Rashford Strike Sees Manchester United Past Betis to Europa League Quarter-Final

Rashford Strike Sees Manchester United Past Betis to Europa League Quarter-Final
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League round of sixteen, second leg match at the Benito Villamarin Stadium, Seville. Picture date: Thursday March 16, 2023. - Photo by Icon sport

Manchester United moved to the Europa League quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Real Betis in the second leg of their last-16 contest in Seville.

The Red Devils won the first leg of their match at Old Trafford 4-1 last week, putting them in a dominant position to reach the competition’s final eight.

As Erik ten Hag’s team breezed into the quarter-finals, Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of the second leg in the 56th minute, finding the back of the net with a beautiful effort from distance.

Changed Sides for Second-Leg

Real Betis brought in Edgar Gonzalez, Rui Silva, and Aitor Ruibal from the first leg, while Red Devils boss Ten Hag made four changes from the weekend draw with Southampton, bringing in Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Fred, and Facundo Pellistri.

Casemiro, who will begin a four-game domestic ban against Fulham in the FA Cup this weekend, met a corner from Bruno Fernandes, but Wout Weghorst was unable to convert.

Real Betis should have scored in the eighth minute when Juanmi’s quickness got him past Maguire, but the attacker’s strike went wide of the far post.

In the 11th minute, Joaquin curled one onto the woodwork from distance as Man United came under siege from the home side, who were urged on by a vociferous crowd.

As the first quarter progressed, Real Betis were comfortably on top, with the visitors limited to breakaways through the likes of Rashford and Pellistri.

In the 20th minute, Fernandes hit the crossbar with a thunderous strike, before Rashford headed straight at Silva from a dangerous area, only for the offside flag to be raised.

Juanmi raced through on goal again for Real Betis in the 31st minute, but David de Gea came out to make a smart stop before the striker headed the rebound over.

Just before the break, the home side had another chance through Juanmi, but Maguire saved it brilliantly, as the 20-time English champions held firm in Seville.

Man United then hit the crossbar in the latter minutes of the first half, with Pellistri’s shot bouncing off the post and Weghorst unable to make touch on the rebound, leaving the score at 0-0 at the break.

Real Betis’ Joaquin had the first chance of the second half, lifting one over the crossbar inside the first minute, with Man United caught off guard from the start in Seville.

Rashford Determination Comes Good for United

ImgMiniIn the 50th minute, Rashford blasted an attempt that was just too high, before Fred missed the target from further out two minutes later, leaving the Red Devils with a 4-1 aggregate lead.

Rashford was found inside the penalty box by Fernandes in the 53rd minute, but the England international was unable to find a way past Silva, before De Gea produced a reflex save to prevent an Ayoze Perez header from finding the back of the net down the other end.

Moments later, Manchester United had another fantastic chance through Rashford, but the attacker slammed his shot from close range over the crossbar.

Rashford did, though, score in the 56th minute, superbly finding the bottom corner from distance after Real Betis had backed off.

Maguire could have made it 2-0 just after the hour when he met Fernandes’ corner, but the Red Devils skipper somehow headed wide of the post.

In the 64th minute, Jadon Sancho, who came off the bench to replace Rashford, shot wide of the far post before Silva saved excellently from fellow Red Devils substitute Marcel Sabitzer.

In the 70th minute, Silva denied Weghorst, with all of the pressure coming from the 20-time English winners, who were much too strong over the two games.

Ten Hag protected several of his players in the draw in Seville, bringing on Anthony Elanga, Diogo Dalot, and Victor Lindelof off the bench in the closing stages.

As Sancho fired straight at Silva from a dangerous position in the 80th minute, the linesman’s flag was raised, and Juan Miranda’s cross was just too powerful for Juanmi down the other end.

Real Betis should have scored at least once on the night, with Juanmi having several chances, but the La Liga club were ultimately unable to beat De Gea.

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