Manchester United blew a two-goal lead in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinal as Sevilla scored twice in the final six minutes, forcing a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag’s team looked in control of their Europa League destiny thanks to two goals from Marcel Sabitzer in the opening 20 minutes, but late own goals from Tyrell Malacia and substitute Harry Maguire mean Man United have work to do in Spain next week to book a place in the semifinals.

United’s night was also marred by injuries to defenders Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, with the Argentinian stretched off in the second half with an apparent foot injury.

Rapid reaction

1. A bad night for Man United makes a difficult Europa League path

With Man United in control for so long, there will have been some United fans checking the score of the game between Juventus and Sporting Lisbon to see where they would be heading for the semifinals. That was until Sevilla scored twice in the final six minutes to put United on the back foot ahead of the second leg in Spain next week.

Sevilla are only five points clear of the relegation places in LaLiga and, for most of the night, Man United imposed themselves with the dominant performance most expected. Sabitzer scored twice during a blistering opening 20 minutes, but the third goal to kill off the tie never came.

Sevilla were able to battle back — almost out of nothing — thanks to two own goals, first from Malacia and then Maguire. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ten Hag was also forced to substituted Varane at half-time and watched his centre-back partner Martinez stretchered off after sustaining a foot injury.

To make matters worse, Bruno Fernandes won’t be available for the return leg in Spain after picking up a booking that will rule him out through suspension.

It should have been a comfortable night for United but instead they will be made to work for their place in the semifinals.

2. Sabitzer making strong case to stay

United wouldn’t have signed Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich in January had Christian Eriksen not suffered a nasty ankle injury — but the Austrian midfielder looks determined to stay. There’s no permanent option in the agreement with Bayern so, as things stand, Sabitzer is set to return to Germany at the end of the season. But a couple more performances like this and he has every chance of extending his stay at Old Trafford.

Playing in a more advanced role against Sevilla with Fernandes closer to Casemiro, Sabitzer scored twice inside the first 20 minutes — both times running beyond the Sevilla defence to get on the end of passes from midfielder, first from Fernandes and then from Anthony Martial.

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Midfield is one of the areas where United are looking to strengthen in the summer, and the club retain an interest in Frenkie De Jong while also monitoring Jude Bellingham’s situation at Borussia Dortmund. Sabitzer, though, is a far cheaper option and Ten Hag has the advantage of already knowing that he can sit into his system.

Sabitzer’s versatility is also a bonus, showing against Sevilla that he’s comfortable in the No. 10 role behind the striker as much as he is at No. 8 or No. 6.

3. Martial fills the void left by Rashford injury

It’s a blow for Ten Hag that Marcus Rashford is set for a spell on the sidelines after scoring nearly a third of United’s goals this season, but it won’t be half as bad is Martial can stay fit.

The Frenchman has been good when he’s played — he just hasn’t been available for enough of the season. His start against Sevilla — where he spent the second half of last season on loan — was just his 10th of a season plagued by injury. It was also Martial’s first start in three months.

But Ten Hag is a fan of what Martial brings and, in the absence of Rashford, he showed why.

Martial was involved in Sabitzer’s first goal, working the ball back into midfield from a tight space on the right, and then set up the second with a perfectly-weighted pass through Sevilla’s defence.

Martial is in Ten Hag’s strongest XI and the Dutchman said this week that United have played their best football when he’s been fit and available. It bodes well ahead of a crucial run-in, during which Martial might have to play a key role while Rashford recovers. He was good against Sevilla, but the biggest plus was that he was able to play 60 minutes and come through unscathed.

Martial’s performance was a plus for Ten Hag, but Sevilla’s two late goals have taken the shine off any positives.

Best and worst performers

Best: Marcel Sabitzer, Manchester United

Started as the advanced midfielder and scored twice in the first 20 minutes.

Best: Anthony Martial, Manchester United

Starting a game for the first time in three months, he was involved in both Sabitzer’s early goals.

Best: Casemiro, Manchester United

Back in the team after suspension and looked as composed as ever.

Worst: Erik Lamela, Sevilla

The ex-Tottenham man was lucky not to get a red card for a late challenge on Casemiro.

Worst: Fernando, Sevilla

The 35-year-old former Manchester City midfielder was meant to be looking after Sabitzer and it didn’t go well.

Worst: Tyrell Malacia, Manchester United

Wasn’t having a great game in place of Luke Shaw at left-back and was then culpable for Sevilla’s late goal.

Highlights and notable moments

Manchester United were pinging the ball around with purpose before finding Marcel Sabitzer in the 14th minute. The midfielder turned and finish with a nicely placed shot to loft over Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.

Sabitzer wasn’t done there.

Seven minutes later, he doubled Man United’s lead with another well-taken shot to beat the on-rushing Bounou.

If the first half was all Manchester United, the second half was a decidedly different affair.

The match really turned on its head in the 84th minute, when Manchester United defender Tyrella Malacia accidentally redirected a Jesús Navas cross into goal, bringing Sevilla within one.

Another own goal wiped out Manchester United’s lead.

Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri got his head on a cross, but he only directed it as far as the head of Harry Maguire, who knew nothing about it. The ball bounced off Maguire’s head and past Man United goalkeeper David de Gea.

After the match: What the managers and players said

Post-match quotes will appear here when available. Please check back shortly…

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)

  • Harry Maguire: Each of the last two times he has scored a goal, it has been on his own net. (He scored an own goal in March 2022 vs. Tottenham in the Premier League.)

  • Manchester United are the first team to score two own goals in the same Europa League match since Molde against Arsenal in November 2020.

  • Marcel Sabitzer gets his first brace at club level since March 2020. He scored a brace with the Austrian national team this last FIFA window (March 24).

  • Man United were without Marcus Rashford for the first time since word came that the forward will have to miss several games. Rashford’s 17 goals since the World Cup break ended are tied with Karim Benzema for the second-most in all competitions among players from Europe’s top 5 leagues in that span.

Up next

Manchester United: The Red Devils pick up where they left off in the Premier League, facing Nottingham Forest on Sunday, April 16 at 11:30 a.m. ET. Then, Man United head to Sevilla for the second leg of the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday, April 20.

Sevilla: Los Nervionenses continue in LaLiga, visiting Valencia on Sunday, April 16 (stream live on ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET). Then, Sevilla host Man United in the second leg of the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday, April 20.

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Man United’s Europa League at risk