Watch video highlight: Manchester United 2, Barcelona 1

Manchester United midfielder Fred celebrates

OLD TRAFFORD —— Manchester United mounted an impressive second-half comeback to defeat Barcelona and advance to the Europa League last 16. Despite trailing 1-0 at halftime after conceding a penalty in the 18th minute, United staged a remarkable turnaround to win the match.

The home team looked down and out at halftime after conceding a penalty in the 18th minute. Poland forward Robert Lewandowski converted the penalty after Bruno Fernandes fouled Alejandro Balde. – Read more: No. 3 Kansas eyeing sweep of West Virginia

However, the introduction of Brazilian substitutes Fred and Antony proved to start of the second half turned out to be the catalyst for United’s resurgence. Both players scored low first-time shots to secure a thrilling victory in front of an ecstatic crowd at Old Trafford.

Barcelona, who were in control of the match at halftime, failed to cope with United’s newfound attacking prowess. The substitution of struggling forward Wout Weghorst for Antony proved to be a masterstroke by manager Erik ten Hag, as the Brazilian almost immediately injected pace and energy into United’s play.

The defeat was a bitter blow for Barcelona, who have been eliminated from European competition without reaching the last 16 for the first time since the 1998-1999 season. President Joan Laporta had invested heavily in the club’s success, but his plans have fallen short.

Manchester United can look forward to the next round of the Europa League with renewed confidence with the draw for the last 16 taking place on Friday.

With this game successfully in the bag, the Red Devils will now turn their attention to Sunday’s League Cup final against Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag hopes to build on their impressive performance and continue their pursuit of silverware this season. Ten Hag’s in-game management is continuing to show just how much of a quality manager he is.

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