The wounds from Sunday’s humiliating 7-0 loss to Liverpool are still fresh. But the 4-1 victory over Real Betis in the Europa League was an encouraging response from Eric ten Hag’s players.
No more so than Bruno Fernandes, who scored one goal and contributed two more in Thursday’s opening round of 16 match.
I think he was the best player on the field, he showed his personality, said United manager ten Hague.
The Dutchman gave his team a chance to start making amends at Anfield by fielding an unchanged lineup. It had the desired effect.
Marcus Rashford scored his 26th goal of the season.
Anthony shot into the top corner from distance. And Vaut Weghorst, who faced criticism on social media for touching the famous Eto Anfield sign, allowed himself to show emotion when he scored United’s fourth goal.
But perhaps no one needed redemption more than Fernandes, on whom the main stream of criticism came after the defeat against Liverpool. This time, his efforts were met with approval from United fans and Ten Hague alike.
Bruno was great. He led the team by controlling the game and giving assists, and then he scored, said Ten Hague.
The Portuguese ran up to Stratford End after giving United a 3-1 lead in the 58th minute and covered his ears with his hands as if to ward off the noise that followed Sunday’s defeat.
There was a moment when he let his enthusiasm overwhelm him, challenging Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo late on, but it was a night when he channeled his passion, putting United on track for the quarterfinals.
Former United captain and now TV analyst Gary Neville called Fernandes’ performance against Liverpool a disgrace.
Against Betis he was United’s driving force.
The Old Trafford crowd loudly chanted his name when he took the field to confirm that he was still being supported.
It was his cross that led to the first goal six minutes later when Luis Felipe crossed the ball into Rashford’s path. The England striker entered the penalty area and shot into the top corner.
The game levelled at halftime after Leicester’s on-loan striker Ayose Perez shot a low shot past David de Gea in the 32nd minute. Perez was prevented from scoring a second goal when Fernandes barely converted his shot into the post before halftime.
Anthony is at it again.United took the lead seven minutes before the end of the second half with a shot from outside the box following a Fernandes feed. United’s number eight turned from provider to scorer when he fed Luke Shaw’s corner kick to take complete control of his team’s play.
But perhaps the most jubilant moment of the evening was when Weghorst scored in the 82nd minute after missing numerous chances. Raw emotion was evident when he celebrated his second goal since moving on loan from Burnley in January and his first at Old Trafford.
Premier League leader Arsenal lost 2-2 to Sporting Lisbon in their first-round Europa League Round of 16 match.
Hidemasa Morita’s own goal in the 62nd minute saved a draw for Arsenal before the return match at the Emirates Stadium next Thursday for a place in the quarterfinals.
There is room for improvement, but we showed great resilience, said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
Morita deflected Granit Hack’s long-range shot into his own goal.
Arsenal dominated early in the match and took the lead thanks to a goal from William Saliba. The defender scored Arsenal’s first goal from a corner kick given by Fabio Vieira, taking advantage of early pressure in the 22nd minute.
Sporting equalized with an almost identical response as Arsenal’s defense looked vulnerable.
Gonzalo Inácio shot from a Marcus Edwards corner past goalkeeper Matt Turner 12 minutes after Saliba’s goal.
It was Sporting’s first goal against Arsenal in their fifth Eurocup meeting.
Angel Di Maria scored the winning goal in the second half to give Juventus a 1-0 victory over Freiburg in the first leg.
The 35-year-old veteran has scored four goals in his last two Europa League games.
Juventus was without midfielder Paul Pogba, who was sidelined for disciplinary reasons.
In the other match, João Jordaan and Eric Lamela scored goals against Fenerbahce in a 2-0 win over six-time champion Sevilla.
Esekiel Bullaud equalized late in the match to secure a 1-1 draw for Feyenoord against Shakhtar Donetsk, the last Ukrainian team left in the European competition this season. Yaroslav Rakitskiy scored for the hosts in Warsaw because of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.
Substitute Sven Michel saved for Union Berlin in a 3-3 draw with Union Saint-Gilloise.goal a minute beforeabout the end in the German capital.
At the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, José Mourinho’s Roma took a step toward reaching the final by beating Real Sociedad 2-0.
Tammy Abraham created the first goal for Stefan El Shaarawy, completing a quick counterattack in the first half, and substitute defender Maras Kumbulla doubled the lead with a close-range header.
Bayer Leverkusen had the same advantage over Ferencvaros after Kerem Demirbay opened the scoring in the 10th minute and Edmond Tapsoba added the second goal for the hosts.
EUROPE CONFERENCE LEAGUE
Michael Antonio scored twice in the first half to help West Ham beat AEK Larnaca 2-0 in Cyprus.
Despite a disappointing season in the Premier League, the Hammers are performing well in Europe’s third-ranked tournament.
Fiorentina beat Sivasspor of Turkey 1-0, Nice beat Sheriff in Moldova 1-0, and Poland’s Lech Poznan beat Swedish club Jurgarden 2-0. There were also draws: Basel and Slovan Bratislava 2-2, Gent and Istanbul Basaksehir 1-1.