Manchester United beat Real Betis 4-1 in rousing response to Liverpool rout
2023-03-11 09:47:41 BdST
2023-09-25 16:43:29 BdST
Live Correspondent: The wounds from Sunday’s humiliating 7-0 rout by Liverpool remain fresh for Manchester United. But a 4-1 win against Real Betis in the Europa League was an encouraging response from Erik ten Hag’s players.
None more so than Bruno Fernandes, who scored one and had a role in two more in the round-of-16 first leg on Thursday. “I think he was the best player on the pitch, it showed his personality,” United manager Ten Hag said.
The Dutchman had given his team the chance to begin making amends for Anfield by naming an unchanged lineup. It had the desired effect. Marcus Rashford scored his 26th goal of the season.
Antony swept a shot into the top corner from distance. And Wout Weghorst, who had faced a backlash on social media for touching the famous “This is Anfield” sign, let his emotion show when firing in United’s fourth.
But perhaps no one needed redemption more than Fernandes, who received the brunt of the criticism after the collapse against Liverpool. On this occasion, his efforts were greeted with approval by United fans as well as Ten Hag.
“Bruno was fantastic. He led the team with his control of the game and passing and then he scored a goal,” Ten Hag said. The Portugal international raced toward the Stretford End after heading United into a 3-1 lead in the 58th minute and placed his hands over his ears as if to shut out the noise that has followed Sunday’s loss.
There was a moment when he let his enthusiasm overflow with a late challenge on Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, but this was the night when he channelled his passion in the right way by putting United within reach of the quarterfinals.
Former United captain and now TV analyst Gary Neville had labelled Fernandes’ performance against Liverpool a “disgrace.”
Against Betis, he was United’s driving force. The Old Trafford crowd sang his name loud as he walked out onto the field to confirm he still had their support.
It was his cross that led to the opening goal after six minutes when Luiz Felipe diverted the ball into Rashford’s path. The England striker drove into the box and lashed a shot into the top corner.
The match was level at halftime after on-loan Leicester forward Ayoze Perez fired a low shot past David de Gea in the 32nd. Perez was only denied a second when Fernandes’ challenge diverted his shot against the post before the break.
Antony put United back in front seven minutes into the second half with a curling effort from outside of the box after being played in by Fernandes. United’s No. 8 went from provider to goal-scorer when he headed in Luke Shaw’s corner to put his team in complete control.
But perhaps the biggest cheer of the night came when Weghorst lashed the ball home in the 82nd after missing a host of earlier chances. The raw emotion was evident as he celebrated only his second goal since joining on loan from Burnley in January and his first at Old Trafford.
Dhaka, 10 March (campuslive24.com)//BSC