed himself after a bad miss earlier in the match. In team news, Facundo Pellistri made his first start for Manchester United as Erik ten Hag made four changes to his lineup.
Captain Harry Maguire replaced Raphael Varane in defence while Tyrell Malacia featured instead of Luke Shaw. Midfielder Marcel Sabitzer recovered from his injury and featured on the bench before making a second half appearance. The UEFA Europa League quarter-final and semi-final draw will take place on March 17th in Nyon, Switzerland at UEFA’s headquarters.
Speaking after the match, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said “I am happy but we like challenges and we knew that Betis is a good team, we saw that against Real Madrid and Barcelona. But we beat them twice so I think we performed very well. I think we could have taken the lead but there were moments in rest defence and our defensive transition when they could break.
“We had to avoid that and keep more control on the ball and use the overload in the midfield. We didn’t always do it. Second half was much better but they also lost energy, especially after the first goal. We were much better on the ball, much more calm, kept the ball in the opponent’s half, made them run and then you see we created chances.”
“All the players did very well, the players that come in can do a job and give good performances so we not only have 11 players, we have a squad. For Facundo, it is great to come in, he had some good comments and performances in training but a game is different. In the start he has to come in, but you saw after some minutes he got belief and had some really good actions, defending and doing his job. So I am really pleased with his performance. This time no red cards, no injuries. In our squad we have depth, but not that big.”
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire said “I’m doing my part on and off the field. It’s been a good two games over the two legs. Betis are a good team, they’re fifth in LaLiga. We knew it wouldn’t be an easy draw. They came at us and threw everything at us, but we expected a fast start from them. We knew if we didn’t concede in the first 20 minutes it would have been a big part of the game well done. In the second half we controlled the game really well, we got the goal we deserved and after that we played well.
“Listen, I work hard at training and that’s all you can do. It’s not been too long since my last game, it was only a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve started five or six games since the World Cup. Obviously I want to play more and start more but I’m doing my part on and off the field. I have an important role at this club and every day I try to make this club succeed whether I’m playing or not.”
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