Champions League: Sevilla knock out Man Utd

BY: BBC
Wissam Ben Yedder has scored eight goals in the Champions League this season
Wissam Ben Yedder has scored eight goals in the Champions League this season

Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage after an awful performance ended in a 2-1 home defeat by Sevilla.

Substitute Wissam Ben Yedder was the match-winner for the Spanish side, shooting from inside the area just two minutes after coming on and heading in at the back post from a corner.

After posing little threat in the goalless first leg, United again looked second best against the La Liga side, though Marouane Fellaini's thumping effort did draw Sergio Rico into a save and the away goalkeeper kept out Jesse Lingard's low strike.

Romelu Lukaku lashed home from close range with seven minutes remaining, but it proved to be merely a consolation.

United exit the competition along with Tottenham, but Premier League leaders Manchester City and Liverpool progressed to Friday's quarter-final draw. Chelsea can join them if they beat Barcelona on Wednesday.

Muddled Mourinho


Alexis Sanchez has scored just once for Manchester United since joining from Arsenal in January

United entered the competition after winning last season's Europa League final, but they lag well behind the continent's elite in Europe.

Manager Jose Mourinho has often been criticised by his own supporters for his cautious style of play and the approach proved extremely costly on this occasion. At one point, the home fans were chanting "attack, attack, attack" towards their own players.

His side looked devoid of ideas for large periods of the two matches, playing pedestrian football for much of it, and his selection and tactics for this game seemed muddled too.

Midfielder Fellaini was off the pace having been given a first start since November, while Marcus Rashford played from the right, despite scoring twice and causing so many problems for Liverpool in their previous game from the opposite flank.

Mourinho also needs to work out how best to use the talents of January signing Alexis Sanchez, who played from the left, but failed to make an impression on the contest.

Twice a winner of the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan, Portuguese Mourinho exited at this stage of the competition for only the fourth time in 12 seasons.

There was optimism for the Red Devils going into the game after collecting impressive victories over Jurgen Klopp's men, Chelsea and coming from 2-0 down to beat Crystal Palace in recent games.

But their best spell was the opening five minutes of the game at Old Trafford, when they were on the front foot and striker Lukaku struck wide and had an effort blocked from close range.

The hosts failed to build on their positive start and, although Lukaku scored his 24th of the season late on, the damage had already been done.

Sevilla win midfield battle

With three draws and a defeat, Sevilla had never won a Champions League game in England, until this match at Old Trafford.

Over the two legs, they were the better side and deserved the victory, with manager Vincenzo Montella and his substitutes running on to the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate with the players.

"We were just excellent, very good," said Montella. "A lot of those players played the game of their lives.

"In spite of the fact we didn't create chances in the first half, we were good, very good, up until the final third, and we gave United very little chance near our goal."

Ben Yedder will get the plaudits for his well-taken goals and he could even have sealed a hat-trick as United fell apart, allowing the Frenchman to run clear but shooting straight at David de Gea.

But the contribution of central midfielders Steven N'Zonzi and Ever Banega cannot be understated as they controlled the middle of the park, overrunning Fellaini, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba when he came on.

Ex-Blackburn and Stoke man N'Zonzi has been linked with a move back to the Premier League and he had more passes (94) than any other player, while partner Banega won possession of the ball back 13 times, the best tally on the field.

Ben Yedder quick off the mark - the stats

  • Including the 2011 final, United have only won one of their last nine Champions League knockout games (drawn three, lost five).
  • After progressing from the last 16 in five successive seasons - they have now been eliminated at this stage in two of their last three Champions League campaigns (2012-13 and 2017-18).
  • This was the first defeat of a Premier League club by a La Liga club in the Champions League in 2017-18, at the ninth attempt (two wins for Premier League clubs, six draws).
  • Sevilla are just the third side to score two or more goals at Old Trafford against United under Mourinho (Manchester City twice and Burnley).
  • In fact, City are the only other side to beat United at Old Trafford in Mourinho's tenure at the club (1-2 in September 2016 and 1-2 in December 2017).
  • Sevilla attempted 21 shots in this match - the most that United have allowed an opposition side at Old Trafford in a competitive match since Real Madrid attempted 22 in March 2013 (Champions League).
  • David de Gea has conceded more goals in this match (two) than in his previous five Champions League games this season (one).
  • Romelu Lukaku has scored five goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Manchester United player in the competition since Wayne Rooney (five) in 2009-10.
  • Wissam Ben Yedder's first goal was the fastest scored by a substitute in the Champions League this season (87 seconds).
  • Ben Yedder has scored the most Champions League goals without providing an assist so far in the competition (eight).

What next?

With the league all-but gone, the only trophy remaining for Manchester United is the FA Cup. They host Brighton in the sixth round on Saturday (kick-off 19:45 GMT).

Culled from BBC