Manchester United must produce another unlikely Champions League comeback to keep their hopes alive after Barcelona left Old Trafford with a slender advantage following the quarter-final first leg.
Luke Shaw‘s early own goal was all that separated the sides on the scoresheet, but Barca comfortably edged towards a first Champions League semifinal in four years as United failed to register a single shot on target.
This was the first time United have failed to have a shot on target in a Champions League game since March 2005, when they lost away to AC Milan.
Lionel Messi who was quiet by his standards, drifted in behind the United defence and his cross to the back post was headed goalwards by Luis Suarez, then took a deflection off Shaw in the 12th minute on its way past David de Gea.
An offside flag was briefly raised, however, the goal was quickly given on a VAR review.
New Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can take heart from his team’s great endeavour but opportunities were at a premium, the best being a first-half header from Diogo Dalot that he directed off target.
United had excellent performers, with youngster Scott McTominay delivering a performance of real maturity, but the bottom line was that they barely laid a glove on Barcelona all night.
Barcelona still posed a threat, with de Gea saving from Philippe Coutinho and Messi – and United must now repeat their last-16 heroics against Paris St-Germain in France when they travel to the Nou Camp chasing a semi-final spot against Liverpool or Porto.