Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea (right) makes his trademark wonder save to keep out Luis Muriel’s header. PHOTO|DAILY MIRROR
Manchester United had goalkeeper David De Gea’s heroics to thank as the English side survived a vicious onslaught to hold Sevilla to a 0-0 draw in their UEFA Champions League first leg match played on Wednesday at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Spain.
The pre-match talk was dominated by United manager Jose Mourinho’s bold decision to select 21-year-old Scott McTominay in midfield over record signing Paul Pogba who had to make do with a place on the bench. As expected, Sevilla, roared by the electrifying home crowd dominated possession but could not slice the United defence open.
Pogba was eventually given the nod after just 16 minutes following what Ander Herrera appeared have suffered a muscle strain. The home side carved out the best chance of the match at the stroke of halftime when a pin point cross from the right by Jesus Navas was met by Luis Muriel’s bullish header from point range only to be denied by an acrobatic save by the United shot stopper. The Spaniard in the process kept his 20th clean sheet of the season to equal his previous best in a United shirt.
Romelu Lukaku, who was an isolated figure upfront had put the ball into the back of the net in the 83rd minute but it was cancelled as he was adjudged to have handled the ball in the build up.
The Red Devils put in a better defensive shift in the second half but struggled to possess a serious threat going forward. Mourinho will be the happier of the two managers going into the second leg at Old Trafford in a fortnight.
In the other last 16 clash, Fred scored the winner in the 71st minute as Shakhtar Donetsk came from a goal down to pip Roma 2-1. Cengiz Under had given the Italian side the lead in the 41st minute before Facundo Ferreyra restored parity seven minutes after the restart. There is still all to play for in the return legset for Rome.
Seville (Spain) 0 Manchester United (England) 0
Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) 2 Roma (Italy) 1