Manchester United’s Europa League dreams went up in smoke as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men lost a third semi-final of the season despite dominating large parts of a tense clash with Sevilla.
An auspicious first full season in the Old Trafford hot-seat ends without silverware for the Norwegian, whose side wasted a glut of chances in Sunday’s Stadion Koln showdown and were made to pay for lax defending.
Bruno Fernandes’ spot-kick had Manchester United dreaming of the August 21 finale, only for former Liverpool player Suso to sweep a finish past David De Gea and ex-Newcastle striker Luuk de Jong to secure Europa League specialists Sevilla a 2-1 comeback win in a pulsating clash.
United’s fate was sealed when they missed a succession of chances early in the second half as Sevilla keeper Yassine Bounou emerged as the hero, denying Anthony Martial several times.
Manchester United’s long season came to a bitterly disappointing conclusion as they missed out on the chance to lift their first trophy since they won this contest under Jose Mourinho more than three seasons ago.
United have only themselves to blame for a lack of killer instinct in front of goal, especially in that opening phase of the second half when Yassine Bounou denied them, especially Martial, but United simply had to take one of those chances.
Sevilla, who will be aiming for a sixth Europa League trophy, now await the result of Monday’s other last-four match between Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk to see who they’ll face in the final on August 21st.
By Linda Amiani