UEFA Champions League 2018/19: Manchester United 0-1 FC Barcelona - 5 Hits and Flops
- Rating and slating the individual performers from Barcelona vs Manchester United in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.
The visitors were far from convincing on the night, but eventually managed to dig deep and grind out an invaluable result in what worked out as a rather underwhelming encounter under the lights at the Theater of Dreams.
Ernesto Valverde's men dominated the lion's share of possession like we have come to expect of them, and the Red Devils were tasked with the role of nullifying their counterparts in a bid to try and catch them on the break.
However, both teams struggled to find the X-factor inside the final third, as they were severely devoid of quality that would give them a hugely significant advantage over the other in the tie.
An own goal from Luke Shaw, that came as early as the 12th minute, proved to be the difference between the sides in the end, as Barcelona hold a slight advantage over their opponents ahead of the return leg at the Nou Camp next week.
Without further delay, let's take a closer look at some of the best and worst performers from the cagey affair between the sides at Old Trafford:
#5 Hit - Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi was nowhere near his imperious best during the defeat of Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were well aware of the magnitude of their task on the night, and offered very little comfort to Messi over the course of the entirety of the game.
Despite all that, Messi still managed to leave his mark on the game by playing an integral role during the build-up to the only goal of the game that came in the 12th minute in Manchester.
The Blaugrana skipper made a driving run into the penalty area to latch on to a superb lob pass from Sergio Busquets, before finding Luis Suarez at the far corner with an accurate cross across the goal.
The Uruguayan made no mistake in guiding the ball into the back of the net with a calm header,which took a slight touch from Luke Shaw before creeping past David de Gea.
Messi had to endure a bloodied nose after a stern challenge from behind by Chris Smalling, but he continued to carry on with the hopes of opening up a bigger advantage over the hosts.
Although he failed to make any breakthrough contributions since then, he was floating around inside the final third and even sprayed a few good passes to his team-mates, who were unable to make full use of them, in a collectively lacklustre display in attack for Barcelona.