Alamy Stock Photo Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag.

Chaos and catastrophe combine for a night of dire consequence for Erik ten Hag

Lisandro Martinez’s season looks to be over while Raphael Varane also had to be withdrawn because of injury.

CHAOS AND CATASTROPHE combined on a night of despair for Manchester United and manager Erik ten Hag.

Not only did they blow a 2-0 lead to Seville in the final 10 minutes of a Europa League quarter final tie that they were in complete control of, but they did so by conceding two own goals.

One was shambolic, the other slightly comedic.

But there was nothing funny about the sight of Lisandro Martinez needing to be stretchered off in the seconds between Tyrell Malacia turning into his own net and Youssef En-Nesyri’s wayward header cannoning off the face of Harry Maguire to trickle into the opposite corner.

The Argentina centre back has been crucial to the renewed sense of purpose and confidence at Old Trafford this season but he looked utterly distraught after suffering what looked like a season-ending Achilles injury.

The image of two international teammates from the opposing side, Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna, carrying their heartbroken compatriot to the sideline for treatment was a poignant one.

Not that Seville dallied in compassion for long, striking that crucial equaliser in added time to somehow breathe life into a tie that United should have had wrapped up long before the late drama.

The headaches pile up for Ten Hag.

Not only is he now likely to be without the services of Martinez for the vital run-in, but he also had to withdraw his centre back partner
Raphael Varane during the half-time interval after picking up an injury during the first 45 minutes.

Bruno Fernandes was also shown a harsh yellow card when he closed down a shot and the ball struck his arm from close range – it’s a booking which rules him out of the return leg in Spain.

The madness which ensued late on at Old Trafford was self inflicted, the United manager’s decision to make a triple substitution just after the hour mark seemingly destabilising the flow of what was a dominant display.

Hooking Fernandes among that trio was most crucial, yet United still created chances to add to the first-half double from Marcel Sabitzer.

Antony hit the bar at the end of a sharp counter attack while just moments before Malacia’s own goal, he dallied in possession of the ball inside Seville’s box and struck a tame shot which he really should have done better with.

The Dutchman, filling in for the injured Luke Shaw, then made an even graver error when he allowed a harmless back post cross come all the way through to Jesus Navas, the former Manchester City winger’s pull back then hitting Malacia and flying into the roof of the net.

Martinez’s night came to an end seconds afterwards and there was a complete sense of dysfunction for a United side now down to 10 men.

Some of the challenges already posed to this United team this season have been met by wilted responses.

Humiliations away to Manchester City and Liverpool – results which have spawned a thousand memes – were compounded by a timid defeat to Newcastle United earlier this month.

Sporadic disappointments like that have dampened what has largely been a season of rejuvenation at Old Trafford.

Their hopes remain alive in this competition but it was a night that came at a cost.

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