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Europa League: Antony scores on injury return as Manchester United eliminate Barcelona

Manchester United produced a memorable second-half comeback to reach the Europa League last 16 and knock out Barcelona in the process.

Manchester United produced a memorable second-half comeback to reach the Europa League last 16 and knock out Barcelona in the process.

Brazilian duo Fred and Antony, who came on as a half-time substitute, both drilled home low first-time shots in front of an ecstatic Stretford End.

It was a victory that looked so unlikely at half-time as Barcelona led thanks to Robert Lewandowski’s 18th-minute penalty after Bruno Fernandes’ needless foul on Alejandro Balde.

But Antony’s arrival for struggling forward Wout Weghost changed the course of the tie as it injected more pace into United’s attacks, which the La Liga leaders failed to deal with.

Erik ten Hag’s side now move on to Wembley, where they will look to collect their first silverware since 2017 when they face Newcastle in the EFL Cup final.

For Barcelona, it was the first time they have been eliminated from European competition without reaching the last 16 since 1998-1999, which is not quite what president Joan Laporta had in mind when he pulled all those economic levers last year.

It was also Barcelona’s first defeat since October and ended an 18-match unbeaten run.

After the match, Ten Hag said: “It was a magnificent night. I think this is another step because when you can beat Barcelona – one of the best teams in this moment in Europe – your belief can be really strong because then I think you are able to beat anyone.

“I think we have great personalities… winning types.

“Everyone has a such a strong belief in this team and fight in this team and you can see it with the subs, they are bringing energy and quality and a different dynamic in games. All the subs, not only in this game, did brilliant.”                                                                                            SourceBBC SPORTS

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