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Europa League Team of the Week – Quarter-final first legs

The Europa League’s last eight is poised perfectly after some enthralling first leg action in the competition’s quarter-finals.

Manchester United blew a two-goal lead at home to Sevilla, as the Red Devils scored two own goals to leave the tie in the balance ahead of the return to Spain. There was also a draw between Bayer Leverkusen and Belgian debutants Union Saint-Gilloise, while Feyenoord and Juventus secured slim advantages on home soil.

Following this week’s quarter-final action, we’ve selected our Europa League Team of the Week.

Goalkeeper: Mattia Perin – Juventus

Mattia Perin came off the bench and proved to be the late hero as Juventus edged Sporting Lisbon, with the goalkeeper – introduced after Wojciech Szczęsny suffered discomfort in his chest – producing an incredible double-save in stoppage time to earn his side a 1-0 win.

How relieved the Bianconeri will be to have such a capable back-up in goal, with Perin’s heroics a potentially pivotal moment in this tie as Juventus chase a first success in this competition since 1993.

Right-back: Lutsharel Geertruida – Feyenoord

Feyenoord exacted revenge on Roma for their Europa Conference League final defeat last season, earning a narrow 1-0 win at De Kuip. The result continued the Dutch side’s unbeaten home record in all competitions this season with Lutsharel Geertruida central to the club’s clean sheet.

Geertruida often found himself in advanced areas as Feyenoord looked to put pressure on Roma, with the defender’s use of the ball good as he completed 90% of his passes, completed 5/8 accurate long balls and created one chance. The 22-year-old – who made his debut for the Netherlands last month – is part of an exciting young team at Feyenoord chasing the Eredivisie title and European success.

Centre-back: Federico Gatti – Juventus

Federico Gatti celebrated a memorable moment in his career as the centre-back scrambled home his first goal for Juventus.

Gatti was in the right place at the right time to prod home the winner against Sporting Lisbon, a goal which gives Juventus a narrow lead to protect in Portugal next week. Gatti’s goal was the latest high in remarkable rise for the defender, who was signed from second-tier Frosinone.

The 24-year-old was working as a bricklayer just seven years ago, but has since enjoyed a meteoric rise that has seen him make his Italy debut and score a first European goal for Juventus.

Centre-back: Bremer – Juventus

Bremer provided presence alongside Gatti in the centre of the Juventus backline, with the Brazilian dominant in his duels to ensure a clean sheet in Turin.

He made six clearances, six ball recoveries and brilliantly cleared one goal-bound effort, while recording a pass accuracy of 93% with his distribution near faultless. A man-of-the-match performance from the centre-back against Sporting, with Bremer a titan in Turin.

Left-back: Quilindschy Hartman – Feyenoord

Quilindschy Hartman is the second Feyenoord academy graduate to make our team, with the left-back an impressive performer in the club’s 1-0 win over Roma.

The 21-year-old is all action in his role as an attacking option from full-back and won three tackles, three ground duels and made eight ball recoveries against the Italian side. Alongside Geertruida, Justin Bijlow and Orkun Kökçü, Feyenoord have a home produced core pushing their challenge for major trophies this season.

Midfield: Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United

Fernandes’ form continued in a deeper role alongside Casemiro, as Manchester United drew with Sevilla. The Portugal midfielder – who will miss the second leg after picking up a controversial suspension – must have thought his evening’s work was complete after being substituted at 2-0.

Fernandes provided the pass for Marcel Sabitzer to open the scoring for the Red Devils, his 50th assist in all competitions since arriving at Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon in 2021.

Has taken to a deeper role well in recent fixtures and will be a big miss when United travel to Spain for the return next week.

Midfield: Marcel Sabitzer – Manchester United

Marcel Sabitzer is fast becoming a favourite at Manchester United and produced his best performance for the club to date against Sevilla.

The Austria international appeared to be operating as a forward on occasion as burst forward from an advanced role to join the attack, a tactic which paid off as Sabitzer scored twice inside the opening 21 minutes.

His first was an excellent goal as he brilliantly controlled Bruno Fernandes’ pass and fired home via a deflection, before adding a second after being found by Anthony Martial. It was the latest in an encouraging run of performances from the loanee, with the return of Casemiro having freed the midfielder to ghost forward effectively.

A permanent deal might just be up for discussion if the 29-year-old continues in this vein of form.

Right-wing: Lucas Ocampos – Sevilla

Sevilla’s most dangerous threat all evening, Ocampos was a prominent figure as the Spaniards fought back from two goals down to draw at Manchester United.

The Argentine’s pace and power troubled Tyrell Malacia, with Ocampos demonstrating a sheer will to bring his side back into the game at Old Trafford. He led his teammates for touches, tackles, successful take-ons and fouls won, while racking up a huge 16 duels won.

Left-wing: Florian Wirtz – Bayer Leverkusen

A brilliant performance from Bayer Leverkusen’s wunderkind, who has taken no time at all to bounce back from an ACL issue that halted his rapid rise.

Wirtz continued his outstanding form in this season’s Europa League with a casual equaliser against Union Saint-Gilloise, a side-footed finish into the bottom corner from outside the box.

It’s now three goals and two assists in five European appearances this season for the 19-year-old, who has averaged a goal involvement every 91 minutes in the competition.

Forward: Victor Boniface – Union Saint-Gilloise

Victor Boniface continued his impressive campaign in the Europa League with his sixth goal of the tournament so far to earn Union Saint-Gilloise a draw with Bayer Leverkusen. No player has scored more goals than Boniface in the Europa League this season, while it’s 20 goals in all competitions for the Nigerian.

The 22-year-old took his goal in confident fashion with a composed finish into the far corner, as Union Saint-Gilloise earned a result to set up the second leg in Belgium. Karel Geraerts’ side might be outsiders in their first season of continental football since 1965 but, after beating Union Berlin in the last round, are now in a strong position to take a second Bundesliga scalp.

Forward: Anthony Martial – Manchester United

Erik ten Hag said that Manchester United are a better side with Anthony Martial in it this week and the forward impressed on his first start since an injury lay-off.

The Frenchman looked dangerous from the first minute and provided the assist for Marcel Sabitzer’s second goal with a wonderful piece of play. After skipping away from two Sevilla challenges, he weighted a perfect pass in behind for the Austrian to double the Red Devils’ lead.

His return to fitness and sharpness is a welcome boost for United, amid Marcus Rashford’s absence with a groin issue.

Read – Analysing Marcus Rashford’s goal involvements each season since his Man United debut

Read Also – Champions League Team of the Week – Quarter-final first legs

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