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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Sevilla ousts Man United from Champions League with 2-1 win

Ben Yedder scored twice in a few minutes to secure the Spanish side’s unlikely route to the next round

Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder celebrates scoring one of his two goals that knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder celebrates scoring one of his two goals that knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Sevilla reached the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time after beating Manchester United 2-1 on Tuesday thanks to two second-half goals from substitute Wissam Ben Yedder.

The French striker scored in the 74th minute — two minutes after coming on — with a low shot from 12 metres and then sent in a header off a corner that United goalkeeper David De Gea could only parry into his own net in the 78th.

That left United 2-0 behind on aggregate and needing three goals to advance. Romelu Lukaku pulled one back from close range in the 84th, but a late rally couldn’t prevent United slipping out of the competition.

Ben Yedder, a former futsal player for France, moved onto eight goals in this season’s competition and he missed a chance for a hat trick as United’s defense fell apart in the latter stages. Only Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo — with 12 goals — has more.

Sevilla last reached the last eight of the competition in 1958, when it was called the European Cup, and joins fellow Spanish team Real Madrid in Friday’s draw.

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The 0-0 draw in the first leg in Spain three weeks ago always felt a dangerous scoreline for United.

The longer it went scoreless, the nervier it got inside Old Trafford and the more likely one goal from Sevilla would decide the game.

Enter Ben Yedder, who gave the visitors a cutting edge the man he replaced — Luis Muriel — didn’t offer.

His crucial first goal came when Pablo Sarabia found space between United’s defense and midfield, and fed Ben Yedder with a precise through ball. The striker got half a meter on Eric Bailly and drove a low shot inside the post.

De Gea had no chance with that goal, but could have done more about the second. A Sevilla corner was flicked onto the back post where Ben Yedder stooped to send in a header that De Gea tried to palm over the bar, but only succeeded in diverting it into his own net.

By starting Marouane Fellaini for the first time since November 22, United manager Jose Mourinho ceded some of the midfield control that was a standout feature of his team’s 2-1 win over Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday.

There was space in front of United’s back four, with holding midfielder Nemanja Matic isolated as Fellaini roamed, and a team with more incisiveness than Sevilla would have capitalised earlier than it did.

As it was, Sevilla couldn’t find the target with a slew of efforts from distance in the first half but, with Steven Nzonzi and Evert Banega controlling the midfield, United was not finding it easy.

After halftime, United looked more threatening — Jesse Lingard’s low shot brought a good save from goalkeeper Sergio Rico — but was thankful for a last-gasp tackle by Bailly to deny Joaquin Correa just as the Sevilla forward was about to shoot.

Mourinho chose to bring Paul Pogba on for Fellaini on the hour mark to bring some variety to the team’s attacking moves. But it was the introduction of Ben Yedder that had the biggest impact.

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