Leicester loanee Ayoze Perez returned to England to haunt Manchester United and scored a stunning equalizer for Real Betis.
The Spanish striker, who joined LaLiga on a temporary basis in January, opened his account for the club in exquisite fashion in the Europa League round of 16 first leg.
Red Devils star Marcus Rashford had broken the deadlock in the sixth minute at Old Trafford as Erik ten Hag’s side threatened to riot.
It was his 18th goal since the World Cup break and his 25th goal of the season in all competitions – almost as many goals as the previous two seasons combined.
But the visitors came into play after a number of missed chances by the hosts, silencing United fans just after the half-hour.
Perez controlled the ball with his chest just inside the edge of the box before deflecting a nice half-volley on the outside of his right boot into the far post.
David de Gea didn’t stand a chance between the sticks when Perez’s 15-yard shot deviated from his outstretched arms.
There were question marks over a possible handball in the build-up as Juanmi appeared to have inadvertently controlled the ball with his hand.
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The VAR looked into the incident and awarded the goal as the rulebook only gives grounds for disqualification if the ball touches the goal scorer’s arm in the build-up.
Perez almost helped Betis add a second in the 44th minute when his low cross was deflected by Raphael Varane, where it then bounced off the post.
The Newcastle ex-man was involved in three goals in his last two games against United after providing two assists in the Foxes’ 4-2 win at the King Power Stadium in October 2021.
Prior to that game, he had not registered a goal involvement in his first 12 games against the Red Devils.
It was also his first goal against a Premier League side this season after drawing a gap in nine top games for Leicester.
Perez is a season-ending free agent and his stunning punch won’t hurt him in attracting potential suitors.
Man United’s lead was restored early in the second half by a beautiful curl from Antony. Check out the latest updates of the game on our live blog.
https://talksport.com/football/1357290/real-betis-ayoze-perez-man-utd-europa-league-goal-explainer/ Why Ayoze Perez’s stunning goal against Manchester United was allowed to stand in the build-up despite a handball from Real Betis team-mates