Late drama in the first leg at Old Trafford has left this Europa League quarter-final hanging in the balance.
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Sevilla vs Manchester United predictions
Manchester United did not see that coming.
Heading into the closing stages of the first leg of this quarter-final, Erik ten Hag’s team were in cruise control.
Marcel Sabitzer’s first-half brace had put them in a commanding position on the night, and they looked set to take a two-goal lead to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.
But Sevilla did not give up. They continued to believe and were rewarded when not one but two United players put through their own net late on.
Own goals by Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire – both forced by good attacking play from the Spanish side – levelled the score at 2-2 in dramatic fashion.
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Sevilla will now fancy their chances of completing the job on home turf, as they seek to prolong their love affair with the Europa League.
No team has been as successful in the history of this tournament. Sevilla have lifted the trophy on six occasions, double the amount of any other side.
They will use that to their advantage on Thursday, and United will have to show considerable character and resolve to advance to the semis.
The Red Devils remain the bookies’ favourites to go through to the last four, but this now feels like a 50-50 tie.
Sevilla have picked up under Jose Luis Mendilibar and they will throw everything at United on Thursday. Ten Hag will hope his side is able to stand up to the challenge.
Sevilla vs Manchester United betting tips
After a 2-2 draw in the first leg, there is a decent chance of Sevilla and Manchester United still being level at the end of 90 minutes in Spain.
Draw after 90 minutes – 13/5 (bet365)
The last 18 months have been something of a whirlwind for Sevilla.
At the start of 2022, they were widely seen as Real Madrid’s likeliest challenges in the La Liga title race. They remained second in the standings up until early April, by which time they had lost only two of their first 29 games of the campaign.
A late-season collapse meant the writing was on the wall for Julen Lopetegui, the current Wolverhampton Wanderers boss. He was sacked by Sevilla in October with the club just outside the relegation zone.
Jorge Sampaoli was appointed for a second spell at the Sanchez-Pizjuan, but he proved unable to lift a troubled team away from danger.
After just a month at the helm, Mendilibar has succeeded where his predecessor failed. A 2-0 victory over Valencia at the weekend moved Sevilla eight points clear of the bottom three.
Demotion fears have been vanquished, leaving the kings of the Europa League free to focus on their attempt to win the tournament for a seventh time.
They might be 13th in the La Liga table, but this current Sevilla is a much better team than that position suggests.
In front of a passionate home crowd, they will push United all the way on Thursday, but the Red Devils are good enough to still be alive after 90 minutes.
Sevilla to score first – 7/5 (bet365)
After their two late goals in England, it feels like the momentum in this tie lies with Sevilla.
For all their struggles this season, the Sanchez-Pizjuan remains a difficult place for opposition teams to go.
Sevilla made light work of PSV and Fenerbahce in the home legs of their previous Europa League ties this term.
Mendilibar’s side will look to feed off the atmosphere, particularly in the early stages. United will probably have to ride out a storm in the first 20 minutes or so.
Once the game settles into more of a rhythm, the Red Devils will expect their superior individual quality to be decisive.
But Sevilla are capable of putting any team under heavy pressure on home turf, and United may well fall behind on Thursday night.
Antony to score any time – 11/4 (bet365)
Antony has received his fair share of criticism this season. Signed from Ajax for an initial fee of £82m, the Brazilian has taken a while to adapt to English football, despite being a regular in Ten Hag’s XI.
There has been no shortage of tricks and flicks, but most supporters expected a better return than four goals and one assist in the Premier League at this stage of the campaign.
However, Antony’s performances over the last few weeks have been much improved. His upturn culminated in Sunday’s showing at the City Ground, where the 23-year-old scored one goal and set up another as United beat Nottingham Forest 2-0.
At an attractive price of 11/4, he would be an astute pick to find the back of the net against Sevilla.
Marcus Rashford reportedly has a chance of being fit for Thursday’s match, but it would be a surprise if the England international started.
The likes of Antony will therefore be relied upon to produce the goods in the final third, just as he did against Forest last time out.
The Brazilian is still pretty raw and unpolished for his age, but his talent is not in question and his recent form has been promising.
How to watch Sevilla vs Manchester United
- Location: Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, Seville, Spain.
- Date and time: Thursday 20 April 2023, 8pm.
- How to watch: BT Sport 1.
Greg Lea is a freelance football writer from London. He predominantly covers the Premier League and has had work published by the Guardian, FourFourTwo, ESPN and others.
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