Old Trafford witnessed history on Tuesday evening as the Andalusians chose a timely moment to secure their first ever win on English soil.
Wissam Ben Yedder came off the bench to score a match-winning brace as Sevilla triumphed 2-1 in the second leg of the last-16 tie, seeing them comfortably through given the first leg ended all square.
United could have few complaints about their exit given a lacklustre display that even surprised the visitors, who feared their best chance of reaching the quarter-finals had passed after a goalless first leg in Spain.
“That’s what I thought because I think we played well at home, but we didn’t score that goal, so we knew it was going to be very hard here at this stadium,” former Blackburn and Stoke midfielder N’Zonzi said.
Number 9⃣ @WissBenYedder comes off the bench ➡
5⃣ minutes later history is made pic.twitter.com/P4VSVDWTFS
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) March 14, 2018
“But at the end, in football anything can happen and we proved it, so that’s great.
“Even myself, I thought they were going to press a little bit more, but the first 20 minutes we saw that we could keep the ball, we could play our possession game the way we like and we just kept going until the end.”
N’Zonzi said Sevilla performed strongly defensive and the twice capped French international said his team did a great job nullifying United, allowing them to dream ahead of Friday’s quarter-final draw.
“Anything is possible,” he told beIN SPORTS. “That’s football. Just two games, so in two games you can beat anyone.
“We know that it’s hard, it’s always hard against those big teams, but we proved that anything can happen in football.”
Listless, dire and abject all aptly the performance produced by Jose Mourinho‘s side at a packed Old Trafford on Tuesday.
David De Gea was the hero of a goalless first leg, but it was Sevilla substitute Wissam Ben Yedder making the headlines this time, hitting a quickfire double to render Romelu Lukaku‘s late goal pointless as the visitors secured a famous 2-1 win in the last 16.
United’s players were deservedly jeered off the pitch but have no time to wallow in self-pity given Brighton arrive on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – their last chance of silverware this season.
“Of course (it is difficult to take),” defensive midfielder Matic said. “We are not happy because we are out of the Champions League.
“But this is football, we have to accept it and to focus on the next game, which is very important also for us, in the FA Cup.
“We focus also for the league, but we have to say congratulations to the team, Sevilla.
“They played really well, and they deserved to go through.”
United’s display lacked the attributes that saw them beat bitter rivals Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday.
Mourinho’s men dug deep to edge that Premier League encounter, but Matic refused to use those exertions as a way to explain Tuesday’s lacklustre display against Sevilla.
“There is no excuse,” the defensive midfielder said. “There is no excuse.
“We had a big game, as you know, against Liverpool. We won.
“With high confidence we come to play this game, but today they played better than us and they deserved (to win).”
All eyes will be on Old Trafford on Saturday evening to see how United respond to this embarrassing setback.
Anything but victory against Brighton will send shockwaves around the club and Matic knows they owe supporters a response.
“We have to be focused on that because they’re a good team and we have to win,” the 29-year-old said.
“We have to go with everything to try to go through.
“We know that our supporters are sad because of this result.
“We are also sad, and we have to win to go back to winning ways, so I hope that the team reaction is going to be good.
“We have to forget this. We have to see our mistakes, to see what we have to do better and on Saturday is a new game.
“Life goes on and this is football, we have to accept that.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
After the 31-year-old’s proposed move to Chelsea fell through in the winter transfer window, Dzeko helped the balance sheet of the club’s US owner James Pallotta by securing Roma’s place in the last eight of Europe’s lucrative elite competition.
“I didn’t want to go in January because I want to play these kind of games,” explained Dzeko after his 52nd-minute goal clinched a place in the last eight after a 2-1 first-leg loss in Ukraine amid scenes of euphoria in the Stadio Olympico.
Cengiz Under’s goal in the first leg last month ultimately proved crucial for Roma, but Dzeko was the hero on the night and also proved instrumental in Shakhtar defender Ivan Ordets being shown a straight red card with 12 minutes left.
“We managed to do something that had been missing for 10 years,” said Dzeko. “Going forward and playing with big teams is a pride for all of us.”
Dzeko proved to be a leader on the pitch with coach Eusebio Di Francesco giving him a standing ovation at the end.
“It is not for me, but for everyone, we are deservedly in the quarter-finals,” said the Bosnian after his fourth Champions League goal, and 18th in total for the club this season.
“Dzeko is our diamond,” said Italian defender Alessandro Florenzi.
“It’s my first Champions League quarter-final, so it’s a euphoric moment,” added Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan as Roma qualified for a third quarter-finals of the modern Champions League.
“It’s really satisfying for me because I think we saw a team being born this evening,” said Di Francesco. “We played a team game, a man’s match. We didn’t give them anything.”
After Italy’s shock failure to qualify for the World Cup, Roma’s progress to the last eight along with Juventus is a boost for the country.
Juventus have reached two finals in the last three seasons. The last Italian club to win the title was Inter Milan under Jose Mourinho in 2010.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 13, 2018
“There aren’t any teams I want to avoid,” continued Di Francesco looking ahead to Friday’s draw. “Roma must not fear anyone. I want to continue to dream with this team.”
There will also be at least three Italian coaches in the quarter-finals – Di Francesco, Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus and Vincenzo Montella of Sevilla.
“I spoke a few days ago with Montella. We said we’d meet in the final,” said the Roma coach.
“Joking aside, whatever the team we meet they will be welcome. In the meanwhile we’ll prepare for the (Serie A) match against Crotone.”
Provided by AFP Sport