Marcus Rashford cut a frustrated figure after Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Barcelona at Camp Nou after the referee failed to penalise Jules Kounde for what appeared to be an obvious foul.
Rashford had helped United turn the game on its head with his 14th goal in his last 17 appearances, and was sent through on goal once more in a bid to extend the lead.
Sprinting through on Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal, Rashford appeared to be caught by Jules Kounde just outside the penalty area, sending him sprawling to the floor.
But referee Maurizio Mariani decided it was a fair challenge by Kounde and failed to award a free-kick – much to the dismay of United manager Erik ten Hag who was booked for his protestations.
Kounde would potentially have been sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity had Mariani blown his whistle, and Rashford admitted to BT Sport after the full-time whistle that he thought it was a clear foul.
“It’s a massive moment in the game,” Rashford said. “To be honest, I’ve not watched it back, but in the moment, I don’t understand why the linesman or the referee thinks why I’m going down there.
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“I’ve touched it, went past him, my foot is in front of the ball and he hits my leg. It’s clear contact. It’s not a penalty but it’s 100% a foul for me, but like I’ve said, I’ve not watched it back.”
Asked about the result in general, which puts United in a strong position heading into the second leg meeting at Old Trafford next Thursday, Rashford conceded: “It feels like a loss.
“I think we did well to get back into the game, the first half was probably in favour of them. We stayed calm, we stayed composed, we tried to make chances when we could.
“In the second half, we scored two goals in quick succession and we felt in control of the outcome, but they’re a good team with more players. I just think we were searching for the chances more [second half], maybe because we were a goal behind.
“You have to expect them to [fight back]. They’ve got a lot of top players, high-quality players and if you give them time on the ball, they’re going to hurt you and it’s as simple as that.”
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