Sevilla are one game away from extending their record to six Europa League triumphs after beating Manchester United 2-1 in Sunday’s semifinal.
Goals from Suso and Luuk de Jong, two players who had forgettable spells in English football, wiped out an early Bruno Fernandes penalty and sent their side into another final in UEFA’s secondary continental competition.
Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk meet in the other semifinal on Monday to determine who faces Sevilla in next Friday’s showpiece.
United drew their 22nd penalty of the campaign when Marcus Rashford was felled by a rash Diego Carlos challenge after he’d unleashed a shot on goal. The referee’s decision to penalize the Brazilian defender was upheld following a video review, leaving spot-kick specialist Fernandes to rifle the ball into the top corner in the ninth minute.
Sergio Reguilon concocted Sevilla’s equalizer. The full-back, who’s on loan from Real Madrid, swapped possession with Lucas Ocampos as he streaked down the left flank. Reguilon’s subsequent low delivery caught a crumpled and confused United backline and was met by Suso at the far post for a goal. The ex-Liverpool man was under no pressure while he applied his finish in the 26th minute.
The encounter wasn’t as even after the break, as Sevilla needed a number of blocks – most notably from goalkeeper Yassine “Bono” Bounou – to keep out some United efforts. Not long after, Ocampos, undoubtedly Sevilla’s standout player of the campaign, withdrew with an apparent knee injury.
The odds seemed stacked against Sevilla, but they found a way. The much-maligned De Jong – who endured a miserable stint with Newcastle United – neatly stabbed Jesus Navas’ cross past a scrambling David De Gea in the 78th minute. It was only De Jong’s eighth goal in all competitions.
“It’s difficult, the boys are devastated in there,” United captain Harry Maguire told The Guardian after the match. “We created numerous chances, you’ve got to win the game and the better team lost. They punished us.”
This season, Manchester United have been ousted from the semifinal stage of the Europa League, FA Cup, and League Cup.