We were ahead until the 38th minute of the second half. No one doubted the victory of Manchester United (England). But something unbelievable happened. It was a nightmare at Old Trafford.
Manchester United drew 2-2 with a series of own goals in the second half of the first leg of the 2022-2023 European Football Association (UEFA) Europa League (UEL) quarterfinals against Sevilla (Spain) held at Old Trafford in Manchester, England on the 14th (Korean time).
They took the lead with loanee Marcel Sabitzer’s multi-goal, but in the last 8 minutes of the second half, Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire’s consecutive own goals missed victory right in front of their eyes.
It was a match where the Austrian national team member Sabitzer seemed to be crowned as a hero. Sabitzer, who was loaned from Bayern Munich (Germany) in January, didn’t get many opportunities at Manchester United, but he perfectly announced his value on this day.
In the first leg at Old Trafford, Manchester United laughed early. Rental student Xavier has become Manchester United’s hope. Sabitzer, who played as an attacking midfielder in the 4-2-3-1 formation, dealt critical blows with moves that destroyed the space behind Sevilla’s defense twice.
Sevilla also went to Manchester United in a 4-2-3-1 formation, and from the beginning of the game, they raised the defensive line and faced it aggressively. Mercy did not miss this loophole.
In the 14th minute of the first half, Sabitzer exquisitely dug into the space behind the defense and Bruno Fernandez’s penetrating pass was perfectly delivered to his feet. After securing space, the shot hit the defender’s foot and was deflected, shaking the net.
Seven minutes was enough for an additional goal to be scored. It was a more perfect goal this time. He showed a perfect move to break down the space behind Sevilla’s defense, and after receiving a pass from Anthony Martial, he calmly finished with his left foot without panicking in front of the goalkeeper who moved forward to narrow the angle.
Niangjou’s header was blocked by David De Gea’s super save. The first half ended with a 2-0 lead. However, concerns grew as defender Rafael Varane was out with an injury.
The replacement card that unfolded at the start of the second half had a great impact on the result of the match. Sevilla put in veteran fullback Jesús Navas in the second half, while Manchester United put in defender Maguire.
Sevilla was more aggressive, but the game did not change much. Rather, there was an unfortunate situation for Man Utd. In the 16th minute of the second half, Anthony’s left-footed shot hit the post.
In the 39th minute of the second half, Sevilla started cracking the game. A long pass that flew deep into the right side of the penalty area was thought to be going out of Malacia, so he did not kick it, but Sevilla Navas caught it and raised a cross, which hit Malacia’s body and refracted, making it a comeback goal.
Even Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez came off the pitch with an injury in the 40th minute of the second half. With an Achilles tendon injury and having already played three replacement cards, United had to face Sevilla with 10 men. He played defensively, but terrible bad luck dominated the game. In the second half of added time, Ennesiri’s header hit Maguire’s head and completely changed direction. It was a goal that even De Gea could not prevent.
Whoscored.com, a European soccer statistics site, gave Sabitzer a rating of 8.1, the highest for both teams, for scoring multiple goals. Manchester United’s strikers, such as Anthony (7.9) and Marshall (7.4), received decent scores. However, the evaluation of Malacia (6.2) and Maguire (5.6), which led to the concession, were low. The evaluation of Sevilla’s players was also not very good. The ratings of Ennessiri (6.6) and Navas (6.5), who induced own goals, were also not very high. It can be interpreted that Man United missed a game that could have been caught.
It is a great disappointment that we did not win at home against the most winning team, Sevilla, who won the UEL six times. This is because the trip to Sevilla is expected to be an even tougher game. On the 21st, at 4:00 am, we will play the second leg in Seville away. It is necessary to check the condition, but the fact that two defenders were substituted out during the game is expected to act as a clear anxiety factor.
Manchester United legend Paul Scholes commented on BT Sports:안전놀이터 “The trip to Sevilla will be very difficult.” “The second half was a disaster for United.”
Sevilla is full of confidence. Sevilla coach Mendiliba said, “We fought well in the second half. If we follow one goal, we will have a chance to equalize. This is the Sevilla spirit. Sevilla’s history at UEL makes us stronger.”
In the other UEL quarterfinals, Feyenoord (Netherlands) defeated AS Roma (Italy) 1-0, and Juventus (Italy) defeated Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) 1-0. Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) couldn’t decide the game with Winion (Belgium) 1-1.