Barcelona bowed out of the Europa League on Thursday evening after a disappointing second half collapse against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Robert Lewandowski had given the Blaugrana a deserved lead at half time, but second half strikes from Fred and Antony secured passage into the last 16 of the competition for the Premier League giants.
The former struck less than 90 seconds into the second period, and Barcelona were visibly rattled after, and never seemed to recover. Speaking after the match, Xavi Hernandez admitted that the Brazilian’s goal affected his side.
“That first goal hurts us. The duels cost us in the second half. They had more intensity. We had it under control in the first half. The tie was very even, and we had very good moments during the match. (Manchester United) are in great form, but it is a very big disappointment for us. It’s a pity.”
Man Utd had two former Real Madrid stars playing in Raphael Varane and Casemiro, and Xavi stated that he congratulated both players after the final whistle at Old Trafford.
“I spoke to Casemiro and Varane. I have respect for United and congratulations to them.”
Barcelona must now turn their full attention to domestic matters, as they look to win La Liga and the Copa del Rey in the remainder of the season.
I believe Real Madrid should hold a silent minute before the kick off against Atleti, to honor fallen brokELona economy. It would be a sportsmanshiplike thing to do.
That baby is gone five feet under.