COLOGNE – Manchester United made it an unwanted hat trick of semifinal defeats this season after losing 2-1 in the Europa League to Sevilla on Sunday.
After losing in the last four of the FA Cup and EFL Cup, United failed to convert a string of chances before Luuk de Jong scored the winning goal for Europa League experts Sevilla.
The Spanish club has won all five of the finals it's reached in Europe's second-level cup competition. Sevilla has the chance to win a record-extending sixth title on Friday in Cologne when its opposition will be either Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk, who play Monday.
United will look to the new English Premier League season next month after a marathon coronavirus-extended campaign which saw defender Harry Maguire play 55 games.
“We deserved to go through but ultimately we fell short at the semifinal stage, for the third time this season,” Maguire told BT Sport. “It means a lot to us, the boys are devastated. We have a good group of lads who know what it means to play for this club and losing isn’t acceptable. Getting to semifinals isn’t acceptable and we now have to look at taking it another step.”
United was beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Manchester City in January in a two-leg EFL Cup semifinal and 3-1 by Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinals in July.
Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou kept his team in the semifinal at 1-1 with crucial saves either side of halftime, before de Jong won it.
With the game at 1-1 and heading for extra time, Sevilla substitute de Jong made the breakthrough in the 78th minute. A cross by Jesus Navas fell kindly for the tall Dutch forward to score his first European goal of the season from close range.