Barça was awarded a penalty kick in the 18th minute when Bruno Fernandesz was found to have fouled defender Alejandro Balde and Robert Lewandowski just missed a free kick.
United came out completely different for the second half and equalized thanks to Fred’s efforts: the Brazilian headed the ball into Fernandes’ goal two minutes after the break.
A superb save by goalkeeper David de Gea prevented Barça’s Jules Kaunde’s shot, and that shot proved decisive when Anthony fired an arrow into the bottom corner with 17 minutes left in the match, giving United the lead.
United continues to compete in four competitions this season, trying to win their first major trophy since 2017.
The faith of the team is always present, Fernandes told BT Sport. The faith of the fans, they push us in difficult moments.
We have made great progress and the club has made it too. We have achieved a lot in the past like this result.
Both sides have improved a lot this season under their new coaches, and some moments of the first match are a testament to that, as well as setting the stage for the return leg under the spotlight at Old Trafford.
United started well and captain Fernandes failed to score after a superb save by Marc-André ter Stegen after Casemiro was picked out.
Then came a moment that left Old Trafford perplexed: referee Clement Turpin pointed to the spot, and Fernandes could not believe the decision. De Gea reached with his hand for Lewandowski’s penalty, but couldn’t get it out.
The Polish striker has scored 25 goals in 30 appearances in all competitions for La Liga leaders this season, marking the 12th consecutive campaign in which he has scored 25 or more goals at club level.
United didn’t create any noteworthy chances in the remainder of the first half, but whatever coach Eric ten Hague said at halftime had an immediate effect as Fernandes found Fred to equalize.
De Gea’s save off Kaunde’s header was world-class, and Anthony’s finish was also off the mark.
Substitutions have benefited United immensely this season, with 19 goals scored by substitutes in all competitions, more than any team in the big five European leagues in 2022-23.
The hosts survived a nervous late
After a tumultuous The team ended a five-match winless streak against the Spanish team in the first leg of the 2007-08 UEFA Champions League semifinals with a 1-0 win in the penalty shootout.
United were very active in the second half, said Barça coach Javi Hernandez. They are in very good form right now and play very well at home. It was these small details that made all the difference.
If Pedri or Gavi had been there today, maybe things would have been different in the second half.