COLOGNE (Germany), August 17: Manchester United were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal as Sevilla enjoyed another special night in the Europa League by coming from behind to reach Friday’s final with a 2-1 win in Cologne.
Bruno Fernandes’s early penalty was cancelled out by Suso’s strike for Sevilla in a fiercely contested first half.
But United made and wasted almost all the big chances after the break as Bono produced a string of stunning saves until substitute Luuk De Jong turned home Jesus Navas cross 12 minutes from time.
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.
Fernandes has ensured United’s early season woes from the spot are long forgotten as the Portuguese converted his eighth penalty for the club and the 22nd the Red Devils have been awarded in a 13-month long campaign.
Fred then fired wide with just Bono to beat and United were made to regret not making more of their bright start.
Ever Banega ran the game as Sevilla knocked United out of the Champions League two years ago and the Argentine began to take a hold once more as Sevilla grew back into the game and levelled with a fine team goal on 19 minutes.
On-loan Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon is in demand from a host of top European clubs and his run opened up the United defence before his cross was swept home by former Liverpool winger Suso.
Despite the lack of a crowd in Cologne there was no lack of passion or tension as tempers flared with both benches exchanging words.
United rode out the Sevilla storm to end the first half as they started on the front foot as Anthony Martial fired over from the edge of the area before Bono parried long-range efforts from Rashford and Fernandes.
Even better chances were to come for English giants after the break, but a combination of Bono, poor finishing and brave last-ditch defending kept them at bay.
Martial was the biggest culprit as three times the Sevilla’s second-choice stopper denied the Frenchman one-on-one as United began to cut through Sevilla at will.
Lopetegui responded by sacrificing top scorer Lucas Ocampos and Youssef El-Nesyri for De Jong and Munir El Haddadi and the former Spain and Madrid coach’s changes worked to perfection as Sevilla regained their composure
before landing the sucker punch.
De Jong has had a difficult first season in Spain, but went a long way to redeeming himself as he was alive to turn home former Manchester City winger Navas’s cross with the United defence sleeping. (AFP)