Manchester United looked to be cruising to a comfortable quarterfinal first leg victory only to see Sevilla peg them back twice as an entertaining game at Old Trafford ended 2-2.
The hosts took the lead through Marcel Sabitzer who scored a brace in the first-half with United dominating possession and generally looking too good for their Spanish opponents.
Then the second-half happened and for some strange reason, manager Erik ten Hag decided to take off his most potent attackers and that handed the opposition a way back into the tie.
United were in complete control
Comical defending from left-back Tyrell Malacia handed Sevilla their first goal before substitute Harry Maguire scored an unfortunate own goal to allow parity.
Apart from a goal-line clearance from Raphael Varane at the closing stages of the first-half, the Red Devils seemed in absolute control and Ten hag must have asked for more of the same from them.
Antony could have put the game beyond all doubt but saw his curling effort hit the inside of the post and that is when the manager saw enough and decided to rest a few players.
Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes were running the show for United while Jadon Sancho was getting into dangerous positions.
Instead, the Dutch boss brought on an out-of-form Anthony Elanga, struggling Wout Weghorst and Christian Eriksen, who just returned from a long-term injury.
Strange subs, injuries galore
United’s pace on the counter-attack vanished and that allowed Sevilla to venture forward with more purpose and that eventually paid dividends.
Ten Hag, who has normally been a master of substitutions, made yet another poor choice of alternations just like he did against Newcastle in the Premier League a week ago.
Ten Hag’s worries were increased by the injuries suffered on the night by both his central defenders — Varane and Lisandro Martinez.
And judging by both their reactions, it could be long-term ones. Fernandes, who saw an unlucky yellow card, will also be suspended for the second leg.
From an easy win to an uncomfortable return leg, things unraveled fast for United and this time, the manager will also share the blame.
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