Slick Sevilla punish slapdash Man United to ease into Europa semis
Europa League kings Sevilla breezed past Manchester United into the semi-finals of their favourite competition as Youssef En Nesyri scored twice in a dominant 3-0 win on Thursday that secured a 5-2 aggregate triumph.
Both En Nesyri’s goals came from mistakes by United goalkeeper David de Gea while trying to play the ball with his feet and it was a listless and error-strewn performance by the English side.
Sevilla were relentless with their high pressing and United, who led the first leg 2-0 before conceding two late goals at Old Trafford, never threatened to get back into the game amid a raucous atmosphere at a sold-out Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
“I have never seen an atmosphere like this in my entire life,” En Nesyri told Movistar Plus.
“I am very happy for the two goals and for the fans who supported us until the end.
“We have to stay together, with the fans, because that’s how we’ll go far.”
Languishing in the bottom half of LaLiga during a difficult season in which two managers have been fired, Sevilla rediscovered their mojo at Old Trafford to grab a late 2-2 draw.
It took only eight minutes for Sevilla to open the scoring after De Gea delivered a hospital pass to Harry Maguire who was challenged by Erik Lamela and En Nesyri scooped up the loose ball to net from close range.
Sevilla wasted several chances and Lucas Ocampos had a goal ruled out by VAR due to offside in the build-up shortly before halftime.
United manager Erik ten Hag brought on Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw as halftime substitutes but straight after the interval Sevilla defender Loic Bade scored with a towering header from a corner which went in off the crossbar.
En Nesyri wrapped up the win in the 81st minute after United goalkeeper David De Gea failed to deal with a long ball over the top and the Morocco striker finished well to move the Spanish side closer to a record-extending seventh victory in the competition.
“We have to do better, that’s the demand,” Ten Hag told BT Sport.
“We were not composed, not calm. We didn’t beat the press, when you do there are so many spaces behind, and it was obvious at the start how to do it.
“We lost the battles, they had more passion, more desire, more willingness. This was a great opportunity, a great occasion, to win something and we gave it away – we have to blame ourselves. It’s gone, we can’t change it.”
Sevilla will face Juventus in the semi-finals.
United play Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday.
Juventus draw with Sporting to book Europa semi-final spot
An early goal by midfielder Adrien Rabiot earned Juventus a 1-1 draw with Sporting in an entertaining Europa League clash on Thursday to win their quarter-final 2-1 on aggregate and set up a semi-final clash with Sevilla.
Juventus, who saw their 15-point deduction in Serie A over the club’s transfer dealings scrapped earlier on Thursday pending a new trial, had earned a 1-0 victory in the first leg with a second-half goal by defender Federico Gatti.
They will meet Sevilla in the semi-finals, with the Italians at home first on May 11 before the return leg in Spain on May 18, after the Spanish side knocked out Manchester United 5-2 on aggregate.
“We suffered, we did good things in the second half at the beginning, but we have to do better when it comes to our chances,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
“We knew it would be difficult but we are bringing home a good result.
“I expected Sevilla (in the semi-finals) to be honest. They are a tricky team… They have won so many Europa Leagues so they definitely have an advantage. The signs from the last game (in Manchester) were in their favour, I had that feeling.”
Juventus took an early lead through Rabiot who netted from close range after nine minutes following a corner.
Sporting winger Marcus Edwards equalised from the penalty spot in the 20th minute when he sent Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way with a strike into the middle of the goal after Rabiot was penalised for a tackle on Manuel Ugarte.
The Lisbon side had hit the woodwork moments before.
Sporting came close to taking a surprise lead and levelling the tie in the 35th minute when defender Ousmane Diomande connected with a corner but his header narrowly missed the target.
Just before halftime, Sporting winger Nuno Santos tried to square the ball inside the box coming from the left but Juve defender Gleison Bremer blocked the threat right in front of the diving Szczesny.
After the break Sporting pressed with confidence for possession but they squandered three more opportunities to level the match.
Ruben Amorim’s side should have found the net in the 75th minute when defender Ricardo Esgaio latched on to a pass on the edge of the box only to see his volley fly over the bar, while Sebastian Coates spurned two more chances minutes from time.
Sporting have now completed a run of five home European matches without a win for the first time in the club’s history, having recorded two losses and two draws in their previous four.
They have lost each of their last seven ties with Italian clubs.
Roma score twice in extra time to book Europa semi-final spot
Stephan El Shaarawy and Lorenzo Pellegrini scored in extra time to earn hosts AS Roma a spot in the Europa League semi-finals after defeating Dutch side Feyenoord 4-1 on Thursday for a 4-2 aggregate win.
El Shaarawy converted a cross from Tammy Abraham after 101 minutes and captain Pellegrini, who missed a penalty in last week’s first leg, sealed the win seven minutes later when he slotted in a rebound from an Abraham shot.
Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho was full of praise for his team after reaching his second European semi-final in a row with Roma, following last season’s Conference League title.
“Maybe someone thinks differently, but in my view, the team played very well in a difficult match to deal with,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“I’m sure the fans would have gone home happy for the team regardless of the result. We have limits, but this team is a family.”
After Feyenoord had won the quarter-final first leg 1-0, Roma pushed for the opening goal from the start, missing two great opportunities in the first 10 minutes.
The visitors became more involved in the match, with Roma keeper Rui Patricio forced to deny Sebastian Szymanski from close range.
Immediately after halftime, Roma had an excellent chance when a cross found Pellegrini at the near post but his shot hit the post.
“I have to say that the emotions started before the match. You know you have to win for these people who give everything for us – and, consequently, we have to give everything for them,” Pellegrini said.
On the hour mark, roars of relief erupted around the Stadio Olimpico when Leonardo Spinazzola took advantage of a deflection in the box to poke the ball into the bottom corner.
Mourinho started with key players Paulo Dybala and Abraham on the bench, after they suffered injuries early in the first leg, but he sent them on midway through the second half to chase a decider.
In the 80th minute, Brazilian Igor Paixao headed in an equaliser for the visitors, unmarked inside the box from a cross by Szymanski, only for Dybala to level the aggregate score one minute before stoppage time with a shot from a tricky angle.
Feyenoord striker Santiago Gimenez received a straight red card in the game’s final moments for a knee-high tackle on Gianluca Mancini.
“I am never angry when we don’t do well, because I know these players gave everything. Now we must rest as much as we can, prepare for Serie A and forget the Europa League for now,” Mourinho said.
Roma will meet Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals on May 11 and 18 after the German side knocked out Union Saint-Gilloise 5-2 on aggregate.
Leverkusen crush hosts Union 4-1 to book Europa League last-four spot
Bayer Leverkusen eased into the Europa League semi-finals after crushing hosts Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium 4-1 on Thursday for a 5-2 aggregate win that stretched their unbeaten run to 12 straight matches across all competitions.
The result means Leverkusen, the last German team left in any European competition this season, have reached their first European semi-final in 21 years while ending Union’s fairytale maiden run in the Europa League.
“The mentality of the team was the key tonight,” said Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso, who has turned around their season since taking over in October.
“Obviously the early first goal by Moussa Diaby was very helpful. But overall we did it very well.
“Now the team is ready to fight in a semi-final. We are a step closer to reaching the final but I’ll only talk about the semi-final,” said the Spaniard.
Leverkusen, who face AS Roma in the last four, proved extremely efficient, needing just 66 seconds for Diaby to round keeper Anthony Moris and finish a quick move by the Germans to open the scoring.
They added another goal on the break in the 38th with Mitchel Bakker volleying in at the far post before they were gifted a third on the hour courtesy of a big Moris blunder.
Under pressure from Bakker, the keeper sent the ball straight into the path of Jeremie Frimpong who only had to kick it into the empty goal.
The Belgians did breath some life into their game, cutting the deficit with Casper Terho’s fine shot in the 65th, but could not find another goal despite more pressure
Leverkusen made sure they snapped their opponents’ nine-game unbeaten run when Adam Hlozek pounced on a weak Moris save to make it 4-1 in the 79th.
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