Real Betis will need a miracle to stay alive in the Europa League when they welcome Manchester United to the Benito Villamarin Stadium for Thursday's last-16 second leg.
The high-flying Los Verdiblancos came crashing back down to earth after their impressive four-match unbeaten streak was snapped abruptly in a 4-1 thrashing at Old Trafford in last week’s first leg.
Marcus Rashford and Ayoze Perez cancelled each other out in the first half, but the Red Devils upped the ante in the second period as goals from Antony, Bruno Fernandes, and Wout Weghorst ensured they hold a sizable goal buffer heading into the second leg.
The resounding victory meant Erik ten Hag’s men have one foot in the quarter-final. Despite being in a very healthy position, it feels unlikely Erik ten Hag will allow his side to rest on their laurels, especially after their underwhelming recent form in the domestic league.
They remain third in the Premier League, but the humiliating 7-0 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool, followed by a goalless draw with Southampton at Old Trafford on Sunday, has put some question marks on their domestic form.
Of course, that is compounded by the fact that they are now going to miss key midfielder Casemiro through a four-match ban for receiving a red card for the second time in the same Premier League campaign over the weekend.
Moreover, Betis are a tricky opponent and gave a good account of themselves in the first half last week. Currently, they sit fifth in La Liga and their last domestic encounter saw them take a point at Villarreal at the weekend.
With their fine form in La Liga this season, they are inching ever-closer to a first appearance in the Champions League next season, although it feels unlikely it will come via winning Europe’s second-tier competition.
But then again, stranger things have happened in football my friend, and teams have come back from more than three goals down on rare freak days.
Real Betis vs Manchester United confirmed line-ups
Real Betis XI (4-2-3-1): Silva; Sabaly, Pezzella, Gonzalez, Abner; Carvalho, Rodriguez; Ruibal, Joaquin, Juanmi; Perez
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Malacia; Fred, Casemiro; Pellistri, Bruno, Rashford; Weghorst
Real Betis vs Manchester United LIVE updates
Manchester United's upcoming fixtures
The Red Devils face Fulham next in the FA Cup quarter-final clash at Old Trafford over the weekend in what will be their final game before the international break.
Erik ten Hag's side will return to action on 2nd April with a tricky away trip to the North-East as they face fellow top-four hopefuls Newcastle United, with the Magpies still bitter and seeking revenge for their EFL Cup final defeat last month.