Sevilla oust Man United from Champions League with 2-1 win

Wissam Ben Yedder double sends United crashing out of Europe's top club competition. (Reuters)
Updated 14 March 2018
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Sevilla oust Man United from Champions League with 2-1 win

MANCHESTER, England: Frustrated and feeling increasingly uneasy, Manchester United fans unleashed a loud cry of “attack, attack, attack” with their team’s Champions League fate hanging in the balance against Sevilla.
It was the Spanish side who answered the call.
Within eight minutes, Sevilla had scored two goals and was heading into the quarterfinals of Europe’s top competition for the first time in 60 years.
In the biggest surprise of the last 16, Sevilla eliminated United by winning the second leg 2-1 at Old Trafford on Tuesday, thanks to two goals in the space of four minutes by substitute Wissam Ben Yedder. In the night’s other match, Roma advanced after Edin Dzeko scored early in the second half to secure a 1-0 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk, overturning a 2-1 first-leg defeat to advance on away goals.w
It was a historic night for Sevilla and an embarrassing one for United, which managed only four shots on target in 180 minutes against one of the weakest defenses left in the competition.
“I don’t want to make a drama out of it,” United manager Jose Mourinho said, struggling for an explanation for his team’s feeble performance. “That’s football. It’s not the end of the world.”
United was lucky to escape from the first leg with a 0-0 draw and it always felt dangerous score line for United.
The longer it went scoreless, the more nervy it got inside Old Trafford. The “attack, attack, attack” chant — made famous during the glory years under Alex Ferguson — came after 70 minutes, and Sevilla’s response was to throw on Ben Yedder two minutes later.
The French striker, a former international futsal player, gave the visitors a cutting edge the man he replaced — Luis Muriel — didn’t offer. Another two minutes later, he ran onto Pablo Sarabia’s precise through-ball, got half a meter on marker Eric Bailly and drove a low shot inside the post.
De Gea had no chance with that goal, but could have done more about the second. A Sevilla corner was flicked onto the back post where Ben Yedder stooped to send in a header that De Gea tried to palm over the bar but only succeeded in diverting it into his own net.
Ben Yedder moved onto eight goals in this season’s competition and he missed a chance for a hat trick as United’s defense fell apart in the latter stages. Only Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo — with 12 goals — has more.
Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for United from close range in the 84th but a late rally couldn’t prevent United slipping out of the competition in meek fashion.
“I sat in this chair twice in the Champions League,” Mourinho told reporters after the match. “I knock out Manchester United at home at Old Trafford. I sit in this chair with Porto (in 2004), Man United out. I sit in this chair with Real Madrid, Man United out. I don’t think it’s something new for the club.”
But unlike in those victories, Mourinho might have got his tactics wrong this time.
By starting Marouane Fellaini for the first time since Nov. 22, United manager Jose Mourinho ceded some of the midfield control that was a standout feature of his team’s 2-1 win over Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday.
There was space in front of United’s back four, with holding midfielder Nemanja Matic isolated as Fellaini roamed, and a team with more incisiveness than Sevilla would have capitalized earlier than it did.
As it was, Sevilla couldn’t find the target with a slew of efforts from distance in the first half but, with Steven Nzonzi and Evert Banega controlling the midfield, United was not finding it easy.
After halftime, United looked more threatening — Jesse Lingard’s low shot brought a good save from goalkeeper Sergio Rico — but was thankful for a last-gasp tackle by Bailly to deny Joaquin Correa just as the Sevilla forward was about to shoot.
Mourinho chose to bring Paul Pogba on for Fellaini on the hour mark to bring some variety to the team’s attacking moves. But it was the introduction of Ben Yedder that had the bigger impact.


Godolphin happy with Thunder Snow ahead of Dubai World Cup defense

Updated 45 min 47 sec ago
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Godolphin happy with Thunder Snow ahead of Dubai World Cup defense

  • Five-year old bidding to become first horse to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups.
  • $12 million race takes place at Meydan on Saturday.

LONDON: Thunder Snow is preparing well as he bids to become the first horse to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups, according to Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
The five-year-old memorably won the showcase $12 million race at Meydan by five and three-quarter lengths, winning in a track record time last year. He returned to the track on Super Saturday two weeks ago, finishing second in the Group 1 Al-Maktoum Challenge Round Three.
And Godolphin are expecting big things from him in the famous race. Bin Suroor, the most successful handler in the history of the 2000m dirt feature with eight winners to his name, is feeling confident.
“He did his final serious piece of work on Saturday and went very well indeed,” the Godolphin trainer said. “He needed his Super Saturday outing — his first run since November — badly and has come on a lot for it. We expect him to run a big race under conditions we know suit him, but obviously it is a good race.”
Thunder Snow has already made history as the only horse to win both the Group 2 UAE Derby and Group 1 Dubai World Cup, but if he is to win this Saturday then he will be revered for years to come.
One of his big rivals in the race will be Yoshida. Trained by Bill Mott he arrived in Dubai on March 19 in preparation for the cash-rich race. The Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry landed in the Emirate off a sixth-place finish in the inaugural Group 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park.
He won the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, as well as the prestigious Woodward at Saratoga last year and Riley Mott, assistant to his father Bob, said Yoshida is looking good ahead of the big race.
“He’s settled in really well,” he said. “He traveled great and we’re very happy with him. The facilities here are top class. This is my seventh time over here and we’re treated very well.”
Yoshida went out just after 7:00 a.m. in Monday to stretch his legs over the famous dirt track.
“He just had a routine gallop this morning and we let him stand in the gate. Nothing too serious,” Mott said.
Jose Ortiz, who has piloted Yoshida though his last two starts and was aboard for the Grade 1 score at Churchill Downs, will make his first appearance in Dubai. Mott said he expects Ortiz, who guided Yoshida to a closing fourth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will have plenty of options in the 2000m race.
“It sounds like there’s a lot of pace from the local horses, but we have a horse that’s pretty versatile in the way he runs,” Mott said. “He’s able to adapt to the pace scenario. It’s just a matter of how the race develops in front of him.”