Sevilla 2 Manchester United 1
Manchester United bowed out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage, despite putting in a huge effort against Sevilla who ran out 2-1 winners in Cologne.
The Reds had taken an early lead through a Bruno Fernandes penalty but Suso equalised before the break and substitute Luuk De Jong fired home late on. Sevilla also had their goalkeeper Bono to thank after an inspired display at the start of the second half saw him repel a host of United chances.
Solskjaer made two changes to the side that began the quarter-final against FC Copenhagen, with David De Gea replacing Sergio Romero in goal and Victor Lindelof coming in for Eric Bailly at centre-back. Sevilla, meanwhile, stuck with the same team that disposed of Wolves in the last eight.
United and Sevilla were the last British and Spanish clubs left standing in Europe and from the first whistle, there was determination on show from both sides to book a spot in the final. After two early shots from Greenwood and Fernandes were both blocked, Sevilla mounted a couple of attacks. However, it was the Reds who drew first blood on nine minutes.
A superb one-two between Martial and Rashford led to the latter having an attempt saved by Bono, but our no.10 was upended in the box by Diego Carlos as he unleashed the shot and after Fernandes had put the rebound wide, the referee Felix Brych pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Fernandes with his unique hop-and-shoot style to brilliantly fire the ball into the top left-hand corner for his third Europa League goal for United and his eighth overall in the competition this season.
United had a good opportunity to double the advantage five minutes later when Fred won possession in midfield and then got on the end of the move, after being found by Fernandes, but our no.17 shot wide.
Sevilla, five-time winners of the competition, were not about to roll over and they soon began to gain more of a grip on proceedings. After De Gea had saved smartly at his near post from their top scorer Lucas Ocampos, the Spaniards drew level on 26 minutes. It was particularly disappointing for the Reds who felt a throw-in during the build-up to the equaliser should have gone our way. Instead, Sevilla were given the decision and 20 seconds or so later, Sergio Reguilon crossed from the left to Suso, who swept home.
Before the half was out, Martial curled an effort over the bar from the edge of the area after lovely build-up play involving Greenwood and Pogba, and both Rashford and Fernandes had excellent shots punched out by Bono. In the midst of all this, Sevilla’s tiresome protests for fouls and bookings led to Solskjaer having a word with the fourth official on the touchline, ahead of half-time when honours were even.
The second half began as the first had started with Greenwood taking aim at goal after a superb through-ball from Fernandes, but Bono came out and spread himself well to block the shot with his leg. Thereafter followed a frenzied spell of attacking play from the Reds but we were ultimately left frustrated by three point-blank Bono saves from Martial and some extraordinary defending from Sevilla as a host of players threw themselves at shots from Rashford and Fernandes.
Sevilla, who were continuing with their protest antics, enjoyed a little more possession but De Gea remained pretty much a spectator.
On 77 minutes, Greenwood had a go from 20 yards with daisycutter as the ball fell loose. It was initially fumbled by Bono, but he had no-one around him and was able to gather easily. A minute later, the decisive blow was struck as Sevilla substitute De Jong found the net. Jesus Navas looped a cross over from the right and De Jong got between Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka and his half-volley from close range flew past De Gea.
As United went in search of a late leveller, Solskjaer made a triple change with three minutes left as Juan Mata, Daniel James and Tim Fosu-Mensah all came on, but Sevilla stood firm. On the balance of play and number of chances created, Ole and his men deserved to reach the Europa League final but instead Sevilla will be there and the Reds can at least take solace from the fact we have Champions League football to look forward to next season.
Sevilla: Bono; Jesus Navas (c), Kounde, Diego Carlos, Reguilon; Banega, Fernando, Jordan (Gudelj 88); Suso (Vazquez 75), En-Nesyri (L. De Jong 56), Ocampos (Munir 55).
Subs not used: Vaclik (GK), Sanchez (GK), Sergi Gomez, Gudelj, Escudero, Oliver Torres, Jose Alonso, Genaro, Pablo Perez.
Goals: Suso 26, De Jong 78.
Booked: Diego Carlos, Munir.
United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (James 87), Lindelof, Maguire (c), Williams (Fosu-Mensah 87); Fred, Pogba; Greenwood (Ighalo 90+3), Fernandes, Rashford (Mata 87); Martial.
Subs not used: Romero, Grant, Bailly, Mengi, Matic, McTominay, Lingard, Andreas.
Goal: Fernandes (pen 9).
Booked: Williams, Rashford, Maguire.
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