Manchester United suffered an embarrassing 2-1 loss at Old Trafford to Sevilla and crashed out of the UEFA Champions League. Jose Mourinho’s men were looking to qualify after a goalless first leg in Spain two weeks ago but were dominated by a spirited and attack-minded Sevilla side.
On the heels of his two-goal showing against Liverpool on Saturday, Mourinho handed Marcus Rashford only his second start of 2018, while Jesse Lingard and Marroune Fellaini both returned to the starting line up. Vicenzo Montella continued with the wasteful Luis Muriel upfront with Wissam Ben Yedder- their top scorer in the competition- consigned to the bench.
The Red Devils started brightly with Lukaku and then Rashford wasting good openings to put Man United in the lead less than five minutes into the encounter.
Sevilla, however, adapted quickly to their more illustrious opponent with the duo Ever Banega and Steven Nzonzi driving the Andalusians through midfield, and Joaquin Correa headed wide from a corner when left unmarked.
Muriel, just like the first leg, was in wasteful mode again and the Colombian forward should really have tested De Gea from inside the penalty area on 28 minutes after being sent through following a swift counter attack.
The absence of a ball-playing midfielder was hindering Man United’s play as the pragmatic Mourinho team- always accused of negative football- took the safety first approach.
Sevilla were enjoying themselves but Muriel, again, failed to hit the target after evading Chris Smalling in the box. United sprang to life again six minutes from halftime, Fellaini’s shot was well held by Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico, while the defence cleared twice as Mourinho’s men finished the half strongly in front of a surprisingly quiet Old Trafford support.
Lukaku had been silent since his chance in the second minute but his brute force fashioned out the first opportunity of the second half. The former Everton striker sent Lingard through and he forced a sprawling save from Rico, while the Spanish keeper was alert three minutes later to cut out a Lukaku cross destined for a tap in by a waiting United player.
The Mancunians were in the ascendancy and were creating chances but Sevilla’s defence blocked firmly, while Muriel wasted another chance from four yards out under pressure from Bailey. Pogba was introduced on the hour and his first impact was a long range strike on 70 minutes which went narrowly wide.
Montella finally introduced Ben Yedder for Muriel and he immediately proved his goalscoring credential two minutes later in the 74th minute. A quick counter cut through United’s midfield and Correa’s incisive pass was met by an equally incisive finish from the 27-year old forward. Sevilla doubled the lead four minutes later and it was Ben Yedder again on target. The French striker evaded Ashley Young at the far post and his header squeezed in despite the best effort of De Gea in keeping it out to all but win the tie for Sevilla.
A flurry of changes left Man United open at the back and Correa forced yet another good save from De Gea while Ben Yedder’s follow up diverted for a corner kick which was headed wide as Sevilla continued to batter a shocked United backline.
Lukaku halved the deficit six minutes from time when he smashed in from three yard after Rashford’s corner kick was flicked on by Juan Mata, but there was to be no comeback on the night.
Ben Yedder should have had is hattrick in added time when one-on-one with De Gea but he shot straight at the keeper’s leg as the Spanish team saw out a comfortable 2-1 aggregate win and dump the 2008 Champions League winners out of the competition.
In Italy, AS Roma also advanced into the Quarter final after defeating 10-men Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome
With a 2-2 aggregate scoreline, the capital club advanced via the away goal rule after scoring an away goal in the 2-1 loss in Ukraine.
After a goalless first half in which the Ukrainians held their own, the Gialorrossi upped the tempo in the second half and scored the winning goal on 52 minutes through their top striker Edin Dzeko. The former Man City striker latched on to a through after beating the offside trap a toe-poked past Shakhtar ‘keeper Pyatov to lead Roma into the Quarter finals for the first time since 2008.
Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla (Sevilla win 2-1 on aggregate)
AS Roma 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (3-3 aggregate, Roma win on away goals rule)