It will take another remarkable effort to pull this tie round. Barcelona will surely be a different proposition in the Nou Camp than the occasional clunky and careless team that started this game imperiously only to slide slowly in to neutral gear at a relieved and grateful Old Trafford.
Neverheless United remain in the tie and at least have memories of dramatic wins at Juventus and PSG this season to sustain them as they plot a miracle almost as notable as the one they pulled off in the Nou Camp in the Champions League final of 1999.
Everything didn’t look exactly lost when Luke Shaw deflected Luis Suarez’s header in to the goal in the 12th minute but United were certainly unable to locate possession, territory or purpose at that time. With more than an hour still to play and Barcelona playing keep ball. Solskjaer’s team faced the longest and sternest of examinations.
But as Barcelona slowly lost their rhythm and United discovered a little bravery, this was a game that felt a little more even for a time. United will have to be better and they will have to be lucky next Tuesday night but they do at least know that they have been both when the situation as required it in Europe this season.
A fair indication of how the opening half hour went was that United’s centre forward Romelu Lukaku touched the ball twice in that period. As someone pointed, the United ball boys were more involved than the big striker.
Not that it was Lukaku’s fault. United, as they have been on occasion before, found themselves caught in the backdraft of Barcelona’s rhythmical passing football and it was all they could to stay upright and resist.