Belfast Telegraph

De Gea saves day for sloppy Manchester United in Sevilla

Sevilla 0-0 Man United

By Simon Peach

David de Gea's exceptional display saved Manchester United's blushes as Jose Mourinho's men somehow escaped with a goalless draw from a match dominated by Sevilla.

Last night's trip to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan was the Red Devils' first Champions League last-16 match since 2014, but their performance in this first leg was one to forget.

United struggled to contain Vincenzo Montella's Sevilla throughout a one-sided contest, with De Gea required to produce a string of saves - including an incredible first-half stop to deny Luis Muriel - as proceedings somehow ended 0-0.

A night that started with Paul Pogba dominating the agenda after being named on the bench ended with United's goalkeeper grabbing the headlines thanks to a man-of-the-match display in his homeland.

Disjointed United were unimpressive throughout and De Gea was forced into five saves in the first half alone, with his one-handed stop from a Muriel header leaving onlookers open-mouthed.

Sevilla continued in the ascendancy after the break and racked up 25 attempts over the course of the evening - but none found the back of the net as Mourinho's men returned to Old Trafford unscathed.

The travelling support even thought they had an undeserved winner to celebrate, only for Romelu Lukaku's late effort to be ruled out.

Sevilla's fans were noisy throughout and their intensity was matched by their team, with Muriel setting the tone with an effort bound for the bottom corner until De Gea's intervention.

The hosts continued to threaten United's goal as Ever Banega and Jesus Navas tried their luck safe in the knowledge that Mourinho's men were creating little at the other end.

Pogba's introduction in place of the injured Ander Herrera brought some much-needed creativity and composure, but it was Alexis Sanchez who unlocked the home defence with a lovely clipped ball volleyed over by Lukaku.

Surprise inclusion Scott McTominay's 25-yard effort represented United's only shot on target in a first half that Sevilla would have gone ahead in but for De Gea.

Joaquin Correa twice forced him into action, before the Spain goalkeeper superbly tipped over a glancing Steven N'Zonzi header.

However, the best was yet to come. Moments after being involved in a defensive mix-up, De Gea produced an incredible one-handed stop to thwart a point-blank Muriel header.

Montella opened his arms in disbelief and gasps followed from the crowd when replays were shown at half-time.

Sevilla continued to knock on the door after the break as Muriel threatened, Clement Lenglet got in a tame header and Correa danced into the box.

Banega sent a free-kick straight into the goalkeeper's grasp as those in front of him continued to falter, with Pablo Sarabia nodding just over.

Seven minutes from time, it looked like United had pulled off the smash and grab as Lukaku's fierce strike squirmed past Sergio Rico, only for the goal to be cancelled out for handball.

Substitute Sandro Ramirez was blocked and Navas had a penalty appeal ignored, with Marcus Rashford fizzing a free-kick wide at the other end.

SEVILLA: Rico, Jesus Navas, Mercado, Lenglet, Escudero, N'Zonzi, Banega (Pizarro 89), Sarabia, Vazquez, Correa, Muriel (Ramirez 85)

Subs not used: Martins Carriço, Ben Yedder, Soria, Nolito, Mesa

MAN UNITED: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Young, Herrera (Pogba 17), Matic, McTominay, Mata (Martial 80), Lukaku, Sanchez (Rashford 75)

Subs not used: Bailly, Lingard, Romero, Darmian

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Clément Turpin (France)

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph