84 min: Garnacho stays down in the classic watch handling style. To be fair, he might have been smacked in the mouth too. “Antony’s goal was really scored by Luke Shaw pushing to keep the ball in play,” reports Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo, who does your MBM hack’s work for him. Yep, a lovely backheel near the corner flag that allowed the Portuguese guy to do his thing and start the move. Xavi will curse the English guy!
83 min: Garnacho sensationally rips away from the three Barcelona players surrounding him on the left. His reward is to be retrieved cynically by Busquets, who goes into the book.
82 min: Rashford goes down and requires treatment. While he gets that attention, Barca trade Araujo for Alonso. Then the game restarts and Rashford comes back.
80 min: Now Rashford storms into the box on the bottom right before hitting his shot into the side netting. United pushing for the third goal that would surely decide this game.
79 min: Garnacho holds a ball in play on the far left. He had no right to do that. He rips down the left and plays the ball infield for Rashford, before winning it back. He rushes into the box and crosses for Rashford, who can’t convert with Busquets making himself a nuisance. So close to sealing a place in the last 16!
77 min: Barcelona stringing together some passes for the first time in a while, Garnacho sticks his studs on Kounde’s ankle. A yellow card and another challenge that another referee might have judged more harshly.
75 min: Barca respond by sending Fati on for Raphinha. Even amid the hubbub, you could hear boos being sent in the direction of the departing former Leeds winger.
GOAL! Manchester United 2-1 Barcelona (Antony 73); grudges 4-3
Fernandes dribbles in from the left. He cuts the ball back for Garnacho, who hits a shot straight at Christensen, who blocks. Fred has a chance. De Jong blocks. The ball breaks straight to Antony, who curls an unstoppable shot over Ter Stegen and down the left. Old Trafford takes off!
72 min: Lewandowski dunks Casemiro just above the ankle. It’s a yellow card. That looked ugly. He probably only escaped red because his boot slipped off the top of the ball just before making contact with the United midfielder. Thankfully, Casemiro is OK to continue.
70 min: Barca replace Roberto with Ferran Torres, formerly of their cross-town neighbours. Pantomime boo rings out.
69 min: Lewandowski pearls in a brilliant pass across the field to Balde and hugs the left touchline. Balde almost gets to take over from Dalot, but the replacement full-back holds up admirably, considering he’s only here.
67 min: Dalot replaces Wan-Bissaka at right-back, ostensibly as too similar, but an attack-minded change. Meanwhile, Garnacho, a newly peroxidized blonde bombshell, replaces Sancho.
65 min: … the ball falls to Kessie, 25 yards out. He thumps low and hard, straight at De Gea, who claims. This is breathless fun, just like the first stage. Thanks everyone!
64 min: A cross in from the Barca left. Konde goes for the header, but instead shoulders the ball to the top right. It’s going in, but De Gea stretches himself fully to tip it over the bar. And from the resulting corner…
63 min: Antony leaps into space on the far right but is unable to deliver a cross, the result of switching the ball from his right to his favored left foot. “I don’t watch the game but Fernandes definitely meant it,” says Stephen Carr.
62 min: Raphinha has the opportunity to send Kessie clear into the United box down the inside-right channel, but hits the pass. Goal kick, but that philosophical back and forth seems to have finally picked up steam Barcelona into the second half of the year.
60 minutes: The referee doesn’t believe, and just gives Fernandes a yellow card, presumably for his part in the resulting melee … because if it was for the ball clawing into De Jong’s horrified coupon, it would surely have been red. Busquets also receives a yellow for his contribution to the brouhaha.
59 min: Whoa hey! It all kicks off. Barcelona swarm Fernandes after Wan-Bissaka pins De Jong and Fernandes smashes the ball into the stricken Barca player’s face. Consciously or not? The debate is on!
58 min: Rashford flies down the left and reaches the byline, only to look for someone in the middle who isn’t there.
57 min: The tempo of the game drops short, which will allow Barcelona the chance to clear your head. They have been swimming since the restart. “Madrid is a better team,” Jeff Sax replies and doesn’t let it lie.
55 min: The free-kick half cleared to Antony, who looks for the curler at the top left. There’s not enough power behind it, and it’s an easy catch for Ter Stegen. “The Brazilian guy is not for Xavi!” jokes Liz White. “I’ll see myself.”
54 min: Casemiro creams a pass outside the boot down the left and almost releases Sancho. Then Lewandowski unnecessarily knocks Martinez to the floor on the same wing. Barcelona look rattled. Shaw to swing the free kick into the mixer.
52 min: United are suddenly well on top. Rashford causes trouble down the right before breaking into the box and cutting a shot wide directly from a promising position. Meanwhile, Dodger wants to take issue with half-time correspondent Jeff Sax: “It’s not really incredible that Real beat Liverpool and Barca are ahead. Barca controlled United who look a lot more organized and resilient than Liverpool’s hot mess.”
51 min: Old Trafford is really bouncing now. And to think that United would most likely have gone 0-2 down if it wasn’t for Casemiro’s absurd double block just before the half-time signal!
49 min: Barcelona caught a cold there. And they almost caught a cold a second time, when Varane creamed a long pass down the right. Antony gets beaten by Christensen and tears into the box! But when he considers the option of Rashford in the middle, Christensen snaps back to trouble him. Antony’s shot-cum-cross bobs across the face of the goal and out for a goal kick. What a chance to complete a quick turnaround!
GOAL! Manchester United 1-1 Barcelona (Peace 47); grudge 3-3
… and the game is level! Sancho, moved out to the left, rolls the ball into the pitch for Fernandes, who flicks it across the box to Fred, just at the right edge of the D. Fred swings at it. The ball hits the shin, but blushes, and flies down to the right, Ter Stegen can’t get over. What a start to the second half for the hosts!
46 min: United kick at the Stretford End now. A reminder that away goals are no longer operational in UEFA competition. Should the match end in a tie, we will go to extra time and possibly penalties.
Barcelona start the second half. United, who were sent off early by Ten Hag and may well have received some positive advice with feeling, have replaced Weghorst with Antony.
Mailbag at half time. “I will be very surprised if we see Wout Weghorst on the pitch at the start of the second half. The formation is good, the idea is good, but the player’s ability is not up to the standard required to upset Barcelona” – Matthew Lysaght
“Unbelievable to think that Barcelona are ahead of Madrid in La Liga after what Madrid did to Liverpool” – Jeff Sax
“This is the first time I’ve seen a referee wear red socks to avoid a color clash. When was this directive announced?” – Simon Frank
HALF TIME: Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona (agg 2-3)
An early chance for Bruno Fernandes aside, Barcelona has been the much better team. Erik ten Hag has little to think about.
45 min: United are lucky not to be two goals down. De Gea flicks an upward pass straight to Roberto, who is one-on-one with the keeper for a second. He shoots, only for his effort to be blocked by the sliding Casemiro. The ball breaks to Kessie … and Casemiro blocks it too! My word. Casemiro has kept United in this game through determination alone, right at half time!
44 min: Nothing comes from the corner, so Casemiro played the percentage well.
43 min: De Jong screws in the free kick against the far post. Casemiro gets up and heads behind for a corner. There were no Barca players in his vicinity, he could possibly have left that. But with his back to the action, he took no chances.
42 min: A 90-second period in which United cannot get out of their box. Barca pass and probe. United hold their shape well enough not to give up a shooting opportunity, but then Weghorst fails to control when there is a chance to clear, then balls over Kessie who taps in. Free kick just to the left of D.
40 min: Raphinha one-twos in from the right with Roberto, before sending a rising shot deep into the Stretford End.
39 min: Lewandowski latches onto a loose ball in the center circle. If he sees Raphinha on the right, he will surely send him clear on goal. But he doesn’t. United get away with a big one.
37 min: Rashford dribbles down the left touchline and cuts into the pitch, preparing to shoot. He is unceremoniously – but fairly – cracked and ousted by Araujo.