Manchester United extended their unbeaten streak at Old Trafford to 20 matches, blitzing Real Betis 4-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League (UEL) last-16 tie.
Seeking an immediate remedy to his side’s 7-0 trouncing to rivals Liverpool on Sunday evening, Erik ten Hag had a smile on his face after just six minutes, when the in-form Marcus Rashford rifled home a thunderous strike to give the hosts an early lead.
Capitalising on a mistake from the Betis backline, the England international’s instinctive finish stunned Old Trafford into action, while settling any post-Liverpool nerves that may have been growing among the Red Devils faithful.
However, in what was their first-ever visit to Old Trafford, Betis were determined to leave their mark, eventually equalising midway through the half.
Drilling home from inside the penalty area, Ayoze Pérez picked up from where he left off last time against United, when the forward notched up two assists, by netting the goal that drew the visitors level.
Shaken by Betis’ resurgence in the tie, ten Hag’s men responded well in the second half, netting twice within 10 minutes to take control of the clash.
While United’s second came via a moment of magic, there was a touch of fortune to the hosts’ third of the evening, with Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo letting Bruno Fernandes’ powerful header slip through his grasp.
There was even time for Wout Weghorst to get himself in on the act, who turned home just his second goal since joining United after some incredible work in the build-up from Facundo Pellistri.