Report: David De Gea shone with superb save in Sevilla stalemate


Manchester United drew 0-0 with Sevilla in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 clash. David De Gea became the man of the evening after making a few great saves to deny the home side from taking the lead in the match. United, with De Gea in goal, have kept 19 clean sheets this season – 20 being the most for him in a season. This match will now be decided at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho made a few changes from the side which beat Huddersfield Town in the Emirates FA Cup at the weekend, the biggest shock being that Paul Pogba was on the bench. After reading some discontent on social media, it made me realise how pathetic people really are. If you start a war, you don’t fire all your bullets in the first 45 minutes, you save some, make plans and hold things back.

United started poorly with Sevilla taking control of the game and having the lion’s share of possession, also dominating in United’s final third – a similar approach United adopted against Huddersfield at the weekend. Sevilla are in great form at home but they have not kept a clean sheet in six knockout stage Champions League matches, so there is a way to break in and find a goal or two.

United started to get involved in the attacking aspect of the game in the ninth minute but nothing became of it. A few minutes later Alexis Sanchez was passed the ball and he ran into the box to get a shot but was dispossessed. At the other end of the pitch, Sevilla, through Jesus Navas had another shot on goal which did not really threaten David De Gea.

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In the 16th minute of the match, Ander Herrera suffered an injury and could not continue which meant Paul Pogba was soon to be involved in the match. Herrera made way for the Frenchman in the 17th minute of the match. Twenty minutes into the game, United were still not fully in the game with Sevilla getting stuck in and trying to find the first goal of the game.

Steven N’Zonzi was booked for a challenge on Alexis Sanchez in the 21st minute of the match. The free-kick nothing of it for United. Romelu Lukaku had a great chance to open the scoring in the 25th minute of the match after Sanchez picked him out. The Belgian had the time to react and fire United ahead but his first touch was poor as he sent his shot into the stand behind the goal.

After a period where both teams battled in the middle of the pitch, with a few fouls, Scott McTominay had a shot on goal from outside of the box after a driving run from Ashley Young. The Sevilla goalkeeper manager to make the save though. A minute or so later, Sevilla won a corner, which came to nothing, after a spell in possession pressuring United.

With five minutes of the half remaining, United were on the attack and Navas dispossessed Sanchez but the Chilean tracked back to recover the ball, making a foul by pulling Navas back, earning a yellow card. A minute later, De Gea made yet another save to deny Sevilla from taking the lead at this stage of the game.

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Sevilla broke forward from a United corner, gaining ground with Victor Lindelof defending and deflecting the ball behind for a corner. The Spanish side aimed to take the lead with an acrobatic attempt on goal just being tipped over the crossbar by De Gea. De Gea then made an error in the box with the ball but recovered with Lucas Muriel firing a shot at the end of the half, De Gea making the save.

There were no changes for either team at the start of the second half of the game. Sevilla won another corner in the 53rd minute of the match after getting forward through Muriel and having a shot on goal which was deflected. It was Sevilla’s 11th corner of the game and De Gea made a comfortable catch to thwart the home side from gaining anything from the set piece.

Sevilla had another shot on goal in the 58th minute of the match through Muriel but De Gea stood and watched the effort go wide of the target. United won a free-kick int he 60th minute of the match after N’Zonzi fouled Sanchez – lucky not to be booked for the challenge. Lukaku took the free-kick – which came to nothing.

Sevilla won a free-kick in United’s half after Correa was fouled by Antonio Valencia. The set piece was sent into United’s box, a header was attempted with no power and De Gea made another save to deny the Spanish side from taking the lead in the match. Sevilla had another shot moments later which was off target and posed to threat to United nor De Gea.

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Sevilla won another free-kick in United’s half by the resulting kick was straight to De Gea and posed no threat to him. United immediately powered to the other end of the pitch winning a corner themselves, which came to nothing. With just over twenty minutes remaining, Mourinho had Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard warming up.

Sevilla won another free-kick, on the replay, there was no contact on the player. Sevilla had a good chance to take the lead in the 71st minute of the match by Muriel was unable to get into the danger area quick enough, missing the connection with the ball which could have seen the home side take the lead in the match.

Mourinho made his second substitution of the game in the 75th minute with Marcus Rashford making his return from injury and Sanchez coming off. After a purple patch in the game, Mourinho made his final substitution with Anthony Martial replacing Juan Mata in the 80th minute of the match.

United found the back of the net in the 83rd minute through Lukaku but the goal was disallowed after the ball seemed to hit the Belgian strikers arm. United had a change after breaking forward in the 87th minute of the game, moments after Navas performed a dive in the box. United were unable to capitalise by scoring a goal though.

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United won a free-kick in the 89th minute of the match with Rashford stepping up to take the kick. The shot on goal was just wide of the target. At the end of the second half, there were two minutes of stoppage time added. It was going to be a 0-0 draw in Spain, which was a good result but an away goal could have been beneficial for Mourinho’s side.

Key Moments:

16′ Ander Herrera injured himself whilst running into the Sevilla box. He immediately took his left boot off and sat down – unable to continue. Paul Pogba warmed himself up and was brought on within a minute to aid United.

42′ David De Gea made a save by diving to his left to deny Joaquin Correa from scoring the opening goal of the match.

45′ Victor Lindelof made a huge challenge on the edge of the box cutting out Sergio Escudero’s pass giving Sevilla a corner. David De Gea made a superb save to deny Steven N’Zonzi scoring at the end of the half, tipping the shot over the crossbar.

Man of the Match: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper was the man of the moment for United, keeping them in the game after a great striker by Lucas Muriel was dealt with by an even better save. This was where De Gea would be the hero of the game in an important match in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League – and it has been a long wait for that – five years to be exact.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young; Herrera (Pogba 17′), Matic, McTominay; Mata (Martial 80′), Lukaku, Sanchez (Rashford 75′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Darmian; Lingard

Bookings: Alexis Sanchez 41′

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