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World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla 0 Man Utd 0: David De Gea produces stunning save as United get job done against wasteful hosts
World-class is an over-used term in football and maybe it has been with Paul Pogba but there is no doubt that Manchester United have at least one player worthy of that status as goalkeeper David De Gea once again demonstrated his incredible importance as he kept his team in this Champions League tie. Two excellent saves from headers, the second simply breath-taking, at the end of the first-half denied Sevilla who had countless other opportunities against an at times shambolic United side who nevertheless go into the second leg of this last-16 encounter on March 13 as favourites to progress into the quarter-finals. Manager Jose Mourinho, who dropped Pogba, only to have to bring him on early into this match through injury, will have been a relieved man for however it is dressed up this was a far better result than performance from United. They were never in control and did not deserve the draw, in truth. Their debt to De Gea, who even seemed to get into the heads of Sevilla’s players, forcing them to try almost too hard to beat him, was huge. United’s other ‘big’ player, Alexis Sanchez, was substituted after a frustrating evening for him. Pogba’s demotion lasted less than 18 minutes. Ander Herrera, recalled after being ruled out through injury, pulled up sharply holding his hamstring as he chased the ball down inside the Sevilla penalty area. The midfielder immediately signalled to the bench and Mourinho immediately turned to Pogba. He had no other choice. If he had not put Pogba on then it really would have constituted a crisis, or a greater crisis, for the player. It also begged the question as to whether Herrera had been risked given his three-week absence. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Mourinho had said it would be “unfair” to load Pogba with more responsibility, by focussing on him as the man to drive United deep into the competition, but he loaded that pressure even more by dropping him. By bringing him on so early, though, it nailed any suggestions that Pogba might still be feeling the effects of the illness that meant he missed United’s FA Cup tie last weekend away to Huddersfield Town. Now he had to play the role Mourinho demanded from him – could he do it? - against a Sevilla side who clearly wanted to gain an early advantage and chased down their opponents. They had attacked from the off with a low shot by striker Luis Mural almost deceiving De Gea who appeared to react late before diving to his right to palm away. The goalkeeper was then sent sprawling in the same direction by another low shot, this time by Jesus Navas, which skidded past the post. But United did well to hold them off, or at least reduce them to shots from distance, amid the relentless, rhythmic support of the Sevilla fans. Average touch positions (0 min) Dropping Pogba was a very Mourinho-like decision. No-one can accuse him of not having the cojones to leave out a big name in what was United’s return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for only the second time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and with Mourinho in an environment where he announced himself to the world. And, maybe, he should have been celebrating a goal, also as Alexis Sanchez, back in the Champions League himself, cleverly picked out Romelu Lukaku who had time and space but skied his volley high over the cross-bar. It meant that as the mid-point of the first-half was reached, and despite Sevilla’s positive intent, it had been the best opportunity although, that soon changed. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal At the other end, Joaquin Correa jinked in from the right only to shoot weakly at De Gea and more chances, better chances, followed. Sevilla, fifth in La Liga, but in the final of the Copa del Rey, with a fine cup pedigree at home and in Europe, once more began to build momentum. United became unsettled, the ball was turned over quickly and fouls conceded and from one such moment the ball was again ferried to Correa who tried to bend his shot around De Gea. The goalkeeper held it. If anything the noise levels climbed even further and did so again as from another corner he had to tip over Steven Nzonzi’s goal-bound header. If that was a good save then it was eclipsed when De Gea brilliantly turned away another header, by the unmarked Muriel, from close-range. Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) The striker held his face in disbelief. And the half-time whistle blew. United will have been relieved to have reached that point of the match without conceding. So good was De Gea’s last save that two Sevilla players – Muriel and Gabriel Mercado – shook his hand as they walked down the tunnel. Muriel still looked stunned. David De Gea produced a stunning save to keep Man Utd in the game Credit: REUTERS United needed to liven up. They had had one shot on target, a first-time effort by Scott McTominay, that was pushed away by goalkeeper Sergio Rico but were overwhelmed at times. And so Sevilla continued to push with Muriel, maybe unnerved by De Gea’s brilliance, slashing a shot over when well-placed and Franco Vazquez doing well but then curling an effort beyond the angle of post and cross-bar. Once more space opened up for Muriel as United floundered, failing to gain any kind of control, but he snatched at it, dragging the ball wide before Clement Lenglat headed weakly from a free-kick with De Gea again saving. The defender should have done better. As should Correa who, after a strong run, slipped as he shot with the ball sailing over. Still the chances came with Muriel crossing for Correa at the far post but he attempted to put too much power on his header – again mindful of De Gea – and also sent it over. For United substitute Marcus Rashford shot wide, Lukaku had an effort correctly ruled out for handball, but it was Sevilla who remained the more threatening. But they simply could not find the breakthrough; they just could not beat De Gea as United escaped with a draw and a clean sheet. 10:03PM Jose Mourinho loves McTominay "OK. Decision at Old Trafford, it's a match in our house, I believe that Old Trafford misses a big European night. Of course we had last season but Europa League has a different meaning, and they can create similar atmosphere we had today and push us through a difficult match. "Can I hug you? [hugs Des Kelly] That's a question. I was in a press conference before and the questions were about Paul and I think the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic, did everything well, put lots of pressure on Banega which was important, always comfortable, simple in possession. He was brilliant. In my opinion the midfield started well and when Herrera came out, Paul worked hard." 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
 9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla vs Manchester United, Champions League: live score updates
9:42PM Team shapes Average touch positions (0 min) 9:38PM Paul Scholes "Bad game of football, a difficult watch to be honest. Job done for United, I think they'll be comfortable at Old Trafford." Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 9:36PM Mourinho knows how setup a defence The 23rd clean sheet of the season for Man Utd. 9:35PM FULL TIME Not the most memorable of European nights. Sevilla are extremely medium, Man Utd didn't have enough to take anything home with them. There's something in Mourinho's team that doesn't quite click and this was another disjointed performance, albeit one that has produced the 0-0 he will have wanted. 9:34PM 90 mins +1 This game is done. Neither team really pushing for a goal, there's still no pace to the passing, it's a 0-0 game. 9:31PM 89 mins Rashford goes for the knuckle-ball, it flies off the mark and zips wide of the post. Banega off, Pizarro on. 9:31PM 88 mins Rashford wins a free-kick after a blatant foul 30 yards out. The replays of that Navas dive are painful viewing. 9:30PM 87 mins Sandro is involved straight away, links a pass and moves, Sevilla keep coming and Sarabia is played in behind! He pulls the ball back across the box - there must be a finish here! Sandro has to stop and turn a couple of times... and the shot is blocked. Navas comes steaming in to pick up the loose ball and goes flying over a tackle. The referee doesn't care and he's right because it's a dive. Boooooo! 9:28PM 85 mins Sandro is about to come on for Vazquez, but then Montella goes a bit mad on the touchline and decides to take off Muriel instead. The whole stadium seems perplexed by that change of heart but it makes sense. Striker for a striker. 9:25PM 83 mins 0-0 might seem like a decent result to take back to Old Trafford but it only takes one mistake and Sevilla to score from it and all of a sudden United need to score two. United are attacking now... and LUKAKU HAS SCORED! No he hasn't. It's a handball. Pogba's scooped pass for the assist there was superb. 9:23PM 81 mins Mata off for Martial. That'll give United some energy and speed on the wings for the final 10 minutes as they look for that crucial away goal. 9:21PM 78 mins Credit: REUTERS This picture gives you some idea of how close-range that De Gea save was earlier. You'd think it might concern Mourinho that the best thing United have done all night was stopping this header going in but the score is still 0-0 so who knows. I haven't won several European trophies, what do I know. 9:19PM 77 mins Rashford takes on Navas for pace but, somewhat unsurprisingly, isn't able to win that particular race. 9:17PM 75 mins Sanchez has been poor tonight. And actually, I'm not sure if I've seen him play well for Man Utd apart from that Yeovil game... he's doing too much and not sticking to his job on the left wing. Rashford comes on. 9:15PM 73 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal None of these have been particularly close, except the two De Gea saved from close range. And they've just missed another! Muriel dances down the right and chips to the back post. Sarabia should really score from about four yards but heads over. That's a huge miss. 9:14PM 72 mins A cross from wide right is whipped low into the six yard box but Smalling makes sure Muriel can't get onto it. 9:13PM 70 mins Sevilla are painfully slow. It's so easy to shut them down and United are not having to work especially hard to do so. Lukaku holds off his man on the left, Sanchez takes the ball on and the pitch opens up for this United attack! There's a big chance here if Lukaku can find the pass... but a right footed pass across the pitch is easily cut out. 9:09PM 67 mins Banega goes for a knuckle ball, Juninho-style free-kick but De Gea catches easily. Lukaku does well to win a corner. 9:08PM 66 mins Correa comes inside from the left, goes past two players and then a stepover takes him into the area! He can shoot from here... but his shot flies into the stand. Another free-kick for Sevilla near the United box. 9:07PM 65 mins Banega hits a really good ball into the area... it's headed at goal from six yards... and De Gea saves again. This time it's a bit easier. Credit: REUTERS 9:05PM 63 mins Lukaku hits the wall. United keep some level of pressure up... but Sanchez and Pogba and Mata can't produce anything of note and Lukaku doesn't attack the cross with any real aggression. McTominay controls the ball well in the air, the Sevilla defender kicks his foot... aaaaand the referee gives a free-kick to Sevilla. Foul after foul after foul after foul. They're all so weak! Players falling over all the place. Put a lion on the pitch, see what happens. 9:03PM 61 mins More slow build up. The Sevilla fans boo, Sanchez is told where to go by McTominay after drifting inside the pitch but Sanchez's run towards the box is stopped by a slide tackle. United have a decent set piece position here. 9:01PM 59 mins United sit in their own defensive third, walking around the pitch as Sevilla jog their way forward. Muriel tries another shot at goal but puts it wide. De Gea wanders over, never worried about that one creeping in. Out: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 58 min) It'd be nice if Man Utd could do something exciting soon. Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:59PM 56 mins Lukaku moves out to the right wing, dribbles past one man and then tries to pass across the box. It's aimed poorly and Sevilla come away with the ball, Lindelof pulls Vazquez's shirt and gives away a free-kick in the centre-circle. McTominay is fouled by Escudero... it's so scrappy. Both teams are slow in build up and then someone fouls someone else. Nothing comes from the free-kicks or corners. 8:56PM 54 mins Young tries to go past Sarabia but loses the ball and the counter-attack is on. Matic is caught behind the play, Muriel comes inside and shoots... but it's another corner. This is such a frustrating, scrappy game. A real Mourinho European match. He'll get them the result but it's far from beautiful flowing football. 8:54PM 52 mins Average touch positions (50 min) You can see why Mourinho needs Young to get forward. Sanchez is basically playing as a second striker and it's making United lopsided. Vazquez tries a shot from 20 yards but bends it way over the bar. 8:53PM 50 mins Sevilla vs Man Utd shots on goal 8:51PM 49 mins McTominay does well to shield the ball and link a few passes together in the midfield. Young overlaps and gets into the box, winning a corner. It seems that Mourinho has pushed his full-backs further forward in this half. Mata's first touch to kill the corner is amazing, he then sells a dummy to two defenders and chips into the centre but nobody is there. Sometimes Mata is ridiculously good. 8:49PM 47 mins Sandro (that guy Everton bought) is on the bench for Sevilla and has number 99 on his shirt. This. Ends. NOW! 8:48PM KICK OFF 2 Kick off 2 man utd "They don't look too threatening really," says Paul Scholes of Sevilla. I'd argue both look pretty tame. A 0-0 beckons! Or does it? Let's find out! 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
 8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla vs Manchester United, Champions League: live score updates
8:38PM De Gea praise from a proper goalkeeper This guy used to play in goal for Aberdeen, he knows what it means to face an onslaught of shots. David De Gea is incredible. What. A. Save. Don’t say “Anywhere else and it’s a goal.” or “He should score.” because nothing should detract from that save. From that range and with that power, he’s denied an almost certain goal. Just brilliant.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 21, 2018 8:35PM Sevilla's paper planes Credit: REUTERS 8:33PM That De Gea save Sure, the striker should have aimed towards the floor with this but I mean... come on. It's ludicrous that he can react quickly enough and get a strong enough arm at this shot to turn it over. It's astonishing. 8:32PM HALF TIME De Gea has just rescued Man Utd there. It should be 1-0 Sevilla. 8:32PM 45 mins +2 And more exciting! A long ball is read by Young, he cushions it with his first touch back to De Gea... and nobody picks it up! What are they playing at?! De Gea manages to hook the ball away before that becomes a tap in. Sevilla keep the pressure up, the ball is sent into the middle and MURIEL IS ALL ALONE! HE MUST SCORE OH MY HEAVENS LORDY LORDY WHAT A SAVE! That's an incredible save from De Gea! Muriel can't believe it! Attempt Saved: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Luis Muriel, 45 + 1 min) 8:30PM 45 mins +1 What a save by De Gea! The corner is headed to the back post, N'Zonzi tries a bicycle kick and it's turned at goal by another Sevilla player off the head. De Gea has to react instantly to dive and turn it over! 8:29PM 45 mins There are quite a few paper aeroplanes being thrown onto the pitch as United set up a corner. That corner goes so well that Sevilla are able to counter-attack quickly and win their own corner. Mourinho is furious. 8:27PM 43 mins Sanchez fouls Navas and is booked. It's harsh. Lukaku is back defending at right-back... Valencia hooks the ball away, Banega finds Correa... who does a little too much but does get a shot away! Low to the corner but De Gea saves. Valencia doesn't get close to Correa there. Keeper pick-up: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (David de Gea, 42 min) 8:25PM 41 mins Correa is in space wide left in the box but doesn't take his chance to shoot, controls, the defence gets back and his attempted flair pass is knocked behind for a corner. That turns into a goal kick. Sevilla are doing an awful lot without ever actually creating anything genuinely dangerous. 8:23PM 39 mins MCTOMINAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY has a shot saved from distance but it's a solid effort. The ball sits for him about 20 yards out in the kind of position that would make it a crime not to have a wee go. Rico is fairly comfortable with his save. Sevilla break forward but don't look too menacing again. Smalling heads a weak shot behind for a corner, Pogba clears. 8:22PM 37 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES There he is. Meanwhile, Sevilla have a corner. Their crowd really dislikes many of the referee's decisions but it really does look like he's getting them all dead right. 8:19PM 35 mins McTominay lets me down and himself down and everyone down with a poor pass to Valencia, who has to work hard to win the 50/50 and then dives by the corner flag. The referee isn't having it, Sevilla play on and Vasquez is played in! Oooohhhhh he's a click away from controlling that and having an easy one-on-one but the ball runs past him and he wins a corner instead. Pogba fouls Banega in the centre-circle with a clumsy tackle. 8:17PM 33 mins Sanchez goes down off the ball as Mercado puts his arm out to block the run. There's nothing really in that either. The Sevilla crowd and team are getting a little wound up by the referee. Valencia has absolutely pied Correa with a shoulder drop and sprinted past him on the right but nothing comes of it. 8:15PM 31 mins Lukaku is being kicked around a little bit here. Sanchez points it out to the referee and convinces him to tell off Correa for... basically barging into him. Hmmm. There#s nothing in that for me, Clive. McTominay is having a decent game so far, his first touch is brilliant. 8:13PM 29 mins Correa has a bit of space on the left and dribbles into the penalty area after a superb first touch. He tricks his way into the box but doesn't get enough on his show and De Gea saves easily. 8:12PM 27 mins Credit: REUTERS United are slowly gaining more of the pitch, edging that defensive line further forward. 8:10PM 25 mins Lukaku is in! Great ball over the top, an even better run to get to it... and Lukaku punts his volleyed effort way over the bar. That's a really bad miss. If he had another go at it right now he'd bury it every time. 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
 8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla vs Manchester United, Champions League: live score updates
8:08PM 23 mins N'Zonzi is booked for catching Sanchez on the behind, or to be more specific, his buttock. Sanchez has felt that one, rolls around a bit and then tries to show everyone the wound he may have suffered before deciding maybe he shouldn't do that. The game is pretty scrappy now, both teams look organised and disciplined, though Sevilla are perhaps asking more of the questions. 8:05PM 20 mins Pogba's first involvement is to chase the ball down the right wing and lose it. He's in his dream midfield three now so there's no excuse if this doesn't work for him tonight. Young has to stay alert to head a long diagonal ball behind for a corner. Possession: Sevilla vs Man Utd 8:03PM 18 mins POGBA ALERT. POGBA ALERT. [dabs everywhere] Pogba is on the pitch. Mourinho's evil plans are in tatters. What are the odds he scores and does one of those "shhhhhhh!" celebrations? 8:02PM 17 mins Valencia carries the ball towards the box, Herrera overlaps and is into the box. The pass comes in, he back-heels across goal... and it's cleared away. Oh no! He's injured! Herrera's done for the night, having pulled a muscle with that little run. Darren Fletcher on commentary says "that looks terminal" but I'm not sure Herrera will die from the injury. I don't know for certain. But also I do. 8:01PM 16 mins Banega tries a long range effort but it's too high. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Éver Banega, 14 min) A chipped ball over the top towards Lukaku causes panic as Lenglet and Mercado struggle to cope with his strength and balance... but he can't take the ball down nor pass it to Mata and Sevilla deal with the situation well. Sevilla go forward quickly and get another shot away. This time it's wide. Miss: Sevilla 0 - 0 Man Utd (Jesús Navas, 15 min) 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
 7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla vs Manchester United, Champions League: live score updates
7:57PM 13 mins Sanchez runs into space, controls and pushes the ball towards the box... but Navas speeds in (the one with the sharp blue eyes - don't act like you don't know) and shuts him down. 7:56PM 12 mins Sevilla taking their time with passes, United fall behind the halfway line to compact the midfield and Sevilla can't really go very far. United are effectively keeping them at arm's length. 7:53PM 9 mins Young does really well to stop Sarabia running directly at him and De Gea hits the ball long up the pitch. Valencia gets forward for a throw in, McTominay controls superbly and passes to Lukaku, who hits a ball out to the left wing and Sanchez gets his first touch! Corner to Man Utd. 7:51PM 6 mins Muriel is able to sprint past Smalling but although he's quicker to accelerate, the defender is able to hold him off and win the tackle. Correa tries a step over and goes down under a mistimed tackle from Mata. Sevilla are attacking with purpose here, passing the ball really nicely. 7:48PM 4 mins United have a lot of bodies behind the ball early on! Lukaku is the out-ball, tries to spin N'Zonzi but goes down and loses possession in the centre-circle. This is a definite 4-5-1 from United. Sevilla come forward, Muriel has the ball 25 yards out and tries a shot... SAVE by De Gea! That was a decent effort! 7:47PM 2 mins Sevilla win a corner early on, Banega whips it in but United defend well and get the second phase attack out for a throw. 7:45PM KICK OFF Sevilla kick off 7:42PM Here come the teams You can't even hear this song over the top of the Sevilla support. What a noise! 7:36PM This is genuinely excellent TV BT Sport making use of the expert pundits they have on offer is an absolute treat. I could watch Lampard and Scholes discuss the minute details of how to play in midfield, how they reacted after games, how they'd coach Pogba for the rest of the evening. Lampard has essentially said that Pogba needs to take some responsibility and can't rely on other people to reign him in when he goes wandering. "After Tottenham I wouldn't have slept but he's doing the same thing against Newcastle" is a rough paraphrase. 7:32PM More on Pogba "It's awareness and effort," continues Lampard, who knows exactly what it's like going from attacking midfield to a deeper role. This is great television, lovely stuff by the BT Sport lads. "We're still talking 18 months into his United career where his best position in the team is," says Scholes. "He's a player who scores goals, dictates the pace of the game. I don't think the team sets up to get the best out of Pogba," argues Ferdinand. 7:29PM Mourinho on Pogba This is from a BT Sport VT. "When you speak about Paul Pogba is a player who in his best moment had to stop twice, then when he's playing really well he is suspended." Pogba has been shunted out of momentum a couple of times this season and he's struggled ever so slightly in his last few games, trying to do a little too much. In a midfield two he needs to be a little bit better positionally. "It's all about defensive responsibility, Mourinho's trying to shock him", is what Frank Lampard thinks. 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
 7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
Sevilla vs Manchester United, Champions League: live score updates
7:06PM Mourinho's reaction to Des Kelly's questions "Three questions and all about Paul?!" he asks after three questions about Paul Pogba's absence. Des knows what he's doing and laughs it off as he moves onto asking about the actual game. 7:03PM Mourinho's 4-3-3 Isn't that a thing. Scott McTominay is preferred to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata gets the nod over Anthony Martial and Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3, despite the clamour for him to do so much sooner to get more out of Pogba. Even Pogba has admitted he's better in a three but Mourinho isn't having it - a talent like that should be able to play in multiple systems, not only one which suits him alone. 6:46PM Do you like holidays? Do you like football? Well wait a darned minute there because I might have the perfect little thing for you to read! The 10 best European football away days Incredibly it doesn't include a trip to Pittodrie, Aberdeen but perhaps that is fair, since once you've attended a match there you never need to go another football game again. Wait, I mean you never want to go to another football game again. 6:39PM Sevilla starting lineup ONCE del #SevillaFC ante el @ManUtd_Es en la IDA de 1/8 de final de la @LigadeCampeones#vamosmisevilla#UCL#ThisIsSevillapic.twitter.com/fiz3jEbvp3— Sevilla Fútbol Club (@SevillaFC) February 21, 2018 6:38PM No Pogba - confirmed Controversial scenes, Clive. What's going on here then? Phenomenal scenes from Jose Mourinho. Martial dropped too. How #MUFC line up for tonight's #UCL clash with Sevilla... pic.twitter.com/7g80OaosMv— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2018 6:25PM Good evening! Hello lovely humans, welcome to our liveblog for tonight's Champions League game featuring PAUL POGBA. [dabs everywhere] But wait - what's this? Pogba's on the bench?! That's what Jason Burt's heard and you can read all about it here. Could that switch make Man Utd more balanced on the pitch? Does it make them weaker? Who will dab? Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? Sevilla are fifth in La Liga and represent a real challenge for United tonight. They play some really nice football and have some excellent players - Ever Banega is an exceptional talent and has the potential to run the game. We'll find out the starting lineups shortly. Until then, let's all think about Pogba. And Romelu Lukaku - Sevilla aren't in the top six of the Premier League, which means he should be able to score against them.
In contrast to last season’s inexorable progress to a clean sweep of the domestic honours, Celtic have had to break step during this campaign and did so again in a game which saw St Johnstone – not for the first time in recent seasons under Tommy Wright – leave the east end of Glasgow with reward to show for their efforts. The outcome of a goalless contest was, nevertheless, a reminder that championships can be acquired in diverse fashions. Celtic shed two points yet found themselves better off than they had been before the weekend because, yet again, the nearest contenders were unable to muster the victories that would have put at least a nominal degree of pressure on them. When Celtic lost at Kilmarnock at the start of the month Rangers lost at home to Hibernian. On Saturday, Aberdeen had the opportunity to move to within five points of the leaders, a prospect which evaporated when they were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Hibs at Easter Road. The upshot is that Celtic, despite failing to score at home in a league fixture for only the second time under Brendan Rodgers, are now nine points clear of Rangers, who overtook Aberdeen on goal difference with their 5-3 win at Hamilton. If Celtic are not invincible in Scotland, as they were last season, their horizons have expanded to include the possibility of Europa League football in the last 16 of the competition next month. History has demonstrated that expeditions to Russia are notoriously hazardous but Rodgers exercised the opportunity to harbour his resources ahead of Thursday’s return leg meeting with Zenit in St Petersburg, where Celtic will attempt to capitalise on the 1-0 lead posted at home in the first instalment. Celtic made no fewer than seven changes from the Europa League match, with only Dorus de Vries, Kris Ajer, Callum McGregor and Eboue Kouassi retained for the visit of a St Johnstone side coming off the back of three successive defeats. McGregor and Kouassi, though, were switched from advanced midfield positions to fill the holding roles usually taken by Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown. Tom Rogic was back in action Credit: PA The use of squad players was notable at full-back, where Cristiam Gamboa and Calvin Miller were summoned from the fringes of the squad. One particularly heartening inclusion was that of Tom Rogic, back on his familiar beat behind the front three for the first time since the 1-0 home defeat by Anderlecht in the Champions League, after which he sustained a disruptive knee injury. The Australian looked entirely comfortable during an opening spell of almost complete Celtic dominance when, for 10 minutes, Saints could scarcely get a touch on the ball. For all their command of possession, though, the Hoops managed only a single attempt on target, when Ajer met a free kick from the right with a header that was parried by Alan Mannus and nodded clear by Steve Anderson. To the audible frustration of the home support, the visitors began to break out of the quarantine zone around their own penalty area and fashioned a series of alarms at the other end of the field. This switch was signalled by a cross from David Wotherspoon headed narrowly over by Blair Alston, followed immediately by a free kick touched by Wotherspoon to Richard Foster, whose drive from the edge of the box swept just high of the crossbar. St Johnstone came close on two more occasions, with another Wotherspoon delivery that squirmed narrowly past the post and then an Alston delivery pitched fractionally too high. The second half simply extended the pattern of the first and, as the proceedings wore on, Rodgers attempted to break the deadlock from the bench in the form of Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele. St Johnstone’s response was to replace George Williams with Matty Willock and the on-loan Manchester United midfielder might have put his team in front when he burrowed behind the Hoops defence had he chosen to shoot rather than cut back to Steven MacLean. As it was, while Celtic conserved their energy for Zenit, Saints departed with an unanticipated bonus in their battle to clear the relegation zone.
Celtic 0 St Johnstone 0: Brendan Rodgers keeps Europa League in mind as much-changed side go nine points clear
In contrast to last season’s inexorable progress to a clean sweep of the domestic honours, Celtic have had to break step during this campaign and did so again in a game which saw St Johnstone – not for the first time in recent seasons under Tommy Wright – leave the east end of Glasgow with reward to show for their efforts. The outcome of a goalless contest was, nevertheless, a reminder that championships can be acquired in diverse fashions. Celtic shed two points yet found themselves better off than they had been before the weekend because, yet again, the nearest contenders were unable to muster the victories that would have put at least a nominal degree of pressure on them. When Celtic lost at Kilmarnock at the start of the month Rangers lost at home to Hibernian. On Saturday, Aberdeen had the opportunity to move to within five points of the leaders, a prospect which evaporated when they were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Hibs at Easter Road. The upshot is that Celtic, despite failing to score at home in a league fixture for only the second time under Brendan Rodgers, are now nine points clear of Rangers, who overtook Aberdeen on goal difference with their 5-3 win at Hamilton. If Celtic are not invincible in Scotland, as they were last season, their horizons have expanded to include the possibility of Europa League football in the last 16 of the competition next month. History has demonstrated that expeditions to Russia are notoriously hazardous but Rodgers exercised the opportunity to harbour his resources ahead of Thursday’s return leg meeting with Zenit in St Petersburg, where Celtic will attempt to capitalise on the 1-0 lead posted at home in the first instalment. Celtic made no fewer than seven changes from the Europa League match, with only Dorus de Vries, Kris Ajer, Callum McGregor and Eboue Kouassi retained for the visit of a St Johnstone side coming off the back of three successive defeats. McGregor and Kouassi, though, were switched from advanced midfield positions to fill the holding roles usually taken by Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown. Tom Rogic was back in action Credit: PA The use of squad players was notable at full-back, where Cristiam Gamboa and Calvin Miller were summoned from the fringes of the squad. One particularly heartening inclusion was that of Tom Rogic, back on his familiar beat behind the front three for the first time since the 1-0 home defeat by Anderlecht in the Champions League, after which he sustained a disruptive knee injury. The Australian looked entirely comfortable during an opening spell of almost complete Celtic dominance when, for 10 minutes, Saints could scarcely get a touch on the ball. For all their command of possession, though, the Hoops managed only a single attempt on target, when Ajer met a free kick from the right with a header that was parried by Alan Mannus and nodded clear by Steve Anderson. To the audible frustration of the home support, the visitors began to break out of the quarantine zone around their own penalty area and fashioned a series of alarms at the other end of the field. This switch was signalled by a cross from David Wotherspoon headed narrowly over by Blair Alston, followed immediately by a free kick touched by Wotherspoon to Richard Foster, whose drive from the edge of the box swept just high of the crossbar. St Johnstone came close on two more occasions, with another Wotherspoon delivery that squirmed narrowly past the post and then an Alston delivery pitched fractionally too high. The second half simply extended the pattern of the first and, as the proceedings wore on, Rodgers attempted to break the deadlock from the bench in the form of Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele. St Johnstone’s response was to replace George Williams with Matty Willock and the on-loan Manchester United midfielder might have put his team in front when he burrowed behind the Hoops defence had he chosen to shoot rather than cut back to Steven MacLean. As it was, while Celtic conserved their energy for Zenit, Saints departed with an unanticipated bonus in their battle to clear the relegation zone.
In contrast to last season’s inexorable progress to a clean sweep of the domestic honours, Celtic have had to break step during this campaign and did so again in a game which saw St Johnstone – not for the first time in recent seasons under Tommy Wright – leave the east end of Glasgow with reward to show for their efforts. The outcome of a goalless contest was, nevertheless, a reminder that championships can be acquired in diverse fashions. Celtic shed two points yet found themselves better off than they had been before the weekend because, yet again, the nearest contenders were unable to muster the victories that would have put at least a nominal degree of pressure on them. When Celtic lost at Kilmarnock at the start of the month Rangers lost at home to Hibernian. On Saturday, Aberdeen had the opportunity to move to within five points of the leaders, a prospect which evaporated when they were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Hibs at Easter Road. The upshot is that Celtic, despite failing to score at home in a league fixture for only the second time under Brendan Rodgers, are now nine points clear of Rangers, who overtook Aberdeen on goal difference with their 5-3 win at Hamilton. If Celtic are not invincible in Scotland, as they were last season, their horizons have expanded to include the possibility of Europa League football in the last 16 of the competition next month. History has demonstrated that expeditions to Russia are notoriously hazardous but Rodgers exercised the opportunity to harbour his resources ahead of Thursday’s return leg meeting with Zenit in St Petersburg, where Celtic will attempt to capitalise on the 1-0 lead posted at home in the first instalment. Celtic made no fewer than seven changes from the Europa League match, with only Dorus de Vries, Kris Ajer, Callum McGregor and Eboue Kouassi retained for the visit of a St Johnstone side coming off the back of three successive defeats. McGregor and Kouassi, though, were switched from advanced midfield positions to fill the holding roles usually taken by Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown. Tom Rogic was back in action Credit: PA The use of squad players was notable at full-back, where Cristiam Gamboa and Calvin Miller were summoned from the fringes of the squad. One particularly heartening inclusion was that of Tom Rogic, back on his familiar beat behind the front three for the first time since the 1-0 home defeat by Anderlecht in the Champions League, after which he sustained a disruptive knee injury. The Australian looked entirely comfortable during an opening spell of almost complete Celtic dominance when, for 10 minutes, Saints could scarcely get a touch on the ball. For all their command of possession, though, the Hoops managed only a single attempt on target, when Ajer met a free kick from the right with a header that was parried by Alan Mannus and nodded clear by Steve Anderson. To the audible frustration of the home support, the visitors began to break out of the quarantine zone around their own penalty area and fashioned a series of alarms at the other end of the field. This switch was signalled by a cross from David Wotherspoon headed narrowly over by Blair Alston, followed immediately by a free kick touched by Wotherspoon to Richard Foster, whose drive from the edge of the box swept just high of the crossbar. St Johnstone came close on two more occasions, with another Wotherspoon delivery that squirmed narrowly past the post and then an Alston delivery pitched fractionally too high. The second half simply extended the pattern of the first and, as the proceedings wore on, Rodgers attempted to break the deadlock from the bench in the form of Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele. St Johnstone’s response was to replace George Williams with Matty Willock and the on-loan Manchester United midfielder might have put his team in front when he burrowed behind the Hoops defence had he chosen to shoot rather than cut back to Steven MacLean. As it was, while Celtic conserved their energy for Zenit, Saints departed with an unanticipated bonus in their battle to clear the relegation zone.
Celtic 0 St Johnstone 0: Brendan Rodgers keeps Europa League in mind as much-changed side go nine points clear
In contrast to last season’s inexorable progress to a clean sweep of the domestic honours, Celtic have had to break step during this campaign and did so again in a game which saw St Johnstone – not for the first time in recent seasons under Tommy Wright – leave the east end of Glasgow with reward to show for their efforts. The outcome of a goalless contest was, nevertheless, a reminder that championships can be acquired in diverse fashions. Celtic shed two points yet found themselves better off than they had been before the weekend because, yet again, the nearest contenders were unable to muster the victories that would have put at least a nominal degree of pressure on them. When Celtic lost at Kilmarnock at the start of the month Rangers lost at home to Hibernian. On Saturday, Aberdeen had the opportunity to move to within five points of the leaders, a prospect which evaporated when they were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Hibs at Easter Road. The upshot is that Celtic, despite failing to score at home in a league fixture for only the second time under Brendan Rodgers, are now nine points clear of Rangers, who overtook Aberdeen on goal difference with their 5-3 win at Hamilton. If Celtic are not invincible in Scotland, as they were last season, their horizons have expanded to include the possibility of Europa League football in the last 16 of the competition next month. History has demonstrated that expeditions to Russia are notoriously hazardous but Rodgers exercised the opportunity to harbour his resources ahead of Thursday’s return leg meeting with Zenit in St Petersburg, where Celtic will attempt to capitalise on the 1-0 lead posted at home in the first instalment. Celtic made no fewer than seven changes from the Europa League match, with only Dorus de Vries, Kris Ajer, Callum McGregor and Eboue Kouassi retained for the visit of a St Johnstone side coming off the back of three successive defeats. McGregor and Kouassi, though, were switched from advanced midfield positions to fill the holding roles usually taken by Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown. Tom Rogic was back in action Credit: PA The use of squad players was notable at full-back, where Cristiam Gamboa and Calvin Miller were summoned from the fringes of the squad. One particularly heartening inclusion was that of Tom Rogic, back on his familiar beat behind the front three for the first time since the 1-0 home defeat by Anderlecht in the Champions League, after which he sustained a disruptive knee injury. The Australian looked entirely comfortable during an opening spell of almost complete Celtic dominance when, for 10 minutes, Saints could scarcely get a touch on the ball. For all their command of possession, though, the Hoops managed only a single attempt on target, when Ajer met a free kick from the right with a header that was parried by Alan Mannus and nodded clear by Steve Anderson. To the audible frustration of the home support, the visitors began to break out of the quarantine zone around their own penalty area and fashioned a series of alarms at the other end of the field. This switch was signalled by a cross from David Wotherspoon headed narrowly over by Blair Alston, followed immediately by a free kick touched by Wotherspoon to Richard Foster, whose drive from the edge of the box swept just high of the crossbar. St Johnstone came close on two more occasions, with another Wotherspoon delivery that squirmed narrowly past the post and then an Alston delivery pitched fractionally too high. The second half simply extended the pattern of the first and, as the proceedings wore on, Rodgers attempted to break the deadlock from the bench in the form of Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele. St Johnstone’s response was to replace George Williams with Matty Willock and the on-loan Manchester United midfielder might have put his team in front when he burrowed behind the Hoops defence had he chosen to shoot rather than cut back to Steven MacLean. As it was, while Celtic conserved their energy for Zenit, Saints departed with an unanticipated bonus in their battle to clear the relegation zone.
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backs calls for Scotland to remain at Hampden Park
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backs calls for Scotland to remain at Hampden Park
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backs calls for Scotland to remain at Hampden Park
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205