Barcelona 3-0 Manchester United: 5 Men who won the game for Barcelona
Barcelona welcomed Manchester United to the Camp Nou for the second leg of the Champions League Quarterfinal tie, with one foot firmly in the Semifinals. The Catalans had won the away leg 1-0, thanks to a Luke Shaw own goal and had a pretty comfortable night at Old Trafford. And at the Camp Nou, besides the away goal, they had another interesting advantage.
Manchester United had never defeated Barcelona at the Camp Nou before, so Valverde was aware that he had history on his side. However, the Spaniard was also wary of the threat that United possessed, especially since Barcelona's defending this season had been far from impressive. And United's brilliant comeback against PSG in the Quarterfinals was also in his mind. As such, the Spaniard named his best possible starting eleven for the game.
He went with Ter Stegen at goal, with Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, and Alba as the preferred back four. The midfield had a familiar look about it, with Rakitic and Arthur partnering Busquets. Up front, the lethal trio of Coutinho, Suarez, and Messi were ready to do the damage.
Even though United started the game well, Barcelona managed to come into their own soon. They even had a penalty claim, which was overturned by VAR. The Catalans finally took the lead through Messi in the 16th minute. The Argentinean then scored his second of the night 4 minutes later. Coutinho made it 3-0 in the 61st minute and Barcelona comfortably won the game.
The Catalans have progressed into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League again and for that, they have these 5 men to thank.
#5 Gerard Pique
Pique did not have too much to do on the night, as United failed to pile up the pressure on the home defense. Barcelona enjoyed extended periods of possession, but United did threaten to hit them on the counter on a couple of occasions. Thankfully for the Catalans, Pique stayed composed and alert throughout the game.
The Spaniard was especially vital during the opening stages of the game when United had intent and desire. The away side did carve out at least one clear cut chance when Rashford was fed in by Pogba.
However, Pique closed the Englishman in a flash and put him under pressure, causing him to shoot wide. In the few other occasions that United did try to catch Barcelona on the counter, Pique denied any room to Rashford to affect the game. The Spaniard enabled Barcelona to stay compact at the back and helped them dictate the game and then win it with ease.