Things we noticed away to Real Betis
Manchester United are into the quarter-finals of the Europa League, following our 1-0 away win against Real Betis on Thursday evening.
Marcus Rashford's long-range strike in the second half was enough to seal an away win for the Reds, ensuring Erik ten Hag's side progress to the next stage of the competition with a 5-1 aggregate triumph over Los Verdiblancos.
Facundo Pellistri was handed his first United senior start, Harry Maguire returned to the starting XI to captain the side, and the raucous atmosphere all stood out in what was a intriguing encounter.
On a night where United advanced in Europe, find out which elements of our last-16 second leg caught the eye...
Real Betis 0 Manchester United 1Article
The Reds are into the quarter-finals of the Europa League, thanks to a 5-1 aggregate victory.
A STUNNING SETTING
The Estadio Benito Villamarin is beautiful, it really is. Walking up the steps to the press box, you could see the wonderful Seville landscape creeping through the railings, with the sun beating down as we approached the evening. Turn back towards the pitch and you were greeted by the vivid green of the stadium seats, which were filled by 60,000 buoyant Real Betis supporters.
The sun began to set during the match, and it was quite the spectacle. Darkness surrounded the stadium, with all the floodlights on United and Betis going head-to-head.
PELLISTRI GETS THE NOD
Of the four changes Erik made to his starting XI for the match against Betis, one stood out in particular: Pellistri. The 21-year-old made his first-team debut back in January when he came off the bench in our Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Charlton Athletic and started a competitive senior match for the very first time in a United shirt in Seville.
The young winger began on the right of midfield and looked as electric as he had in his recent cameos leading up to the match against Manuel Pellegrini's side, bursting in behind with pace and purpose.
From the very first whistle, the Real Betis supporters were cheering their side's actions and jeering United's in equal measure. The whistling from the crowd would only be drowned out by further chants, as they aimed to give Pellegrini's team the edge. However, it was the Reds' following who were loud and joyous as the clock ticked on.
Along with a first start for Pellistri, our captain, Maguire, returned to the United line-up.
We survived one scare in the first half, when Juanmi dragged a shot wide after an incisive counter-attack, but other than that the centre-back, and the rest of the defence, looked assured as we stemmed the hosts’ attacking impetus and took the sting out of the game, giving us a platform from which to triumph.
A FEISTY AFFAIR
Despite United having a comfortable advantage going into the match, the fixture was not short of heart from either side.
Full-blooded challenges, plenty of battling, and even the odd altercation were all present during the clash in Seville, making it a superb watch for spectators. However, there was only one booking, and that was a really harsh one for Pellistri.
IT’S MARCUS, AGAIN!
With 55 minutes on the clock at the Benito Villamarin Stadium, Rashford fired a superb long-range strike into the bottom corner, silencing the home crowd and putting United 1-0 up on the night and four up on aggregate.
The goal takes his tally in the Europa League to six goals, making him the undisputed top scorer in the competition. It was also his 30th of the campaign so far, if you add his three strikes for England at the World Cup to the 27 he has bagged for the Reds.
Quiz: Real Betis v United#quiz
How closely were you paying attention during our round-of-16 second leg in Seville?
ROTATING THE SQUAD
Over the course of the evening, we saw plenty of members of the United squad. Both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot got run-outs in the right-back spot, while youngsters Pellistri and Anthony Elanga were also among those who were given game-time in Seville. Marcel Sabitzer made his comeback after a two-game lay-off, as a substitute.
Erik took his opportunity to rotate, likely with a view to the further matches that await the Reds in what is a relentless fixture schedule, but Casemiro stayed on and avoided a yellow card that would have triggered another suspension.