United bow out as Sevilla run rampant in Spain

Erik Ten Hag’s side travelled to the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán on Thursday to play the second leg of their UEFA Europa League quarterfinal. Marcel Sabitzer fired United into an early lead against their Spanish opponents last week at Old Trafford, but a pair of late own goals saw Sevilla come back to claim a 2-2 draw under the lights in Manchester.

SEV: Bono; Acuña, Marcão, Badé, Navas; Gudelj, Fernando; Lamela, Rakitić, Ocampos; En-Nesyri

MUN: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; Eriksen, Casemiro; Sancho, Sabitzer, Antony; Martial

Sevilla started strongly in front of a packed out home crowd, as Jesús Navas looked to play in Ivan Rakitić on the left flank after intercepting Harry Maguire’s clearance – Aaron Wan-Bissaka was able to block the Croatian’s cross and avert the danger.

It was the Spanish side that took the lead early on, as Youssef En-Nesyri put Sevilla ahead for the first time in this tie. David De Gea and Harry Maguire will both face heavy criticism, as it was the Spaniard’s pass out to his teammate that allowed Eric Lamela to win back possession before playing in the Moroccan forward who duly opened the scoring.

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United seemed scrappy in possession, and were struggling to string passes together – with Casemiro in particular finding it difficult to assert his usual dominance on the match. Sevilla looked to capitalise on their opponents’ early struggles as Acuña fired a cross towards the far post, though Ocampos was unable to get past Diogo Dalot in order to release En-Nesyri.

The visitors had their first real chance of the game in the 23rd minute, as Jadon Sancho broke free on the left, working his way infield before laying the ball off to Antony. The Brazilian’s first-time effort struck Marcel Sabitzer, though Wan-Bissaka was on the scene to fire a rebounded shot towards goal – but the defender struggled to get much power on it, and Bono was able to make a comfortable save.

That was the only real bright spark for United within the opening half an hour or so, as their defence fell into disarray once more as Gudelj’s picked out En-Nesyri at the far post with a sensational rabona cross. De Gea was able to collect before Lucas Ocampos could arrive to fire home Sevilla’s second.

Sevilla were resolute in defence, but Christian Eriksen managed to pick out Antony’s run down the right wing. The Brazilian found Casemiro with a cross into the box, though the midfielder sent his header well over the horizontal – bringing an end to a rare United chance.

Eric Lamela put David De Gea to work towards the end of the first half, as the Argentine knocked it past Casemiro before firing a shot through the crowded penalty area. The United ‘keeper was able to make the save with ease though, and keep the scoreline respectable for the time being.

Desperate for a goal, United seemed to send everyone forward – and that came back to bite them as Suso broke away from Sabitzer to initiate a rapid counterattack, that ultimately saw En-Nesyri attempt to net his second of the game. Victor Lindelöf was able to block the Moroccan’s effort though.

Sevilla thought they’d doubled their lead in the 40th minute, as a mistake from Casemiro allowed Acuña to find Lucas Ocampos on the edge of the penalty area. The winger’s shot found the back of the net, but a VAR check found that Acuña was offside in the buildup – so the goal was disallowed.

At half-time, Sevilla found themselves leading this tie for the first time – and they looked by far the more comfortable side under the lights in southern Spain. United’s defence was in disarray, and Erik Ten Hag’s side looked low on confidence; would they be able to fight back to get a result though?

The task was certainly made more difficult by Loïc Badé in the 47th minute – as the French centre-back scored with his shoulder to double Sevilla’s advantage. Ivan Rakitić’s corner was delivered well, and the 23-year-old defender beat Casemiro to the ball to propel his effort off the underside of the crossbar and over the line!

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Rakitić’s corners seemed to be posing a real threat to United, as En-Nesyri looked to divert another one past De Gea – with a little help from Lucas Ocampos. The Spanish ‘keeper was able to make the save with his legs though, before Casemiro thumped it clear.

Casemiro looked to play in Wout Weghorst soon after, though his attempted pass struck Gudelj – and on the second attempt, the Brazilian opted to take on the shot himself. It was a well-hit effort, forcing Bounou into making a great save at full stretch.

The game was well and truly put to bed in the 81st minute, as Youssef En-Nesyri fired home to complete his brace. De Gea – already under scrutiny after Sevilla’s first goal – will face harsher criticism after this one, as the Spaniard was well outside the box in an attempt to clear a long ball. His first touch was woeful, allowing En-Nesyri to curl an effort around him and into the back of the net!

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There was one last chance for United to grab a consolation goal, as Casemiro squared it to Anthony Elanga on the edge of the box. The Swedish youngster found a way past Badé, but his strike was straight into the arms of Bono.

United bow out of the Europa League, and their attention will now turn to the FA Cup semifinal against Brighton this weekend. That is the only chance Erik Ten Hag’s side have of picking up a second trophy this season. David De Gea and Harry Maguire will both be heavily criticised after a dire performance riddled with defensive efforts – but the Red Devils were wasteful in front of goal too. In truth, this tie should have been wrapped up in the first leg after Marcel Sabitzer guided United to a 2-0 lead within half an hour, though defensive disasters cost them that lead last week too.