Manchester United have yet another monumental job in his hands at the Champions League following Luke Shaw’s own goal gave Barcelona a 1-0 quarter-final, first-leg lead to Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Shaw switched Luis Suarez’s header into his own net after only 12 minutes and not as away from their best, Barca comfortably held out to border towards a primary Champions League semi-final in four decades.
United produced among those European Cup’s greatest ever comebacks in the 2-0 first-leg defeat at home to Paris Saint-Germain at the last 16.
But on the floor where boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completed another famed fightback to win the contest for a player in 1999, United has to repeat the suggestion in the Camp Nou in six days’ time.
Much was made of Suarez’s Champions League goal drought on the street and while the Uruguayan has still not officially uttered an away goal in the contest since September 2015, he had an enormous hand in Barca’s winner.
Lionel Messi drifted in behind the United defense and also his cross hung up into the trunk was headed goalwards by Suarez, the ball flicking off Shaw on its way beyond David de Gea.
An errant offside flag briefly threatened to spoil Suarez’s delight. On the other hand, the goal was quickly awarded on a VAR review and also the former Liverpool striker took additional glee at getting the last laugh with a fist pump in the front of the Stretford End.
The early goal should have settled the Spanish champions in their stride because their dominance of ownership touched close to 90 percent in the introductory stages.
Yet, they provided United plenty of reinforcement using Sergio Busquets in particular off the speed.
Marcus Rashford shrugged off an ankle injury to begin and supplied by means of a space United’s biggest danger.
A free-kick in the England international flew just wide within the first five minutes and he delivered an additional dipping effort from array only over Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s crossbar.
United defender Chris Smalling had said”bring it on” in the prospect of confronting Messi on the eve of this match.
And then he left the Argentine bloodied in the nose because he careered to an aerial challenge about the half-hour mark.
Messi was quickly back on his feet and to the core of the activity, but it had been Philippe Coutinho who came closest to extending Barca’s edge before the break with a thunderous low shot which De Gea did brilliantly to repel his toes.
Seconds later United could easily have been on level terms, however, the hosts’ best chance of the half fell to the wrong guy as Rashford chose out Diogo Dalot only for its Portuguese to completely miscue his header across goal.
Rashford, however, also failed to make proper contact with his huge chance early in the second-half if Ter Stegen could only hit a cross into his path.
United enjoyed the better of the opening stages in the second half but lacked a creative spark to start Barca up using Paul Pogba too frequently choosing the sideways pass instead of looking to thread the eye of a needle towards Rashford and the unsuccessful Romelu Lukaku.
Barca manager Ernesto Valverde responded by introducing midfielders Sergi Roberto and Arturo Vidal in the seat so as to reestablish to control.
And since the United chased in vain for an equalizer, the traffic started to create opportunities again in the final quarter.
Suarez fired to the side-netting until De Gea used his toes to great effect once again to refuse Jordi Alba.
Anthony Martial had just one final huge chance to ship United into Catalonia next week on level terms, but a hefty bit allowed the faultless Gerard Pique to intervene and condemn the Red Devils into the fourth defeat in their last six home Champions League games.