A round-up of the action from the knockout stages of the Champions League sees Man Utd lose at home to Sevilla, and Roma beat Shakhtar Donetsk on away goals.
Manchester United stumbled into the Champions League after winning the poor man’s title – the Europa League. One is the home of the crack commandos. The other is the hangout for the ‘not good enough.’ Last night, United showed the true colour of their blood, and it wasn’t crack commando.
There was a time when visiting Old Trafford to compete in a Champions League knockout game was as daunting as bending over to pick up your pen in prison. When the Sevilla players meandered into Manchester in their Chinos and cans, United’s players must have been sitting around the TV playing FIFA and getting stoned. On a night when the United faithful needed to see gladiators, they saw 11-boys selling lemons in the rain.
And maybe we shouldn’t have expected anything different?
The frame and the picture stay the same.
United have only won one of their previous nine knockout games since losing to Barcelona in the 2011 final.
Sevilla looked good, but they didn’t seem that good. When you have a former Premier League dropout facing one of the most expensive players in the world, where’s the sweat? And yet Steven N’Zonzi blinded Paul Pogba and co in his red lights.
The Spanish side had 21 shots on goal, more than any other club had managed in the past seven years. Two goals from the substitute Wissam Ben Yedder (he now has eight Champions League goals), made the final 15-minutes as futile as they come.
There was a lot wrong about United. Most strikingly the lack of pace and pomp. Marouane Fellaini came in for his first start since November. The big Belgian always looks like a wiry Sunday league player. Marcus Rashford, who tore Liverpool’s perineum on the weekend, where he cut in from the left, was switched to the right and had a mare. Alexis Sanchez? It’s like he’s driving a car with a copper up his arse knowing he’s left his driving license in the fruit bowl. One goal since January – it’s not good enough.
“The whole 11 were shocking.” Said BT Sports Pundit Rio Ferdinand
Romelu Lukaku scored a late consolation goal six minutes from time. It was the first time Sevilla had beaten an English side away from home in European football.
United face Brighton at the weekend knowing the FA Cup is all they have left. Will the Seagulls dive in and steal that hope? Based on this performance, why not.
Joining Sevilla in the quarter finals is Roma.
The Italian side beat 10-man Shakhtar Donetsk at the Stadio Olimpico. Former Man City star Edin Dzeko scored his fourth Champions League goal of the season to take his team through 2-2 on aggregate courtesy of an away goal.
Results in Full
Man Utd 1 v 2 Sevilla (Agg 1-2)
Roma 1 v 0 Shakhtar Donetsk (Agg 2-2 Roma go through on away goals)
Champions League Odds
Man City 3/1
Real Madrid 4/1
Bayern Munich 9/2