Manchester United drew 2-2 with Sevilla in the UEFA Europa League quarter final first leg at Old Trafford. Marcel Sabitzer scored a brace, assisted by Bruno Fernandes in the 14th minute then Anthony Martial in the 21st minute. It looked like United were balling but an 84th minute own goal by Tyrell Malacia and a stoppage time own goal from Harry Maguire put Sevilla back into the tie. Lisandro Martinez’s injury looks daunting too.
United started out magnificently against Sevilla at the Theatre of Dreams. Jadon Sancho had the ball in the back of the net inside the first minute but the flag was raised and the goal was promptly disallowed for offside. That would not dampen the start United had in the match though. United continued to dominate against the fallen Spanish side, which was expected because of their fate in LaLiga this season with relegation still an option for them.
Gonzalo Montiel was the first player to be booked in the match for a foul on Raphael Varane in the 11th minute. United found their first goal in the match in the 14th minute through Marcel Sabitzer, who scored his second goal for United since making the loan move to Old Trafford in the January transfer window from Bayern Munich. Bruno Fernandes played a great ball into the Austrian who was lurking at the edge of the box. He took a touch and shot with his left foot, scoring.
There was some bright play from United after the goal and it was clear that they were seeking to get their second goal of the match. In the 21st minute, seven minutes after the first goal, Sabitzer once again struck home doubling United’s lead. Anthony Martial, who seemed to be the heartbeat of this team tonight got the assist, playing a ball received from Casemiro into the Austrian with a defence-splitting ball, having work to do and putting his left-footed shot past the keeper.
This is a great game for United, who had never beat Sevilla in European competition before this match. Four minutes after the goal, Ivan Rakitic was the second Sevilla player in the book after a foul on Casemiro. United continued to press the Spanish side, getting the better of them time after time. In the 39th minute, there was a VAR check for a red card after Erik Lamela seemed to stamp on Casemiro. After the review, a yellow card was shown to the player for the foul.
Just two minutes later, Fernandes was booked for a handball, which was pretty harsh considering it was ball to arm and his arm was in a natural position based on the block he was trying to make. Fernandes will miss the second leg due to suspension – which means he will get a rest next week before playing in the Emirates FA Cup semi final at Wembley against Brighton and Hove Albion a week on Sunday. Four minutes were added on – United led 2-0 at the break.
At the start of the second half, both United and Sevilla made a substitution. Sevilla brought on Jesus Novas for Oliver Torres with United bringing on Harry Maguire for Raphael Varane, who got a knock in the first half of the match. United started well on the front foot in the second half with Antony getting a shot on goal in the 47th minute, just missing the target. In the 58th minute, Nemanja Gidelj became the fourth Sevilla player in the book after fouling Casemiro.
Antony hit the crossbar in the 61st minute of the match as United sought a third goal, which would have given them a good lead as they head to Andalucia in a week’s time. It was not meant to be though. Ten Hag made a triple substitution in the 62nd minute with Wout Weghorst, Christian Eriksen and Anthony Elanga replacing Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho. Antony was then booked in the 65th minute for a foul on Marcos Acuna.
In the 66th minute, Sevilla made a second substitution with top scorer Youssef En-Nesyri replacing Erik Lamela with the Andalusian side needing a goal. Marcos Acuna became the fifth Sevilla player in the book after being shown the yellow card in the 72nd minute for a foul on Antony. In the 73rd minute, Sevilla brought on former Liverpool player Suso for Tanguy Nianzou as they looked to put something together late in the second half to get a goal.
Sevilla had a shot on goal through Ivan Rakitic in the 76th minute of the match but he missed the target. United did what they needed to do in the match and showed up to win the match with Sabitzer shining in the first half with a brace. United have seemingly dominated the match from start to finish with Sevilla not really getting much out of the game, other then their collection of yellow cards – that said, United had two of them at this stage of the match.
In the 81st minute, Ten Hag made his fifth and final substitution of the match with Facundo Pellistri replacing Antony. Almost instantly, the Uruguayan was on the attack, keeping the ball in play at the goal line, playing it into the box with Tyrell Malacia the player with the shot in front of him – so were five Sevilla players inside the box to block him. Sevilla got a late goal through Jesus Navas, which was a Malacia own goal opening the match up for Sevilla.
United were down to ten men in the last five minutes of the match with Sevilla back into the game. Lisandro Martinez seemed to have done something to his Achilles, clearly in pain and not able to get back to his feet. He was carried off the pitch onto the sidelines with a stretcher being prepared for him. That was not a very good sign for United. Pellistri was booked for a foul before Alejandro Gomez replaced Gonzalo Montiel. Sevilla then scored with Maguire heading it in.
David De Gea: The Spanish goalkeeper has little to do during the match with Sevilla. It looked like it was to be his third consecutive clean sheet but the own goals from Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire ended that. He will be annoyed to have seen United squander a two-goal lead and end up drawing 2-2 on the night. ★★★★★★
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: The English right-back played another positive game for United seemingly becoming head and shoulders ahead of Diogo Dalot. His partnership on the right flank with Antony is great to see. It almost seems like the duo thrive together in this positions. I look forward to seeing more from him. ★★★★★★★
Raphael Varane: The Frenchman has had much bigger nights in the UEFA Champions League but did his bit against Sevilla. Fir the first half he had little to do but got a knock from it which ended his participation at the start of the second half with Harry Maguire replacing him – what an error that was in hindsight. ★★★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: The Argentinian FIFA World Cup winner had a different central defensive partner in each half but that did not change what he offered in the match. He positioned himself brilliantly. The sad thing was his injury at the end of the half which left United with ten men on the pitch. It seemed to be his Achilles. ★★★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: here was a slight improvement from the Dutchman after his performance at the weekend. In the second half, it all seemed to fall apart with some really poor defending. Malacia scored an own goal with Jesus Navas on the attack for Sevilla, opening the game for the Spanish side. He will learn from it though. ★★★★★
Casemiro: It was great to see the Brazilian back in action for United but it will feel like a kick in the teeth following the injuries suffered in this match plus the ones United currently have. His presence improved United. He was targeted by Sevilla and was loose with the ball at times – but will be rusty. ★★★★★★
Marcel Sabitzer: Scored a great brace in the first half of the match taking his goal tally to three this season, also having an assist. He showed what he can do for United at a time they will need inspiration. Just as United’s midfield grows stronger, the defence could become so much weaker. ★★★★★★★★
Antony: This was another good match for the Brazilian. Are had some good attempts on goal, hitting the woodwork with one of his efforts. He had a bit of bad blood with some Sevilla players but seemed to enjoy it. His night ended late on as he was substituted by Facundo Pellistri, who was lively in the time that he had. ★★★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: The Portuguese midfielder got an assist from the game for Marcel Sabitzer’s first goal of the night. He played a blinder at times, seemingly playing a deeper role than usual. Hi was booked for a handball, which was ridiculous meaning that he is suspended for the second leg in Seville next week. ★★★★★★★
Jadon Sancho: If Antony released him sooner, Sancho could have had a goal from this match. He did get the ball into the back of the net in the first minute but he was flagged offside. He was a bright player in the first half but faded massively in the second, being replaced by Anthony Elanga just after the hour. ★★★★★★
Anthony Martial: The Frenchman started brightly against Sevilla and got an assist for Sabitzer’s second goal of the match. That play for the goal was one of his best in a United shirt. He did not disappoint in his first start in around three months. He came off just after the hour, replaced by Wout weghorst. ★★★★★★★★
Harry Maguire: Replaced Varane 46′. Played confidently in defence for much of the second half but scored the equaliser for Sevilla of his own forehead. Not looking forward to the possibility of Maguire and Victor Lindelof in defence for the foreseeable future. That may not bode well for United following injuries to Varane and Martinez. ★★★★★★
Wout Weghorst: Replaced Martial 62′. I feel that the Dutch striker impressed with his pressing but when he was on the pitch, there was no other players to get in behind the defence to score more goals. I would like to see him playing behind a striker like Martial, which could be good for United. ★★★★★★
Christian Eriksen: Replaced Fernandes 62′. Came off the bench to fins=d his match fitness after his injury lay off. Thought he might have started this match but that could be a few matches away yet with United needing to ensure they keep as many players off the injury table at this stage of the season. ★★★★★★
Anthony Elanga: Replaced Sancho 62′. Used his pace well and got on the end of the ball but he still does not show any signs of being able to do anything with it, which is a major work for me. I think a season away from Old Trafford on loan in the Championship or in continental Europe might be beneficial for him. ★★★★★★
Facundo Pellistri: Replaced Antony 81′. Came on brightly and got onto the attack almost instantly, keeping the ball in play on the goal line, playing it into the box with Tyrell Malacia the player to shoot on goal. It did not work out for United with five Sevilla player ahead of him. He has a great impact though. Needs more minutes. ★★★★★★★
Goals: Marcel Sabitzer 14′, 21′; Tyrell Malacia 84′ o/g, Harry Maguire 90+2 o/g
Assists: Bruno Fernandes 14′, Anthony Martial 21′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane (Maguire 46′), Martinez, Malacia; Casemiro, Sabitzer; Antony (Pellistri 81′), Fernandes (Eriksen 62′), Sancho (Elanga 62′); Martial (Weghorst 62′)
Substitutes Not Used: Butland, Vitek; Lindelof, Dalot; Fred, Iqbal
Bookings: Bruno Fernandes 41′, Antony 65′, Facundo Pellistri 90′; Gonzalo Montiel 11′, Ivan Rakitic 25′, Erik Lamela 38′, Nemanja Gudeij 58′, Marcos Acuna 72′
Written by John Walker