Match Report: United 1-3 Sevilla

United lined up with a stronger team than expected but unfortunately there wasn’t a former player in sight as there has been with other testimonials. Notably David Beckham and Nicky Butt at Gary Neville’s have made appearances in previous years.

The stage was set from the fans with a tribute to Rio in the lower tier of the Sir Alex Ferguson stand. The party atmosphere was tangible and everyone expected to see some exhibition football. As stated in the preview there wasn’t much expectancy for a high standard of football. It seems United got the memo but Sevilla were there to spoil the party.

Right from the off Sevilla started the match like it was a competitive one, despite only playing in a Europa League qualifier the night before. Rio Ferdinand was leading by example blocking shots in the early onslaught and heading out for corner. The first real chance fell to United against the run of play. Adnan Januzaj played a precise through ball to Henriquez who hit it straight at the keeper first time. The striker had time to take a touch and maybe could have done better, however the whole United team were playing in a casual manner, and this shot set the tone for the rest of the first half performance.

The goal that had been coming came in the 21st minute by Perotti. The goal scorer started the move with a lovely one two in the middle of the pitch, when he received the ball back in on goal he calmly finished past the onrushing De Gea with the outside of his foot. Old Trafford seem to murmur in concern of our lacklustre defending. Sevilla were clearly up for it and United needed to up the tempo. However, the 2nd goal only game 4 minutes after with United still in shock from the first goal. Sevilla were dominating the match in all areas by now. Marko Marin, on loan from Chelsea, ran through the middle of the park unopposed. Again a simple give and go was played and when Marin received the ball in the area he had a tap in to finish.

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Marin continued to torment United and we simply couldn’t get hold of the ball. He almost scored from the edge of the area with a low drive and then made a mazy run through the United defence and got a shot away. De Gea made a fantastic save getting down well and palming the ball up and onto the crossbar. It’s quite sickening to see a player of that quality as being surplus to requirements at Chelsea when we are crying out for a central midfielder, judging by his performance last night he could easily get games in our squad. United did have two good chances before the break, firstly Kagawa powered a free header straight at the keeper from a Valencia cross that he should have buried. Then Valencia himself wasted a golden chance after taking down Andersons cross well with his right. Valencia cut inside past two defenders but leant back and blasted over his left footed shot.

United started the better half looking as if Moyes had told them to get their act together. Regardless of the occasion it so far wasn’t a Manchester United performance. Anderson and Junuzaj were United’s best players, the two combining after a good run from Anderson resulted in Januzaj beating his man and shooting over the bar. A deserved goal came in the 65th minute with Januzaj playing provider after some fantastic football. Firstly he lost a player and forced the keeper into a save. Januzaj collected the rebound, left the right back in his wake for pace and squared from the by-line for Valencia to score. The Ecuadorian has had a tough week with the death of his ‘hermano’, Christian Benitez, and pointed into the sky as a tribute to his self-acclaimed brother.

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A host of substitutes came not long after the goal with United pushing for the equaliser. Carrick had an instant impact picking out passes from the centre of the park, the best of which went out wide to Fabio who played a great ball along the floor only for Lingard to miss by inches with an outstretched leg. United were really rallying at this point with Carrick and Januzaj  running the show. Sevilla were shaken and it took a last ditch block to stop Alex Buttners drive and a fantastic save to deny Michael Carrick a deserved goal. However, despite all Uniteds’ pressure upfront they were still fragile at the back, Sevilla missed a sitter with the striker slicing the ball wide from 4 yards out.

Ferdinand eventually bowed out on the 81st minute to much applause. Considering it was his testimonial he did not look happy, what you can expect from a man who is a winner and is used to playing in games where United are the dominant team. Zaha had the last decent chance for United. He used his skill to cut past too players in the middle of the park and unleashed a low drive that sneaked just wide of the post. To rub salt in Rios wounds Sevilla grabbed another in stoppage time. Chris Smalling was at fault not keeping the defensive line, this left a seemingly offside Robeo with plenty of time to turn and sweep the ball past DeGea with a lovely finish.

The cameras cut to Rio who was on the bench looking visibly angered and shouting towards Smalling for his mistake. Overall it wasn’t a result or performance that any United fan would have imagined before the game. This can partly be attributed to Sevilla’s fantastic first half performance, that in my opinion caught United off guard. When they came to life in the second half United played much better and had enough chances to at least finish the game level. Sadly Uniteds’ sloppy defending made the scoreline look a lot worse that the performance was.  I would say on the balance of things Sevilla just edged it.

Man of the Match: Marko Marin (Sevilla)

About Jay Jones 25 Articles
I am a life long United fan, loving and following everything red. I've recently joined the OTF team writing match previews and reports. This is a hobby i have taken up which i thoroughly enjoy.

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