Fee­ble Man U bow out of Europe

Waikato Times - - Sport -

Frus­trated and feel­ing in­creas­ingly uneasy, Manch­ester United fans un­leashed a loud cry of ‘‘at­tack, at­tack, at­tack’’ with their team’s Cham­pi­ons League fate hang­ing in the bal­ance against Sevilla.

It was the Span­ish side who an­swered the call.

Within eight min­utes, Sevilla had scored two goals and were head­ing into the quar­ter­fi­nals of Europe’s top com­pe­ti­tion for the first time in 60 years.

In the big­gest sur­prise of the last 16, Sevilla elim­i­nated United by win­ning the sec­ond leg 2-1 at Old Traf­ford yes­ter­day, thanks to two goals in four min­utes by sub­sti­tute Wis­sam Ben Yed­der.

In the other match, Roma ad­vanced af­ter Edin Dzeko scored early in the sec­ond half to se­cure a 1-0 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk, over­turn­ing a 2-1 first-leg de­feat to ad­vance on away goals.

It was a his­toric night for Sevilla and an em­bar­rass­ing one for United, who man­aged only four shots on tar­get in 180 min­utes against one of the weak­est de­fences left in the com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘I don’t want to make a drama out of it,’’ United man­ager Jose Mour­inho said, strug­gling for an ex­pla­na­tion for his team’s fee­ble per­for­mance. ‘‘That’s foot­ball. It’s not the end of the world.’’

United were lucky to es­cape from the first leg with a 0-0 draw, which al­ways felt a dan­ger­ous score­line.

The longer it went score­less, the more nervy it got in­side Old Traf­ford. The ‘‘at­tack, at­tack, at­tack’’ chant - made fa­mous dur­ing the glory years un­der Alex Fer­gu­son - came af­ter 70 min­utes, and Sevilla’s re­sponse was to throw on Ben Yed­der two min­utes later.

The French striker gave the vis­i­tors a cut­ting edge the man he re­placed - Luis Muriel - didn’t of­fer. An­other two min­utes later, he ran onto Pablo Sara­bia’s pre­cise through-ball, got half a me­tre on marker Eric Bailly and drove a low shot in­side the post.

De Gea had no chance with that goal, but could have done more about the sec­ond. A Sevilla cor­ner was flicked onto the back post where Ben Yed­der stooped to send in a header that De Gea tried to palm over the bar but suc­ceeded only in di­vert­ing it into his own net.

Ben Yed­der moved to eight goals in this sea­son’s com­pe­ti­tion and missed a chance for a hat-trick as United’s de­fence fell apart in the lat­ter stages. Only Real Madrid’s Cris­tiano Ron­aldo - with 12 goals - has more.

Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for United from close range in the 84th but a late rally couldn’t pre­vent United slip­ping out of the com­pe­ti­tion in meek fash­ion.

‘‘I sat in this chair twice in the Cham­pi­ons League,’’ Mour­inho said af­ter the match. ‘‘I knock out Manch­ester United at home at Old Traf­ford. I sit in this chair with Porto [in 2004], Man United out. I sit in this chair with Real Madrid, Man United out. I don’t think it’s some­thing new for the club.’’


Manch­ester United striker Romelu Lukaku, left, cuts a de­jected fig­ure afte miss­ing a chance while Sevilla play­ers, right, cel­e­brate their open­ing goal in the Span­ish team’s 2-1 Cham­pi­ons League tri­umph.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.