Manchester United are out of the Europa League after a heart-wrenching 2-1 defeat to the streetwise, serial winners of Sevilla despite a blistering start.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side paid the price for profligacy as Luuk de Jong slid home the winner to send the side from Andalusia into another Europa League showpiece where they will face either Internazionale or Shakhtar.
The Reds ran into another goalkeeping clinic – this time from opposition keeper Yassine Bounou – and will ultimately end a promising season empty handed after a third successive semi final defeat of the season.
Here is how we rated the players:
David de Gea – 6
It was a big call from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to restore his no.1 ahead of the done nothing wrong Sergio Romero, but De Gea cannot be blamed for either goal. He had little to do, and could only watch as his defence, not for the first time, let him down. The questions over his future is a debate for another day.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 4
What on earth was AWB doing? It’s been a fine debut season for one of the best defenders in the land but you have to hold him, at least in part, responsible for the winner. Former Manchester City man Jesus Navas ghosted past him to pick out unmarked Newcastle reject De Jong to tap home the winner. Wan-Bissaka just let him go. He could do with watching videos of Joshua Kimmich and TAA over the summer.
Victor Lindelof – 6
This is a tough one. The Iceman was a colossus during the second half, nullifying the threat of Sergio Reguilon and taking control of the left-hand side as United pressed for a winner relentlessly. His distribution was good, lived up to his nickname and put a shift in. Then it all went pete tong as he got caught flat-footed for the winner, getting the wrong side of de Jong and spoiling a game in which he was otherwise good
Harry Maguire – 5
Picked up a clumsy booking and his passing was poor. The pressure – of both the captaincy in a huge game and the occasion itself – seemed to get to him. Lost his focus and his head with some pointless protesting that only suited Sevilla. A decent season, but he’ll have to wait to lift a trophy as United captain.
Brandon Williams – 4
Sucked in by the nous and streetwise approach from the canny Spaniards. Started well but got harshly booked and then became a target, with Sevilla going down his side at every available opportunity. The winner came from his flank and, although there have been flashes of promise in a breakthrough season, is he good enough long term? I love his enthusiasm and energy.
Fred – 7
The other major talking point with the selection, with many of us expecting the more defensively balanced Matic. Fred was better than he was against Copenhagen, though, with his mobility and movement the platform for much of United’s best work. Neat and tidy, he worked hard in one of his better performances of late.
Paul Pogba – 8
United made a lightning quick start to the second half and Pogba was at the heart of that. A game of moments, he was intermittent in the first half but a different level after the break. There were some genuine world class passes, his distribution was class and he almost scored twice. Didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.
Paul Pogba’s game by numbers vs. Sevilla:
89% pass accuracy
25 final third passes
12 ball recoveries
9 successful take-ons
4 chances created
3 tackles won
1 big chance created
An excellent individual performance on a frustrating night overall. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/yclNU6mygH
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 16, 2020
Mason Greenwood – 6
A harsh lesson for United’s generational talent. Again, had moments. He made some good runs and had a great chance to make it 2-1 just after half-time – a miss that now looks crucial. Got into good positions but will learn from this. Can’t be too tough on a player with a golden future. Sevilla knew how to deal with him.
Bruno Fernandes – 8
Scored again in a much better performance from the one against Copenhagen. United’s conductor, he almost scored again only to be denied by the keeper and got the Reds moving with a series of wonderful defence-splitting balls. An arrogance about him that is hard to dislike. He deserved the chance to play in a final given the impact he’s had since he’s come here, but his time will come in that regard
Marcus Rashford – 4
Won the penalty and stung the palms of Bounou with a good free-kick. Those were his best two moments as he faded to anonymity but the time he came off. Lucky to stay on as long as he did. Needs a break having suffered from fatigue more than most.
Anthony Martial – 6
His lovely reverse pass to Rashford set up the penalty and his movement caused Sevilla problems. Looked good on the ball in spells but struggled against a well drilled and organised defensive line. Squandered two good chances that proved costly with the game on a knife edge at 1-1.
Daniel James, Juan Mata, Timothy Fosu-Mensah – for Wan-Bissaka, Rashford, Williams 87 – N/A.
Too late to make an impact — Odion Ighalo – for Greenwood 90 – N/A.