• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Sevilla dump Manchester United to reach Europa League final

Sevilla

Manchester United’s hope of winning the Europa League cup went into flames as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men lost a third semi-final of the season despite dominating large parts of a tense clash with Sevilla.

Luuk de Jong fired Sevilla into another Europa League final as the LaLiga side won 2-1 in Cologne to shatter Manchester United’s hopes of silverware.

Sevilla, winners of this competition in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Sevilla took another stride towards glory after resisting heavy pressure from United in this semi-final.

Manchester United went ahead with a Bruno Fernandes penalty, but former Liverpool fringe player Suso levelled for Sevilla.

And De Jong connected sweetly with a cross swung over by Jesus Navas in the 78th minute to send Julen Lopetegui’s side through to Friday’s showpiece.

United took a ninth-minute lead when Fernandes showed a familiar swagger in driving his penalty past Yassine Bounou, after a shabby challenge from Diego Carlos on Marcus Rashford.

Sevilla were not waiting long for their equaliser, though. It came in the 26th minute, with Suso driving past David de Gea after left-back Sergio Reguilon broke forward and crossed low and out of reach of United’s defenders.

Anthony Martial, Rashford, Fernandes and Mason Greenwood all had great openings for United, who dominated large parts of the game but could not put away a goal in open play.

Bounou was outstanding, and there were concerns for United when Sevilla asked for a penalty as a free-kick from Joan Jordan hit Fernandes on the elbow.

Sevilla were out of luck then but the winner soon arrived, with United’s defenders switching off.

De Jong was a Premier League flop during a short spell at Newcastle United six years ago, and he was only a substitute on this occasion after a goal drought.

United had already secured their place in the Champions League next season by finishing third in the Premier League, but their three-year wait for a trophy continues and a third semi-final defeat of the season exposed the work that still lies ahead of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to restore the Red Devils to their former glories.

Sevilla have now won 25 of their last 26 Europa League knockout ties and will believe they are destined to win the competition for a sixth time when they face Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk in the final after riding their luck.

Julen Lopetegui’s men are now unbeaten in a club record 20 games, but were unsettled by the pace and movement of United’s front four early as Marcus Rashford was wiped out by Diego Carlos after his initial effort was saved by Bono.