By 90Min
March 14, 2018

A 0-0 away draw at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan was a decent result for Manchester United in first leg of their Champions League Last 16 tie against Sevilla last month. They hadn't scored, but more importantly they weren't behind in the tie and were taking the Spaniards, seen as one of the weaker teams left in the competition, back to Old Trafford for the return leg.


The only time United have ever previously been knocked out of the Champions League after drawing 0-0 in the first leg away from home was when peak Raul inspired Real Madrid to a 3-2 win at Old Trafford in 2000, with Los Blancos going on to win lift the trophy that season.

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What's more, Sevilla had never previously won a game on English soil.

But that all changed on Tuesday night.

After a dreary first half from both teams, Paul Scholes declared in the BT Sport studio that Sevilla are a 'really poor team' who 'have not got a goal in them'.

For a long time, they didn't. Starting striker Luis Muriel, the man denied by David de Gea so spectacularly in the first leg, lacked any quality or incisiveness. Sevilla had enough of the ball in good areas, but their attack was blunt until Wissam Ben Yedder came on and scored twice.

United were even poorer, though. And it took Ben Yedder's clinical brace to spark any life into Jose Mourinho's team. Romelu Lukaku pulled one back in the closing stages, but when even an equaliser on the night would not have been enough because of away goals, it was far too late.

United didn't deserve any better. They didn't move enough, didn't create enough and barely tested a Sevilla defence that hasn't exactly been ironclad in the Champions League or La Liga this season.

ESPN's Rob Dawson points out that United had just four shots on target over the whole 180 minutes of the tie. Only one of those came in the first leg, while Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico made just two saves at Old Trafford. As many as 14 desperate United attempts on Tuesday were wayward.

Sevilla leaked an average of two goals per game, 12 in total, in their six group games earlier this season. Liverpool put five past them home and away, while Spartak Moscow hit them for five in just one game. United could only score once when it was too late to matter.

In La Liga, only five other clubs, three of which are in the relegation zone, have conceded more goals than Sevilla's 42 in 28 games.

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Fans blasted Mourinho for negative tactics, a continual bugbear of supporters pining for the more gung ho style preferred by Sir Alex Ferguson in yester years. The players lacked quality as well, with Paul Pogba seemingly unable to complete even simple passes when he came on.

Perhaps Mourinho was let down by his players, perhaps the boss didn't do enough to inspire his team by demanding they take the game to their opponents, or maybe it was both. What is certain is that despite a strong Premier League position and an FA Cup trophy still to play for, the inquest at Old Trafford into what went so badly wrong in Europe will begin.

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