Man Utd land Barcelona in Champions League draw – but there’s a twist | Football | Sport


Manchester United were the last ball to be drawn from the pot, with their fate against Barcelona already sealed.

The tie, however, will be played in the reverse order as to how it was drawn.

The Red Devils will play the first leg at home on Wednesday 10 April instead, because local authorities decided they could not accommodate Champions League home games from Manchester City and United in the same week.

The reason United are the ones the change? They finished lower than City in the Premier League last season – a rule in accordance with the UEFA Club Competitions Committee principles.

United were one of four English clubs in Friday’s draw, with other ties seeing Liverpool take on Porto, an all-English clash between Tottenham and City, and Ajax pit wits with Juventus.

If United do manage the unthinkable and overcome Barcelona, who are top of La Liga and seeking their first European triumph since 2015, the task at hand does not get any easier.

That is because the draw in Nyon also mapped out each team’s route to the Madrid finale.

The outcome was that the winner of United vs Barcelona will face either Liverpool or Porto for a spot at the Wanda Metropolitana in June.

Liverpool are the favourites heading into their tie with Porto, coming off the back of a professional 3-1 aggregate win over Bayern Munich.

Manchester City are the favourites to progress past domestic rivals Tottenham and win the competition, with Pep Guardiola seeking his first Champions League title since 2011.

That triumph came with Barcelona, defeating United 3-1 at Wembley.

The Catalans have had United’s number in their recent clashes, winning that final as well as the 2009 showdown to halt Sir Alex Ferguson from claiming his third European Cup.

The Scotsman’s first continental success came in 1999 at the Nou Camp, however, where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored an injury-time winner to incredibly win the competition.

The Norwegian has been a revelation since taking the helm, and is expected to land the manager’s job on a full-time basis before the end of the campaign.

United were given belief in the competition by overturning a 2-0 loss against PSG in the last round and Solskjaer spoke positively ahead of the draw.

“We’re happy to be through, so many good teams anyway so we’ll know in a couple of hours time who we’re gonna play against,” he said.

“It’s been a nice couple of days watching and relaxing the other games.

“I don’t really mind who we gonna play because it’s gonna be tough anyway if you’re gonna win it.”

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