De Gea stars as Man U hold Sevilla
SEVILLE, Spain (AP):
The Sevilla crowd was ready to erupt when forward Luis Muriel appeared free from markers inside the area, with the ball in perfect position for his header just a few metres from the goal.
From that spot, there was surely nothing Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea could do to keep the hosts from opening the scoring.
Only, there was.
De Gea came up with a spectacular one-handed reflex stop, quickly stretching out his right arm to parry the ball over the crossbar and stun both Muriel and the local fans.
It was the highlight of another solid performance by De Gea, and it helped United hold Sevilla to a 0-0 draw in their first-leg match in the last 16 of the Champions League yesterday.
"It was in the last minute of the first half, so it was an important moment of the game," De Gea said. "I made a save and I'm happy for that."
Muriel had nobody close to him when he jumped near the six-metre line, but his firm header wasn't placed far enough from De Gea and the goalkeeper made him pay.
In disbelief, the Colombian forward embraced the left post and closed his eyes for a few moments.
"I lament that missed chance," Muriel said. "I could have gone for the corner, but I decided to strike it harder instead of placing it. De Gea is a great goalkeeper and made a great save."
A few moments before Muriel's header, De Gea had already been forced to tip a header by Steven N'Zonzi over the crossbar. He also stopped a long-range shot by Muriel by making a difficult diving save close to the ground.
The scoreless result left the tie open heading into next month's second leg in Manchester, when Sevilla will be trying to make it to the quarter-finals for the first time and United will look to return to the last eight after three seasons.
In the night's other game, Shakhtar Donetsk came from a goal down to beat Roma 2-1 after midfielder Fred netted the winner with a perfect free kick in the 71st minute.