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A noisy Old Trafford greeted both teams and as soon as the referee’s whistle sounded Barça were into their stride, forcing a corner in the opening minute. The Blaugrana remained on the front foot in the opening exchanges, taking the game to their opponents.
With Manchester United already reduced to counter attacking before the 10-minute mark, it seemed to be only a matter of time before Barça took the lead, and so it was.
With 25 minutes gone, Barça had seen the ball for 74 percent of the match, evidencing how comfortable in possession they were, albeit United’s players had attempted to ruffle feathers and press as often as the Catalans would allow.
Messi was felled by Chris Smalling shortly afterwards and had to leave the pitch for treatment, with the final 15 minutes of the half an exercise for both sides in keeping the ball and chances to a minimum.
The pattern continued at the start of the second half as the players cancelled each other out for the most part.
Both Suárez and Jordi Alba went close as Barça looked to up the tempo again, and Ernesto Valverde also replaced Philippe Coutinho and Arthur with Arturo Vidal and Sergi Roberto to inject some fresh legs into the team.
Despite the Blaugrana’s best efforts, they were unable to add to the score but Marc-André ter Stegen was rarely troubled during the 90 minutes. Ernesto Valverde’s side therefore head back to the Camp Nou with the advantage.
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