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Rashford does it again as Man United advance to Europa League quarterfinals

SEVILLE, Spain — Manchester United advanced to the Europa League quarter-finals after a 1-0 win over Real Betis on Thursday night sealed a 5-1 aggregate win. Erik ten Hag’s side built on their 4-1 victory in the first leg last week at Old Trafford thanks to a surprising shot from Mark Rashford to reserve your place in Friday’s draw for the round of 16.

United overcame early pressure from Real Betis before another second-half Rashford goal put an equalizer beyond doubt. Ten Hag will also have Bruno Fernandes and casemiro available for the next round after the pair avoided receiving a booking that would have ruled them out of the quarter-final first leg next month.

quick reaction

1. Rashford does it again with Manchester United

The match had become a relatively even contest before Rashford collected the ball in the 56th minute, 25 yards from Rui Silva’s goal.

He had missed a golden opportunity to score moments earlier when his shot went over the crossbar and into the second tier, but his confidence remained high enough for the United striker to try his luck. His shot, almost a nonchalant knuckleball, slipped away from Silva’s outstretched hand and inside the far post, and just like that, the tie was over.

– Broadcast on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (USA)
– Europa League knockout round draw: Full details

It was Rashford’s 27th goal of the season, already his most productive campaign, and he’s in the kind of form that makes anything possible for United. It’s not often that a striker enjoys a purple stain so good that he can conjure something out of thin air, but that’s exactly what Rashford did against Real Betis. It’s a good skill to have as the business end of the season begins and close games are decided by tiny margins. It said it all about Rashford’s importance to this team that the ball had barely settled into the net before Ten Hag called him out – there’s another big game to come on Sunday against Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-final .

2. Real Betis misses an opportunity to make United nervous

They knew they were up against it after losing 4-1 in Manchester, but during the frantic first 10 minutes here, Betis had opportunities to put pressure on United. Former Southampton striker Juanmi overcome harry maguire but he rolled his shot wide of the far post when it should have hit the target. then 41 years Joaquin hit the post.

By this time, Estadio Benito Villamarín was bouncing and United was swaying, but Ten Hag’s side regained some control midway through the first half and went into half-time 0-0. If Real Betis had scored early on, the hostile atmosphere inside the stadium would have erupted and United could have been in trouble, but instead, it was a professional job away from home in Europe and they’re in the hat for the quarterfinal draw. finally on Friday. .

Manuel Pellegrini’s side lament a poor second half at Old Trafford when they conceded three goals, but they still have a chance of carving their way into next season’s Champions League when their La Liga campaign resumes against Mallorca at the weekend.

3. Pellistri makes his full debut

facundo pelistri he had to wait 893 days between signing for United and making his first start. In between, the winger played in an EFL Trophy match for the under-21s at Barrow in front of a few thousand fans and started for Uruguay at the World Cup in Qatar, but he can finally say he started a competitive game for United. He has deserved his chance after a series of impressive cameos from the bench, and with Alejandro Garnarcho ruled out until May with an ankle ligament injury, the 21-year-old could get more chances.

He was involved after just 20 seconds here when he was released on the right to cross Wout Weghorst — making his 17th straight start since arriving in January — and provided a good start for most of the night. Standing on the right foot and playing on the right, he is a different option to anthony — stayed home due to illness — because the Brazilian always wants to cut inside with his stronger left foot, and he did enough against Real Betis to suggest he deserves more minutes in the game, particularly with the disabled list of Ten Hag growing. .

Best and worst performers

BEST: Marcus Rashford, Manchester United. He missed a kangaroo and then a minute later he crashed one from 25 yards out to continue his impressive form.

BEST: Joaquin, Real Betis. Even at 41, he was at the center of Real Betis’ quick start, which almost led to an early goal.

BEST: Facundo Pellistri, Manchester United. He didn’t look out of place in his full debut and helped stretch out the game.

WORST: Ayoze PerezReal Betis. He scored at Old Trafford but was kept quiet by the United defense here.

WORST: Wout Weghorst, Manchester United. The big Dutchman works hard but rarely looks like a goal threat.

THE WORST: Juanmi, Real Betis. He looked good in the first half, but he really needed to capitalize on one of his first half chances to give Real Betis hope of a famous comeback.

Highlights and Highlights

That’s something special about Rashford. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that goal was scored from 28 yards, the longest goal Rashford has recorded for United since Oct. 30, 2019.

After the game: what the players/coaches had to say

Maguire: “There have been two good games over two games, Betis is a good team. They are fifth in LaLiga, they are doing well this season, so we knew it would not be an easy draw”.

Ten Witches: “I think in the second half we were much better on the ball. When you keep the ball in the opposite half, you make them run, you see that you create chances.”

Key statistics (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)

– Joaquín’s 395th career start with Betis ties Gordillo for third in club history across all competitions.

– Rashford’s goal was his fourth from outside the penalty area this season. He had four of those goals between the 2019-20 and 2021-22 seasons.

– Rashford now has 27 goals in all competitions. Only Erling Haaland (39) and kylian mbappe (31) have more among the players of the five major leagues in Europe.

Until next time

Real Betis: Betis will stay in the comforts of Benito Villarmin on Sunday when they face Mallorca in LaLiga (9 a.m. Eastern time, broadcast live on ESPN+).

manchester united: The Red Devils return to Old Trafford for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham (12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, broadcast live on ESPN+).