Sevilla fc has not been able to defeat Manchester United at the Sánchez Pizjuán but its supporters are hopeful of reaching quarter-final of the UEFA Champions league competition for the first time in their history as they came close to winning Manchester fc at home yesterday.
Manchester United on its part, managed to produce a controlled display to secure a 0-0 draw in their Champions League last-16 first leg tie at Sevilla.
Manchester United boss, Jose Mourinho, went into the tie at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan with a game-plan to keep things tight and ensure his side goes into the return fixture at Old Trafford in a good position to reach the quarter-finals.
However, the Red Devils must have been too elated for the decent result of not conceding a goal. Man. U was totally overrun most of the time, only able to muster one shot on target, two superb saves from David de Gea kept them in a game with no goals. A game where to start with Paul Pogba had been absent, too – and that is likely to occupy the next few days almost as much as this performance will.
On a night of few notable moments for United, the first arrived soon after they did. The morning before, José Mourinho had invited the media to watch those parts of training which he called “competitive”; in doing so he offered them an “objective view” of Pogba’s fitness, later suggesting that when a player takes part as the Frenchman had, “it is because they’re normally ready and without any problems”.
If it seemed staged then, that sensation deepened when the team was confirmed the following night and Pogba was not in it. Mourinho said he was not 100% fit, but the game was only 17 minutes in when Ander Herrera pulled up and had to depart; Pogba came on to replace him, but there was no revolution.
Sevilla enjoyed majority of the possession and shots at goal throughout, but David De Gea pulled off one fantastic save as United held firm and they will no doubt fancy their chances to finish the job on home soil.
Sevilla had an early opportunity after just four minutes when Luis Muriel tested De Gea from 25 yards out but the Spanish shot-stopper dived to his right to push away the strike despite being unsighted by defender Victor Lindelof.
Romelu Lukaku had United’s first and only half chance of the first half on 24 minutes when he ballooned his shot over the crossbar after being picked out at the back post by Alexis Sanchez.
All the action in the opening period came in the closing minutes as De Gea got down to his left to make a good save to deny Joaquin Correa on 43 minutes.
Then in stoppage time De Gea tipped over Steven N’Zonzi’s header from 10 yards before producing an even better save seconds later as he somehow clawed Muriel’s header away from the top corner of the goal from just five yards out.
Sevilla pressed for an opener in the opening 15 minutes of the second half but the closest they came was via a 25-yard effort from Muriel which flew about a yard wide of the goal.
United continued to try and keep things tight defensively, although they had two scares in the space of two minutes.
On 71 minutes Pablo Sarabia put a low cross into the area and it flashed across the face of goal with Muriel inches away from diverting the ball into the net.
And Sarabia was then guilty of guiding his header over the top from close range after Muriel had done well to get the cross to him at the far post.
Mourinho put Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford on for the final 10 minutes to try and potentially nick a win and away goal.
And they thought Lukaku had grabbed one on 83 minutes but he clearly used his arm to control Pogba’s ball into the box before firing into the net.
Sevilla sub Sandro Ramirez almost opened the scoring with virtually his first touch on 87 minutes but his effort from 12 yards was blocked, before United went up the other end of the field and Rashford toe-poked just wide after good work from Pogba.
Rashford then fired a 30-yard free-kick just wide in the final minute of normal time as United settled for the draw.