Monday 17 August 2020

Match report: Sevilla 2-1 Man Utd

Manchester United players

Manchester United suffered a cruel self-inflicted fate as Sevilla sub Luuk de Jong hit a late winner to send the Spaniards of Sevilla to the Europa League final.
The one time Newcastle man stepped off the bench to fire the tournament specialists into Friday's final and condemn United to a third last four defeat of the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have now fallen short in the semi finals of all three cups to go with the third placed finish in the league. A season of progress, but one in which we'll end empty handed.
It proved a bitter pill to swallow for the Reds, with Solskjaer's men made to pay for their profligacy having taken the lead through Bruno Fernandes early on.
The five time winners equalised when former Liverpool flop Suso swept home beyond David de Gea before half-time.
United's fate was sealed when they missed a glut of chances in a second half siege, with Sevilla indebted to the heroics of their goalkeeper Yassine Bounou. There was a sense of inevitability that a side as good as Julen Lopetegui's serial winners would punish such wastefulness, and so it proved as de Jong swept home from a Jesus Navas cross 12 minutes from time, with Aaron Wan - Bissaka and Victor Lindelof left bemused and ball watching.
United could not respond at the end of a long season and saw the chance for a first trophy under Solskjaer slip from their grasp.
The Reds had looked on course to return to Cologne on Friday for the final having taken the lead inside ten minutes. Anthony Martial's superb reverse pass found Marcus Rashford, and he was scythed down by Diego Carlos after the ball had gone. Fernandes slammed home United's 22nd penalty of the season in trademark fashion.
Rashford flashed a shot wide and stung the palms of Bounou from a set-piece, whilst Fred also went close from distance in a very bright start from a lively United side.
Sevilla are made of stern stuff, though, as their five triumphs in this competition prove. After de Gea had saved well from top scorer Lucas Ocampos, the Spaniards levelled shortly before the half hour mark. It came from a throw in that should have gone in United's favour, Sevilla surged upfield as the tricky Sergio Reguilon found Suso to steal in and score.
Martial fired over the bar and Bounou saved from Rashford and Fernandes before the half was out, with Sevilla guilty of several cynical fouls and pointless protests, the Spanish side showing their experience and know how.
United started the second half in dominant form, and it seemed only a matter of time before we retook the lead. Bounou denied Greenwood after a sizzling ball from Fernandes, and frustrations grew as another point blank save from the Sevilla stopper denied Martial and then Fernandes. Sevilla repeatedly threw their bodies on the line, with De Gea rendered a virtual spectator at the other end. Paul Pogba flashed a shot wide and Bounou came to his side's rescue again, this time to deny Greenwoon, whom also chanced his arm from distance without success.
But Sevilla stood firm and took the lead - decisively as it turned out - with 13 minutes to go. Navas burst clear down the right, Brandon Williams failed to stop the cross and de Jong nipped between Maguire and Lindelof to pounce and half volley beyond De Gea.

With time running out and the team tiring, Juan Mata, Dan James and Tim Fosu - Mensah were all thrown on to rescue the tie, but United were unable to find one last big moment. On the balance of play, it was very harsh on Solskjaer and his side, but we can a least take solace from finishing in the league's top three.
Overall team performance: 7/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Bruno Fernandes

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