Manchester United have crashed out of the Champions League at the round of 16 stage, losing 2-1 to Sevilla - and the same score on aggregate - at Old Trafford in one of the biggest shocks in European football this season.
Following a 0-0 draw in the first leg at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, United were huge favourites to advance to the last eight, especially given their impressive 2-1 win over Liverpool at home last Saturday.
However, United from the outset were stale, defensive, lacking spark and devoid of ideas. Sevilla in truth were little better, but capitalised on United's failure to put the game to bed as Wissam Ben Yedder grabbed two goals in the 74th and 78th minutes to send Old Trafford in meltdown. United were left needing three goals to rescue their European season, but could only find one, through Romelu Lukaku on 84 minutes, as they crashed out of Europe. Even when they needed those final two goals they looked leaden and disjointed and without a clear plan or vision on how they would break down Sevilla's rearguard.
For Sevilla, the result was historic: a first-ever win on English soil booked their first appearance in the European Cup quarter-finals since 1958, when they lost to eventual winners Real Madrid.
A dejected yet stoic Jose Mourinho cited the first goal going Sevilla's way, and the Spanish side's control of the game, as the decisive factors in the defeat.
"I think the first goal was always going to be important, not just because of the first leg result, but also the profile of the match," said Mourinho.
"We tried to be aggressive and intense from the first minute. We didn't score and Sevilla progressively kept the ball, and they controlled the game well."
The United manager also stated that his side had their chances to claim victory, adding that their "intention" was positive.
"We had good chances to score, but they scored one goal and from that moment everything became much more emotional. The second goal made it impossible," continued Mourinho.
"We had good periods, we didn't have great control over the game, but I can't say there was anything wrong with my players and their intention to play.
"That's football, we lost, but tomorrow is another day and Saturday is another match.
"I'm pleased the players aren't hiding their sadness, but we have no time for drama."
A hugely bland and disappointing first 45 saw few chances for either side as they both preferred caution over caustic attack at Old Trafford. Joaquin Correa did come close for Sevilla, with a glancing header from a corner, that whistled over David de Gea's crossbar, with Nemanja Matic beaten to the ball initially.
United's only first-half chance fell to Marouane Fellaini, after he exchanged a one-two with Alexis Sanchez on the left side of the box, before the Belgian forced keeper Sergio Rico into palming away to his right from close range.
Jesse Lingard forced Rico into another close range save shortly after the interval, with Luis Muriel going close at the other end with an effort that was bundled just wide. But in truth it was only sporadic attack until the game exploded into life on 74 minutes when Sevilla grabbed the lead. Ever Banega turned in midfield to feed Pablo Sarabia, who in turn found substitute Ben Yedder on the edge of the box. The striker - only on the pitch two minutes - took a touch, as he found acres of space between the centre halves, before smashing a shot past De Gea into the bottom-right corner.
United were reeling, needing to score twice in 16 minutes to save the tie. Having already brought on Paul Pogba for Fellaini, Mourinho called on Juan Mata for Antonio Valencia and Anthony Martial for Lingard as he moved from 4-5-1 to 3-5-2. But that change in formation led to uncertainty in the United defence as they leaked another goal four minutes later. A Correa corner found Ben Yedder at the back post, where he beat Ashley Young to the ball to direct a weak header at goal, which was enough to beat De Gea, who got contact, but failed to stop the effort crossing the line, leaving United needing to score three in the last 12 minutes.
Chris Smalling and Lukaku went close as United piled on the immediate pressure, while Smalling blocked another Ben Yedder effort at the other end.
United got a lifeline on 84 minutes when Lukaku smashed home from the centre of the box from a Marcus Rashford corner. But United were lifeless in the last six minutes and never looked like getting the two more strikes they needed. In fact it was Sevilla who should have scored again when Ben Yedder was played in through a shambolically large gap in the United rearguard, with De Gea stopping the shot with his feet from close range.
Manchester United's FA Cup clash against Brighton at Old Trafford on Saturday, 17 March will be shown live on the eir Sport pack on BT Sport 1 [kick off 7.45pm].
Image: Getty/ Clive Mason
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