Spanish club Sevilla host Premier League heavyweights Manchester United in the first-leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. The Andalusian outfit had a struggle following the dismissal of Eduardo Berizzo in December, but they have got their season back on track of late with successive league victories over Leganes and Girona.
On the contrary, Jose Mourinho’s men have lost two of their previous three Premier League outings, but they will have been boosted by the 2-0 away triumph over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup fifth round last weekend.
Following the run of results, Sevilla are six points behind the final Champions League spot occupied by Real Madrid, who have an extra game in hand. United, on the other hand, are placed second in their respective standings, though only four points separate them from fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Players to watch for:
Wissam Ben Yedder – Sevilla: The Frenchman has been the leading scorer for Sevilla with 15 goals in all competitions. Out of those, six have come in as many games in the Champions League including a stunning brace in the 3-3 comeback draw versus Liverpool, where they were 3-0 down at the break. The 27-year-old tends to favour the big occasion to find the scoresheet, and he has an impressive shot accuracy with nearly 65 per cent of his attempts on target, after 28 games into the campaign.
Juan Mata – Manchester United: Probably the unsung hero of the Red Devils side. The Spain international was being tipped to be benched shortly after Alexis Sanchez’s arrival last month, but he has rather earned his place with a couple of influential performances. The ex-Chelsea man has assisted two of the previous three goals, the club have scored in all competitions, and his link-up play with Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku could provide the breakthrough against a rather leaky Sevilla backline.
United’s recent form has been average, but Sevilla have not been at their best either.
Sevilla 1-3 Manchester United
Image – Getty