Furious Erik ten Hag Reacts To The Refereeing In Man United's Draw Against Barcelona In The Europa League.

Barcelona failed to defeat Manchester United at the Camp Nou in the first-leg of the Europa League round play-off game on Thursday night.

Barcelona and Man United have met twice in Champions League finals and the two teams served up a thrilling encounter that was worthy of gracing Europe’s greatest club competition the (Champions League).

After a first half at the Camp Nou that saw chances for both sides but no goals, former Chelsea player Marcos Alonso opened the scoring for the La Liga leaders with a headed effort in the 50th minute.

The Red Devils fought back from 1-0 down to lead 2-1, as Marcus Rashford levelled the score just two minutes later for the, continuing his red-hot form by beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a powerful shot at the near post.

Rashford's goal takes his tally up to 22 for the season in all competitions, matching his best return in a single campaign.

United then took the lead less than 10 minutes later after initially falling behind thanks to an own goal by Jules Kounde through a chance created by Rashford.

But Xavi's men looked to be heading towards defeat in front of their own crowd, but fought back to equalise in the 76th minute as Raphinha's cross from the right evaded Robert Lewandowski and crept into the net untouched.

Man United manager, Erik ten Hag did not hold back in his assessment of referee, Maurizio Mariani’s display in the tightly contested encounter.

It happened that Kounde brought down  Rashford on the edge of the Barcelona area as the last man in the second-half, but referee Maurizio Mariani and the VAR decided the challenge was not a foul; Erik ten Hag was booked for his protests and said the official "can't make this mistake" after the game.

According to the Dutchman, the Italian official ought to have sent off Jules Kounde and see Barca reduced to ten men;

"I asked the referee 'why' and he said 'it was outside the box and it was no foul'. I think the linesman and the referee were in very good positions to see, and we have the VAR... Ten Hag told reporters 

"It's not good. It was a really bad decision and I can't understand. Maybe there were impressed by the pressure Barca made, but it can't be on the highest European level."

“The refereeing had a big influence in this game. It was a clear foul on Rashy.

“You can discuss if it’s in or out of the box. [If it’s out then] it’s a red card because he was one on one with the ‘keeper.

“The referee can’t make this mistake. We should have won this game.” 

Ten Hag further stated that he was more impressed with his teams display than the referee's, but felt his side should have taken a win back to Manchester.

"If you face No 1 of Spain in an away game and you are that dominant, you can see it as a positive," said the former Ajax boss.

"We created many chances - more than you can expect, actually - and there’s a little bit of disappointment that we didn’t score them. We should have scored minimum four goals tonight."

With the away goals rule abolished, this matchup remains wide open ahead of next Thursday's second leg at Old Trafford.

Before the return fixture in seven days time on February 23, United will take on Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday.

However, Barcelona may have to navigate the return game without both of their two young midfield stars after Gavi picked up a yellow card and a suspension and Pedri was forced off with an injury late in the first half.

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