MX23RW : Wednesday, January 16 04:26:59

Result: David de Gea heroics earn Manchester United draw

Result: De Gea heroics earn Man Utd draw
© Offside
David de Gea pulls off a stunning first-half save to help Manchester United record a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie with Sevilla.

A stunning first-half save from David de Gea has helped Manchester United earn a goalless draw in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Sevilla at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this evening.

Clear chances were few and far between for both sides despite Sevilla registering 25 shots to United's six, but the only one which looked like going in came when Luis Muriel's header was spectacularly tipped over by De Gea.

The Red Devils will now take a slight advantage into the second leg at Old Trafford next month as they look to book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition - something Sevilla have never managed before.

United boss Jose Mourinho omitted Paul Pogba from his starting lineup once again despite the France international having recovered from the illness which kept him out of the weekend win over Huddersfield Town, although that plan lasted only 17 minutes before an injury to Ander Herrera led to Pogba's introduction earlier than expected.

Sevilla had made the brighter start to the match before that, but United soon settled and the hosts were limited to long-range shots from Muriel - who drew the first save from De Gea - and Ever Banega in the opening exchanges.

Former Manchester City man Jesus Navas was the next to threaten from outside the area when he brought the ball forward before drilling a low strike narrowly wide of the far post.

It took until the 25th minute for either side to create the first clear chance, and it fell the way of the visitors when Alexis Sanchez - making his Champions League debut for the club - lofted a ball over for Romelu Lukaku, who had peeled off his man. The Belgian watched the ball all the way onto his foot for the first-time volley, but blazed it well over the crossbar when he should have done better.

Sevilla quickly responded with a chance of their own when Joaquin Correa collected the ball on the left flank and cut inside before producing a tame shot which was gratefully gathered by De Gea shortly before the half-hour mark.

Sergio Rico was finally called into action for the first time in the 38th minute when he made a comfortable stop to deny Scott McTominay's long-range strike, but it was Rico's opposite number at the other end who made all of the headlines in the five minutes leading up to the interval.

The first of De Gea's late first-half saves was a routine one by his standards as he again kept Correa at bay after Antonio Valencia had given the winger too much space, but moments later his reactions were more rigourously tested when he turned Steven N'Zonzi's header over the crossbar.

That stop was impressive enough, but it was completely overshadowed in the first minute of stoppage time when De Gea pulled off what is fast becoming a trademark world-class reaction save to deny Muriel, who should have scored with his header from point-blank range after being left unmarked inside the area.

The referee blew for half time while Sevilla were still trying to work out how De Gea had denied them the lead, but they again saw the majority of possession at the start of the second half.

Franco Vazquez and Muriel both sent long-range drives off target, but clear chances were still few and far between as the hosts struggled to provide a cutting edge.

One of their better openings fell the way of Clement Lenglet when he peeled away from Lukaku to get on the end of a free kick, but his header lacked the power to trouble De Gea.

Correa was consistently Sevilla's most dangerous player on the few occasions he was given the chance to run at Valencia, but after breaking into the box again he skewed his eventual effort well off target.

Sevilla's best chance of the second half arrived with just under 20 minutes left when Muriel stood the ball up at the back post for Pablo Sarabia, who could only loop his header over the crossbar from close range.

Both teams enjoyed sights of goal in the final 10 minutes as Muriel was again denied by De Gea and Sandro Ramirez saw an effort blocked from inside the area, before Marcus Rashford twice fired off target for the visitors.

However, neither side could find the breakthrough as the score remained goalless at the halfway stage of the tie, leaving Sevilla needing either a win or a score draw to progress in normal time at Old Trafford on March 13.

SEVILLA (4-2-3-1): Sergio Rico; Jesus Navas, Mercado, Lenglet, Escudero; Banega (Pizarro, 89'), N'Zonzi, Sarabia, Vazquez, Correa; Muriel (Sandro, 85')

MAN UTD (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young; Herrera (Pogba, 17'), Matic, McTominay; Mata (Martial, 80'), Lukaku, Sanchez (Rashford, 75')

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Paul Pogba in action during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Leicester City on August 26, 2017
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