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.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.