Lukaku 5/10 as Man United's slow start proves costly in loss to Barca
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United will head to the Camp Nou needing to win to progress in the Champions League despite a spirited display in a 1-0 loss to Barcelona in their quarterfinal first leg at Old Trafford.
Barcelona, who haven't lost at home since November, will take an away goal back to Spain after Luis Suarez's header deflected in off Luke Shaw after 12 minutes. United recovered from a slow start to put the visitors under pressure, although goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was never seriously troubled. Diogo Dalot came closest to scoring for United with a header at the back post, but the blank against the Spanish giants means United have scored just once in five Champions League home games this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will have to repeat the trick they pulled off against Paris Saint-Germain -- where they lost the first leg in the round of 16 at home before executing a dramatic comeback at Parc des Princes -- if they want to qualify for the semifinals for the first time since 2011.
Scott McTominay is only 22 and hasn't yet played 50 senior games, but he didn't look out of place on the big stage against Barcelona. He did well in a more advanced role in the league defeat to Wolves and was impressive in the same position here. He caused Sergio Busquets enough problems in the first half alone that the Spaniard was lucky to still be on the pitch by half-time.
United were punished for a slow start and by the time they -- and the Old Trafford crowd -- had got into the game, Barcelona were already in front. There were plenty of positives to take from the performance, but the fact that they will head to the Camp Nou with a deficit owes much to the way they started.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Solskjaer sprung a surprise with his team by picking Shaw as the third centre-back in a five-man defence with Dalot at left wing-back. United didn't start well, and in the first 15 minutes Barcelona had 90 percent possession and were already 1-0 up. The Norwegian will have wanted a fast start and got the opposite.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
DF Ashley Young, 5 -- Not his best night. Wasted too many chances to put crosses into the penalty area from good positions and was guilty of giving the ball away.
DF Diogo Dalot, 6 -- Asked to play as the left wing-back. Made a mess of United's best chance of the first half with a back-post header from Marcus Rashford's cross.
DF Luke Shaw 6 -- Started as the third centre-back. Lost Suarez when he drifted to the back post for Barcelona's goal. Booked for a foul on Lionel Messi and will miss the second leg.
DF Chris Smalling, 7 -- Told Messi to "bring it on" in the pre-match news conference and backed up his words. Left Messi nursing a bloody nose after one strong challenge in the first half.
DF Victor Lindelof, 7 -- The Swede won a lot in the air but was stopped from bringing the ball out of the back. Did well to marshal Suarez.
MF Scott McTominay, 8 -- Clattered by Busquets in the first five minutes. Might have won a penalty in the first half after going down under pressure from Gerard Pique. Played well.
MF Fred, 7 -- Played as the deepest of United's midfield three. Found himself chasing Messi and didn't allow the Argentinian any space to weave his magic.
MF Paul Pogba, 6 -- Almost got Rashford in with a wonderful pass behind Barcelona's defence in the first half. Tried to be the creator in midfield but couldn't find the killer pass.
FW Marcus Rashford, 7 -- An injury doubt in the build-up. Fired an early free kick wide and created United's best chance of the game with a fantastic cross for Dalot.
FW Romelu Lukaku, 5 -- A Pogba cross that drifted just over his head in the first half was the closest he came to troubling Ter Stegen. Didn't do much to affect the game.
FW Anthony Martial, 6 -- Replaced Lukaku on 67 minutes and was almost played in by McTominay.
MF Andreas Pereira, N/R -- Got five minutes after taking Rashford's place in the attack.