Manchester United faced a tumultuous Europa League quarterfinal first leg match against Sevilla, leaving fans with a mix of emotions. The Red Devils initially appeared to be cruising to victory with two early goals from Marcel Sabitzer. However, the game took a drastic turn as both first-choice center-backs, Raphaël Varane and Licha Martinez, were forced out of the game due to injury. United’s play became apprehensive, and Sevilla capitalized on their weakened defense to score two late own goals, leaving the English giants facing an uphill battle to secure a spot in the semifinals.
While the two late own goals may have changed the complexion of the tie, the loss of Varane and Martinez is a more significant concern. The duo has been essential to United’s defense this season, and their absence creates a potential injury crisis for the team. United manager Erik ten Hag has expressed uncertainty over the severity of their injuries, with Martinez expected to miss the next game and Varane’s condition yet to be determined.
United’s injury problems are compounded by the absence of top scorer Marcus Rashford and captain Bruno Fernandes. The latter received a harsh handball booking and will miss the return leg in Spain next week. With Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Alejandro Garnacho, and Donny van de Beek already sidelined, Ten Hag faces mounting selection issues for the crucial final stages of the campaign. Despite the mounting challenges, the Dutch tactician remained resolute and optimistic about United’s prospects, citing bad luck as the reason for the team’s disappointing performance in the first leg.