Six-time winners Sevilla continued their quest for yet another UEFA Europa League trophy after despatching Man United in the quarter-final second leg at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
The home side, buoyed by a stunning two-goal comeback at Old Trafford seven days earlier, displayed their intentions from the off with a high press and that tactic paid dividends just eight minutes in.
The introduction of Youssef En-Nesyri as a late substitute had tipped the first leg back into Sevilla’s favour, sparking the fightback as José Luis Mendilibar’s side rescued a draw. The home coach rewarded the Moroccan forward with a start and he was instrumental in the opening goal.
En-Nesyri was one of three Los Hispalenses players who surrounded Harry Maguire in possession on the edge of the box. This left the United defender with nowhere to turn in playing the ball out from the back, his pass charged down by former Tottenham attacker Erik Lamela to allow En-Nesyri to gain possession and guide a low left-footed shot into the bottom left of the goal past a static David de Gea.
Sevilla peppered the United goal in search of a second and had the ball in the net five minutes before the interval courtesy of Lucas Ocampos’ curling strike, but Marcos Acuña had strayed offside in the build-up.
With his side up against it, United manager Erik ten Hag made two half-time changes, introducing top scorer Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw in a bid to regain a foothold in the tie.
Instead Sevilla doubled their lead two minutes after the restart. Their set pieces were a constant worry for the visiting defence and Ivan Rakitić’s corner from the right was met emphatically by Loïc Badé, who looped a header over De Gea and into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
José Luis Mendilibar, Sevilla coach: “This is a team that’s used to greater things. We came from an awkward situation in Manchester, where we drew 2-2 without doing things right, and people believed that we could do it. In the end we did it. It’s surprising for us to win a game against Manchester United without struggling and with such forcefulness. It’s not easy.”
Fernando, Sevilla midfielder: “It was a magical night. I’m very happy, as this season we’ve not lived these moments of euphoria, of happiness. We’ve been through a difficult moment in the Spanish league but now we aim to change the mindset and carry on in this way.”
Christian Eriksen, Man United midfielder, speaking to BT Sport: “We didn’t really get in the game from the first minute but we gave them a lot of opportunities. We lost a bit of our coolness in the build-up, we made more mistakes than we normally do. We could have caught up on the mistakes we made but we didn’t. If we give away goals as we did today, we will lose.”
Erik ten Hag, Man United manager, speaking to BT Sport: “It’s clear that when we make such mistakes, it’s very difficult to win a football game. We have to do better. That’s a demand. We were not composed, we were not calm. There were bad decisions. We lost the battles. They had more passion, more desire, more willingness. That makes it difficult to win big football games. It is a problem. We can’t run away from it but we have to step up and show more character and personality.”
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