Monday, March 4, 2024

Man United vs Real Betis score, highlights and analysis as Red Devils seal resounding Europa League win

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Manchester United will have been desperate to respond to their humiliating loss to Liverpool as quickly as possible, and they did that in some style with a 4-1 Europa League last-16 first-leg win over Real Betis.

Much of the build-up to this fixture was dominated by frank assessments of that embarrassing loss at Anfield and an insistence from manager Erik ten Hag that it would not define their season. It felt significant that Ten Hag picked the same starting lineup from that Premier League loss to the Reds, and if he had wanted a response, he got it.

United were ahead after only six minutes. Bruno Fernandes, restored to a No.10 role here after playing wide against Liverpool, had a cross cut out and the ball fell to Marcus Rashford. A quick shift to his right foot and a ferocious strike later, and the England star was celebrating his 26th goal of the season.

Yet Betis, who held Real Madrid to a draw in their previous La Liga match, struck back in the first half. Leicester City loanee Ayoze Perez rifled a precise strike across David de Gea’s goal from the right and into the bottom corner, giving Manuel Pellegrini’s men an equaliser with their first shot on target.

Perez saw a shot deflected onto the post just before the break and there was a sense of nervousness around Old Trafford given United’s second-half collapse at Anfield. This time, though, it was Ten Hag’s side who blew their opponents away after the restart.

Fernandes turned expertly away from veteran Joaquin and played it wide to Antony. Fullback Abner allowed his compatriot to cut inside onto his left foot, and he curled an exquisite finish beyond Claudio Bravo.

It was 3-1 six minutes later, Fernandes getting the goal his performance deserved, his header from Luke Shaw’s corner too powerful for Bravo to keep out.

The biggest cheer of the night came in the closing moments, as Wout Weghorst swept home his first Old Trafford goal after Bravo had saved from Scott McTominay. The striker was close to tears as he was mobbed by teammates and the United fans roared their approval as his name was read out over the tannoy.

Betis simply had no response and United could easily have scored more, but this is a result that puts them in a commanding position ahead of the return fixture in Seville next week.

Man United vs Real Betis score

  1H 2H Final
Man United 1 4 4
Real Betis 1 1 1

Goals:
MAN UNITED — Marcus Rashford — 6 mins

REAL BETIS — Ayoze Perez — 32 mins

MAN UNITED — Antony — 52 mins

MAN UNITED — Bruno Fernandes — 58 mins

MAN UNITED — Wout Weghorst — 82 mins

Man United vs Real Betis analysis

Bruno Fernandes responds like a leader

Not many players come out of a 7-0 defeat without facing a fair amount of scrutiny, but much of the post-Anfield inquest has fallen on the performance — and attitude — of Bruno Fernandes. He was labelled “embarrassing” by former United captain Gary Neville for an ineffective and petulant performance, and there were some vitriolic condemnations in plenty of other broadcasts, columns and social media posts, many of which questioned why Fernandes was captaining the team.

Against Betis, he showed why.

Fernandes was involved in all four of United’s goals, his output on the ball back to its most effective levels. He linked play superbly between the attack and midfield, and he covered the space across the middle third whenever Betis had the ball, at one point winning a tackle before juggling the ball over his opponent’s head before laying it off to a teammate. It was also his quick reactions in his own box that saw Perez’s shot deflect onto the post when it looked certain Betis would score.

There was one rash moment when he was booked for catching Bravo as he tried to stretch for a loose ball, but this was otherwise a case of Fernandes letting his ability with the ball do the talking, with no whinging or arm-waving in sight. According to ex-United midfielder Owen Hargreaves, Fernandes was “unplayable” in the second half. He certainlty silenced a few doubters.

Wout Weghorst gets the sweetest of just deserts

There may not be a more popular goalscorer all season for Manchester United than Wout Weghorst. Before tonight, his only goal for the club came in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal against Nottingham Forest back on January 25, and that was at the City Ground. Against Betis, after seeing a close-range shot deflected wide before missing almost an open goal (okay, he was offside anyway), Weghorst must have wondered if he would ever score at Old Trafford.

It only made the moment all the sweeter when it finally arrived. Facundo Pellistri did brilliantly with a run and cross, Scott McTominay was denied by Bravo, but Weghorst made no mistake with the rebound. The pure, unbridled joy and relief on his face, the knee-slide in the snow, the tears welling as his teammates mobbed him — it was a moment he will not forget in a hurry.

Sure, Weghorst is not the long-term solution to United’s No.9 problem — it’s why he was only signed on loan — but he has worked tirelessly for Ten Hag and proven himself a useful option. He deserved his moment in front of the Stretford End.

Man United vs Real Betis commentary, highlights from Europa League

Confirmed lineups:

Man United (4-2-3-1, right to left): 1-De Gea (GK) — 20-Dalot, 19-Varane, 6-Martinez, 23-Shaw — 18-Casemiro, 17-Fred — 21-Antony, 27-Weghorst, 8-Fernandes — 10-Rashford

Man United subs: 22-Heaton (GK), 5-Maguire, 28-Pellistri, 49-Garnacho, 31-Butland (GK), 73-Mainoo, 2-Lindelof, 39-McTominay, 25-Sancho, 29-Wan-Bissaka, 12-Malacia, 36-Elanga

Real Betis (4-2-3-1, right to left): 1-Bravo (GK) — 23-Sabaly, 16-Pezzella, 19-Luiz Felipe, 20-Abner — 14-Carvalho, 5-Rodriguez —11-Luis Henrique, 17-Joaquin, 7-Juanmi — 21-Perez

Real Betis subs: 25-Martin (GK) 12-Willian Jose, 9-Iglesias, 37-Perez, 3-E. Gonzalez, 6-Ruiz, 13-Rui Silva (GK), 28-Rodri, 24-Ruibal, 18-Guardado, 10-Canales, 33-Miranda

MORE: Manchester United quadruple chase 2022/2023: Can Red Devils win four trophies?

FT: That’s that! Man United will take a 4-1 lead to Seville. Real Betis made a real contest of this in the first 45 minutes, but that was a very one-sided second half — and just the tonic Erik ten Hag and his players needed.

90 + 3 mins: Bruno Fernandes, who’s been exceptional for Man United, threads the ball to Facundo Pellistri on the break, but the winger’s shot is parried behind by Claudio Bravo. Betis will be thankful this scoreline isn’t more one-sided.

90 mins: Lisandro Martinez darts towards goal to meet Bruno Fernandes’ corner but that was a very difficult angle to get the ball on target. We’ll have four minutes of added time.

82 mins: WOUT WEGHORST HAS HIS GOAL! At last, at long last, he’s scored for Man United at Old Trafford! Bruno Fernandes fires a corner to Facundo Pellistri, who’s just come on, and he runs around the outside of three Betis defenders before cutting the ball back. Scott McTominay, with his first touch since coming on, sees his first-time shot saved, but Weghorst simply can’t miss from there. The celebrations and the cheer around Old Trafford that followed when his name was read out… that was quite something.

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79 mins: Great save, Claudio Bravo! Wout Weghorst slides the ball through to Antony but Bravo is off his line quickly and gets enough on the shot to turn it away from goal. United sense a fourth goal could be on the cards here.

76 mins: Wout Weghorst thought his moment had come! Luiz Felipe cut out Fred’s throughball, and just as the ball was sitting up kindly for the United striker, the Betis defender stuck out a foot and took all the pace off the shot.

74 mins: A rare attack in this half from Betis sees Aitor Ruibal try to take on Tyrell Malacia in the United box, but the full-back blocks the cross and then prevents the corner. Good defending.

69 mins: Bruno Fernandes has been brilliant tonight, but he’s into the book for catching Claudio Bravo on the shin as he stretched to reach a loose ball. Fernandes seemed to make contact with his instep, which may well have saved him more serious punishment there.

68 mins: Substitute Jadon Sancho — on for Marcus Rashford — tries to dance into space in the Betis box before teeing up Fred, but his shot is an easy save for Claudio Bravo.

62 mins: What a chance for 4-1! A one-two between Antony and Bruno Fernandes sends the Brazilian clear in the box. There are THREE United players waiting for the cut-back for what would be a simple tap-in, but Antony tries to chip Claudio Bravo and the ball lands on the roof of the net. It would have been some goal, but surely he had to pass that?

58 mins: MAN UNITED MAKE IT 3-1! Just as Betis are about to bring on the talent and experience of Sergio Canales, they find themselves two goals down. Luke Shaw’s corner picked out the unmarked Bruno Fernandes on the corner of the six-yard box, and his header was too powerful for Claudio Bravo to keep out.

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52 mins: WHAT A GOAL BY ANTONY! Man United are back in front in sensational style! Bruno Fernandes turns nicely away from Joaquin and plays the ball wide to Antony. It seems everyone knows what the Brazilian will do — everyone except full-back Abner, who shows him onto his left foot. Antony is happy to oblige, curling a quite exquisite shot into the top-left corner, with Claudio Bravo able only to stand and watch.

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50 mins: United are on the front foot but there’s still a sense of them rushing things a little. Bruno Fernandes is doing his best to offer a calmer solution in possession.

46 mins: We’re back underway in snowy Manchester. United are making a change, with Diogo Dalot off and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on.

HT: It’s 1-1 at the break, and there’s no doubt Betis will be the happier team. They are deservedly on level terms and could easily have taken the lead just before the interval. United have no real control on this game and they need to find some composure to their play.

44 mins: A HUGE LET-OFF FOR UNITED! David de Gea passes straight to Juanmi and suddenly Betis have a three-on-two on the edge of the box. Juanmi finds Ayoze Perez, whose shot is partially blocked by Bruno Fernandes, and the ball bounces off the right-hand post and away. A massive slice of good fortune for United and their goalkeeper.

40 mins: Betis have taken control since that equaliser. United are struggling to regain a foothold in possession; David de Gea just kicked straight to a green-and-white shirt and Diogo Dalot gave away a free-kick.

35 mins: There was a check for handball in the build-up to the equaliser, but Juanmi escaped punishment. Correct call?

32 mins: REAL BETIS EQUALISE! It comes from Casemiro giving the ball away, but it’s a wonderful finish from Ayoze Perez! Juanmi switches the play to the Leicester City loanee just inside the box on the right-hand side, and he arrows in a low shot, with the outside of his right foot, that finds the bottom-left corner.

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30th min: Good chance for Marcus Rashford! The pass from Antony is a little bit behind him but he gets the low shot on target, and Claudio Bravo does enough to push it away from goal and out of reach of the waiting Wout Weghorst. Casemiro hooks a half-volley over the bar following the corner.

28th min: Oh, Wout Weghorst, the ball just won’t go in, will it? Antony’s cross from the left is pinpoint, the striker stretches to meet it, but he turns the ball over the bar from six yards, right in front of the net. It would likely have been ruled out for offside anyway.

24th min: Betis have recovered some composure and are enjoying some possession in United’s half. The Red Devils are defending well so far, though.

18th min: This has been a bit of a scrappy game, and another errant pass in the Betis defence almost gifts Marcus Rashford an easy finish, but Claudio Bravo races off his line to block.

17th min: Another big chance for Wout Weghorst! Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw combine down the left, the latter fires in a low cross and Weghorst thinks he’s about to score… but Luiz Felipe gets across and just does enough to divert the shot wide. The touch was so subtle the referee didn’t give the corner, but it certainly saved a goal.

9th min: Wout Weghorst has been lively early on here. He meets a trivela cross from Casemiro with a diving header, but Claudio Bravo catches comfortably.

6th min: MAN UNITED TAKE AN EARLY LEAD! It’s a thumping finish from Marcus Rashford! After a nervy moment in their own box, the Red Devils break and Bruno Fernandes crosses towards Wout Weghorst. The ball breaks to Rashford, who steadies himself before blasting a shot high into the net from 12 yards out.

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5th min: Man United have the ball in the net via a clever chested finish by Wout Weghorst, but Fred was offside as he crossed from the right. It was a quick flag from the assistant referee, but a correct call.

3rd min: Man United have started with Wout Weghorst as the No.9, ahead of Bruno Fernandes and Fred as the attacking midfielders, with Marcus Rashford wide on the left. It’s almost a 4-3-3 for the Red Devils.

KO: We’re underway as a blizzard swirls around Old Trafford.

30 mins from kickoff: Ten Hag spoke to MUTV before the game to explain his selection: “Don’t forget we lost one [game] in 23, now a second. It was a huge defeat, definitely, but now we need the chance to bounce back, get revenge, so we give them the opportunity. But also, we thought this was the best lineup to beat this team [Betis]. When I saw training yesterday, I had a feeling of the energy, they want to bounce back. We feel really uncomfortable after Sunday — we know that is not the standard of Manchester United — so, we want the revenge. It was a tough weekend [for the fans]. We have to deal with setbacks, and we played, until now, a really good season. We have to continue that progress.”

1 hr from kickoff: Erik ten Hag has chosen the same starting lineup from that humiliating day at Anfield. Is that a show of faith in his players, or part of a demand that they show how much better they can be?

1 hr 30 mins from kickoff: These sides are bidding for a place in the quarterfinals of the competition, where teams are allowed to face another from the same region — in other words, Man United could end up being drawn against Arsenal. The Gunners are approaching the end of the first half of their first-leg meeting with Sporting CP, and you can follow the latest updates right here.

2 hrs from kickoff: Manchester United will want to forget what happened at Anfield last Sunday as quickly as possible. Their best option is to deliver a convincing performance against Real Betis today and put one step in the quarterfinals of the Europa League.

Man United vs Real Betis lineups, team news

Ten Hag would be within his rights to make wholesale changes to the team following the rout at Anfield. However, with United still looking to fight on three fronts in the season run-in, he will need to strike a balance between squad rotation and unsettling his team any further.

Interestingly, the United manager chose to name exactly the same starting lineup from the Liverpool game, with Casemiro risked despite carrying a knock and the risk of a suspension should he be booked.

Man United (4-2-3-1, right to left): 1-De Gea (GK) — 20-Dalot, 19-Varane, 6-Martinez, 23-Shaw — 18-Casemiro, 17-Fred — 21-Antony, 27-Weghorst, 8-Fernandes — 10-Rashford

Man United subs: 22-Heaton (GK), 5-Maguire, 28-Pellistri, 49-Garnacho, 31-Butland (GK), 73-Mainoo, 2-Lindelof, 39-McTominay, 25-Sancho, 29-Wan-Bissaka, 12-Malacia, 36-Elanga

Pellegrini is without key attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir, with his season ended by a knee injury, but veteran midfielder Sergio Canales has been passed fit to travel and is on the bench. Veteran Joaquin starts at Old Trafford.

Real Betis (4-2-3-1, right to left): 1-Bravo (GK) — 23-Sabaly, 16-Pezzella, 19-Luiz Felipe, 20-Abner — 14-Carvalho, 5-Rodriguez —11-Luis Henrique, 17-Joaquin, 7-Juanmi — 21-Perez

Real Betis subs: 25-Martin (GK) 12-Willian Jose, 9-Iglesias, 37-Perez, 3-E. Gonzalez, 6-Ruiz, 13-Rui Silva (GK), 28-Rodri, 24-Ruibal, 18-Guardado, 10-Canales, 33-Miranda

MORE: Europa League Round of 16 draw in full: Fixtures, schedule

What time is Man United vs Real Betis kick off?

This Europa League clash kicks off at Old Trafford on Thursday, March 9 at 8:00 p.m. local time.

Here’s how that time translates across some of the major territories:

  Date Kickoff time
USA Thu, Mar. 9 15:00 ET
Canada Thu, Mar. 9 15:00 ET
UK Thu, Mar. 9 20:00 GMT
Australia Fri, Mar. 10 07:00 AEDT
India Fri, Mar. 10 01:30 IST
Hong Kong Fri, Mar. 10 04:00 HKT
Malaysia Fri, Mar. 10 04:00 MYT
Singapore Fri, Mar. 10 04:00 SGT
New Zealand Fri, Mar. 10 09:00 NZDT

Man United vs Real Betis live stream, TV channel

Here’s how to watch all of the action from this match in some of the major territories:

  TV channel Streaming
USA fuboTV, TUDN USA, Univision NOW, VIX+, Paramount+
Canada DAZN
UK BT Sport 1, BT Sport Ultimate BT Sport app/site
Australia Stan Sport
New Zealand Spark Sport
India Sony TEN 2 JioTV, Sony LIV
Hong Kong beIN Sports 3 beIN Sports Connect
Malaysia beIN Sports 3

beIN Sports Connect, sooka

Singapore beIN Sports 3 beIN Sports Connect, StarHub TV+

UK: This match will be broadcast live in the UK via BT Sports’ TV and streaming services.

USA: This match streams on Paramount+ and fuboTV for subscribers in both English and Spanish.

Canada: Every Champions League game this season is live streaming exclusively via DAZN in Canada.

Australia: Fans in Australia can stream every Champions League match live and on demand on Stan Sport

MORE: Watch every Premier League match live with fuboTV in Canada

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