MANCHESTER UNITED suffered semi-final heartbreak again as their Europa League dreams were shattered in Cologne.
After losing in the last four of the EFL Cup to neighbours Manchester City and in the semi-finals of the FA Cup to Chelsea this was almost too much to take.
United took the lead through yet another Bruno Fernandes penalty last night after nine minutes, before Suso grabbed a 26th minute equaliser and sub Luuk de Jong the winner in the 78th.
But they had done everything to score the winner themselves. As on Monday against Copenhagen they found a goalkeeper in inspired form.
Their feared front three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood could not find the net between them out here in the two games.
So a season that began for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in August 2019 against Chelsea in Manchester finished in Cologne 371 days later with the players in despair and out on their feet.
This was the 61st game of their season.
At least next season they are in the Champions League having finished third in the Premier.
But it will still be a case of what might have been not least out here in Cologne.
United had a great start to the match going ahead from that penalty spot through that man Fernandes again – his eighth from the spot out of eight this season.
Marcus Rashford won it, exchanging passes with Anthony Martial before scythed down as he shot by Diego Carlos.
The usual complaint ensued but the decision stood.
Fernandes had not done his trademark jump in scoring from the spot against Copenhagen on Monday.
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This time it was there, disguising what he was about to do which was unstoppable as he blasted a shot into the top left-hand corner.
Having started slowly on Monday this was better from United.
Still Solskjaer had warned them that if they switched off for a second against Sevilla they would pay for it and they did.
Lucas Ocampos slid the ball down the line to Sergio Reguilon and Aaron Wan-Bissaka was slow to react.
The cross evaded Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams had lost Suso who turned the ball in at the far post.
Solskjaer had stuck with nine of the ten that needed extra time to beat Copenhagen on Monday.
There was little surprise at Victor Lindelof replacing Eric Bailly after his erratic performance on Monday before the two swapped during the second-half.
However, Sergio Romero will have been left gutted at being left out of a semi-final line up again.
In the FA Cup he played in all the games up to the semi-final against Chelsea then was replaced by David De Gea who then proceeded to have a nightmare as United lost 3-1.
Still De Gea did his job when called upon in the first half with a strong save at his near post from Ocampos early on.
Aside from the goal that was all he had to do in that first period while there were more chances for United at the other end.
Fred fired one wide of the near post.
When Martial was teed up by Paul Pogba on the edge of the area he was unusually off target with a shot well over the bar.
Meanwhile right on half time Rashford was put through but faced in a one on one with a back peddling defender he came off second best.
It was certainly proving to be a fiery affair with tackles flying in from both sides.
Sevilla’s players and bench were calling for a red card for Brandon Williams when he slid in on Joan Jordan.
The players were constantly in referee Felix Brych’s ear while the benches clashed over a Harry Maguire challenge which Julen Lopetegui claimed was an elbow.
For a match played behind closed doors there was also an awful lot of shouting from some very excitable Sevilla officials in the stand.
But it was the United players and officials who had every reason to be confident as their side pounded the Sevilla goal at the start of the second-half.
Copenhagen goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson had an inspired night against United on Monday and Yassine Bounou in the Sevilla net was producing similar heroics.
Just 45 seconds after the restart Fernandes put Mason Greenwood through and his shot to the far corner was blocked by Bounou’s outstretched boot.
Martial was then denied twice in a matter of three minutes first when he hit a thumping far post volley and then Bounou’s feet came to the rescue again when he had a free shot seven yards out.
At this stage United had hit 17 shots to Sevilla’s five.
Those excitable Sevilla officials in the second tier were up again claiming a penalty when a free kick from Joan Jordan hit Fernandes’ elbow.
But he had jumped up with his back to the shot and his arms by his side.
Nemanja Matic stood up where the United sub’s were sitting and shouted back at the Sevilla contingent.
Buoyed by this sense of injustice the Spanish side came again and got the breakthrough.
Former Manchester City star and Sevilla captain Jesus Navas fired over the cross and substitute Luuk de Jong got between Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka to fire home.
Sevilla went mad, United could not believe the turn of events given the chances they had.
They were out, down and out.
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