Manchester United in stark contrast to their quarter final against FC Copenhagen started the game very well and on the front foot. Even from the early exchanges it looked like United’s dangerous front three was going to get plenty of opportunities to exploit Sevilla’s centre backs because of how advanced the Spanish teams full backs were. United didn’t take long to exploit Sevilla’s exposed defence. In the eighth minute of the game a neat move that involved some lovely link up between Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford saw the latter bearing down on goal and after seeing his shot saved by Sevilla keeper Bounou, Rashford was taken out late by opposition defender, Diego Carlos catching the United striker as he attempted to block the shot. The referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot and Fernandes as emphatic as ever powered the penalty past Bounou to give United the lead.
Whilst United continued to look impressive after scoring the opening goal they weren’t able to capitalise on their fast start and a slow start from their opponents. None more so than when the Reds missed a golden opportunity to double their lead when Fred made space for a shot inside the box only to slice his shot well wide of the goal. For all of United’s good play their goal seemed to give Sevilla the spark they needed as they started to look dangerous, getting themselves in good positions especially in the wide areas. In the 27th minute Sevilla found an equaliser. Once again they worked the ball down United’s right hand side and pulled the ball back across the box evading all the defenders and former Liverpool midfielder, Suso was there to tuck the ball home at the back post. Looking back on the goal United may have felt aggrieved because they should have been awarded the throw in that started the move for the goal. There was the standard goal check by VAR but they were unable to overrule the throw in decision made on field.
United came out firing in the second half and were only denied a second goal thanks to a series of inspired saves by Sevilla keeper Bounou as United once again come up against a keeper in top form. Greenwood was the first to test the keeper, Fernandes with a clever ball over the defence. Greenwood’s shot was struck straight at the stopper. Martial, Rashford and Fernandes then also had a series of shots saved or blocked by a defiant defence and you were starting to feel that sooner or later United were going to be punished for these missed opportunities.
Even though The Reds continued to dictate play for large periods of the second half inevitably they were made to rue their missed chances as they were punished by a clinical Sevilla side. However it won’t only be the misses United’s players will be regretting, it will also be the woeful defending in the 82nd minute that allowed the Spaniards to take the lead. Brandon Williams didn’t do enough to block the cross, Victor Lindelof looked totally in the wrong position and was unable to clear the ball as a result and Aaron Wan-Bissaka didn’t track the run of Luuk De Jong who finished neatly on the half volley to score the goal that saw United’s hopes of silverware dashed at the semi final stage for third time this season.