The Europa League doesn’t stop surpising Sevilla fans, and they are almost always pleasant ones. On this April night at Old Trafford, a stadium we have had success at in the past, we fought back into the game when at times it looked as if United could have won the tie this evening. After 84 minutes we were 2-0 down, with Sabitzer’s early double giving United a commanding lead. Antony could have sealed it for his side in the second half, but own goals from Elanga and Maguire, created by Navas and En-Nesyri respectively, ensure that the tie is still wide open ahead of the match in Nervión in a week’s time.
The first minute set the tone for most of the match, with Antony winning the ball in midfield and fizzing a ball into the box for Sancho, who scored past Bono just as linesman put up his flag to indicate an offside. The home side pressurised us from the start of the game but Mendilibar’s men were also able to challenge De Gea, albeit without scoring. Without a doubt, Ocampos should be praised for his crucial role in attack.
However, the English side would double their lead. Just a minute after Antony had forced Bono into action, Bruno played an inside ball into the Austrian Sabitzer, whose shot deflected off of Marcao as he attempted to block the ball, meaning that Bono was left helpless.
United played very high up the pitch and Sabitzer scored an early double
At times, the home side were very dominant as they sought to end the tie, being 2-0 up halfway through the first-half. Poor control from Nianzou when Sevilla were on the attack saw Martial pick up the ball and play in Sabitzer again, who netted past Bono. Although Sevilla were not being dominated in possession, the difference in being clinical was apparent, but United should have scored a third before the end of the half.
However, in the final stretch of the first-half our side sought to score a goal which would even out the tie. Already in extra-time, Nianzou’s powerful header was saved by De Gea, and from the rebound, Varane cleared and with that, dealt with Sevilla’s best chance of the game thus far.
The final five minutes provided a spectacle, not just on the scoreboard but the nature of the tie too
Mendilibar made a big call by bringing on Navas for Óliver at the break, moving Ocampos to the left and trying to be more dominant on the right. Even so, the persistence of Antony almost saw the home side get their third of the game just two minutes after the restart. His shot went just wide of Bono’s right post though. In a similar fashion to the first, Sevilla grew into the second half and were playing in the right areas of the pitch, just without the finishing touch.
On the contrary, United sought to counter and Antony had a chance after just a few passes of build-up play. Once again, Antony took on Marcao in a one-on-one from the right hand side of the pitch, and went close once again, leaving Bono stranded. United made changes as they thought that their 2-0 lead was secure, but this is Sevilla FC in the UEFA Europa League.
En-Nesyri came on for Montiel and Sevilla attacked as they had nothing to lose. This left us open to the counter and Malacia’s attempt was turned behind by Fernando. Two minutes later, Malacia switched off on the right side, and Navas’ cross deflected off him to the surprise of De Gea, and the score was 2-1.
This was a change to the script for United who had been comfortable before this, and having made all of their substitutions, were unable to replace Lisandro Martínez who picked up a nasty injury. Mendilibar responded by introducing Papu and the away side gave everything in search of an equaliser. En-Nesyri almost found the back of the net, but his header was stopped magnificently by De Gea.
Just after this, another headed attempt from the Moroccan hit Maguire and left De Gea stranded. Old Trafford was silenced as the match ended 2-2, and once again Sevilla FC has the chance to qualify for the semi-finals when they play in front of their own fans next week. Before that though, a six-pointer at the Mestalla to keep us clear of the relegation zone. The six-time Europa League champion still has a lot to offer this season.