Leicester loanee Ayoze Perez returned to England to haunt Manchester United, scoring a stunning equaliser for Real Betis.
The Spanish forward, who joined the LaLiga side on a temporary deal in January, opened his account for the club in exquisite fashion in the Europa League last-16 first leg tie.
Perez equalised for Betis in the 32nd minute against United at Old Trafford
Perez’s half-volley nestled into the far corner in off the post
Red Devils star Marcus Rashford had broken the deadlock in the sixth minute at Old Trafford as Erik ten Hag’s side threatened to run riot.
It was his 18th goal since the World Cup break and his 25th of the season in all competitions – which is nearly as many as he scored in the previous two campaigns combined.
But the visitors grew into the game following a number of missed chances from the hosts and they silenced the United faithful just after the half-hour mark.
Perez controlled the ball with his chest just inside the edge of the box, before guiding a beautiful half-volley on the outside of his right boot in off the far post.
David de Gea stood no chance between the sticks as Perez’s 15-yard strike curved away from his outstretched arms.
There were questions marks over a possible handball in the build-up as Juanmi appeared to have inadvertently controlled the ball with his hand.
De gea was powerless to stop Perez from levelling up the game at 1-1
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VAR took a look at the incident and awarded the goal as the rules state there would only be grounds to disallow the goal if the ball touches the goalscorer’s arm in the build-up.
Perez almost helped Betis add a second in the 44th minute as his low cross deflected off Raphael Varane where it then ricocheted off the post.
The ex-Newcastle man has been involved in three goals against United in his last two appearances having chipped in with two assists in the Foxes’ 4-2 win at the King Power Stadium in October 2021.
Prior to that match, he had failed to register any goal involvements in his first 12 matches against the Red Devils.
Perez’s cross just before the break deflected off Varane and onto the post
It was also his first goal against a Premier League side this term having drawn a blank in nine-top matches for Leicester.
Perez is a free agent at the end of the season, and his stunning strike will do no harm in him attracting potential suitors.
Man United’s lead was restored early in the second half through a beautiful curling effort by Antony. Catch all the latest updates from the match on our live blog.