A SE­VERE BEAT­ING

Spa­niards make United pay for a lack of am­bi­tion on night­mare evening for Jose

Daily Mirror - - SPORT - BY DAVID McDON­NELL

HE was dressed like an un­der­taker and Sevilla boss Vin­cenzo Mon­tella made sure his side buried Manch­ester United.

Jose Mour­inho’s side slunk out of the Cham­pi­ons League at the last-16 stage af­ter fall­ing vic­tim to two goals in four min­utes from Sevilla sub Wis­sam Ben Yedder.

Favourites to progress af­ter a 0-0 draw in Spain, United were flat through­out and val­i­dated Mour­inho’s pre­match ad­mis­sion that they were not equipped to go on and win the com­pe­ti­tion.

Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, were con­sid­ered one of the weaker teams left in the last 16, but they were more than a match for United, sec­ond in the Premier League.

Mour­inho moaned at the fourth of­fi­cial for only al­low­ing four min­utes of added time, but the re­al­ity is he got his team se­lec­tion and tac­tics wrong.

The Por­tuguese made two changes to the side that beat Liver­pool 2-1 at the week­end, Marouane Fel­laini in for Scott McTom­i­nay and Jesse Lin­gard for Juan Mata. The in­clu­sion of Fel­laini, who has just re­cov­ered from knee surgery and made his first ap­pear­ance since Novem­ber at the week­end as a sub, felt like an un­nec­es­sary gam­ble from Mour­inho (be­low).

Hav­ing only made five starts all sea­son and clearly not match-fit af­ter his en­forced ab­sence, Fel­laini’s in­clu­sion was an un­doubted risk.

United made an im­pres­sive start, and could have gone ahead af­ter some swift in­ter­play be­tween Lin­gard and Romelu Lukaku, which ended with the lat­ter scoop­ing a shot high and wide.

Sevilla were pre­sented with their own op­por­tu­nity to open the scor­ing af­ter nine min­utes, Joaquin Cor­rea get­ting to Ever Banega’s cor­ner first to send a glanc­ing header just over the bar.

United soon put them­selves un­der need­less pres­sure, never more so than in the 13th minute when Eric Bailly passed straight to an op­po­nent, then watched in re­lief as Luis Muriel squan­dered the chance. The Reds’ game plan soon be­came clear – lump it for­ward to Fel­laini and use his aerial threat to knock it down and win the sec­ond ball, but it was a tac­tic to which Sevilla soon adapted.

With Fel­laini woe­fully off the pace and leav­ing Ne­manja Matic iso­lated, great swathes of space opened up for the vis­i­tors to ex­ploit, which they did on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions in the first-half. Franco Vazquez sent a wild shot over, while Muriel dragged an an­gled ef­fort wide of David De Gea’s far post af­ter United were left ex­posed.

Mar­cus Rash­ford, so ef­fec­tive on the left against Liver­pool, was switched to the right to ac­com­mo­date Alexis Sanchez and strug­gled to have the same kind of im­pact, de­spite toil­ing hard.

Sanchez failed to im­pose him­self on the game once again, and it re­mains to be seen how long Mour­inho per­sists with the for­ward. The home crowd were be­com­ing anx­ious, but the Reds fi­nally rose from their slum­ber in the 37th minute, Fel­laini forc­ing a fine save from keeper Ser­gio Rico af­ter ex­chang­ing passes with Lin­gard.

Sevilla had a chance to take the lead and plun­der a pre­cious away goal two min­utes af­ter the restart, with only a per­fectly-timed chal­lenge from Bailly pre­vent­ing Cor­rea from pulling the trig­ger.

Lin­gard saw an an­gled shot palmed away by Rico, but they were un­done in the 73rd minute when sub Ben Yedder put the vis­i­tors in front.

He had only been on the pitch for a cou­ple of min­utes, but timed his run per­fectly, run­ning on to the ball and tak­ing a touch be­fore bury­ing a low shot past De Gea.

United’s Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign was ef­fec­tively over four min­utes later, Ben Yedder their tor­men­tor again, head­ing in at the far post.

Lukaku gave the hosts a glim­mer of hope with an ac­ro­batic fin­ish in the 84th minute, but it still left them need­ing two more goals to progress, a task which ul­ti­mately proved be­yond them.

DOWN.. AND OUT Lukaku and Man United were floored by Sevilla and two goals from Ben Yedder

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