Man United to meet Villarreal in Europa final; Johnny Sexton left out of Lions squad
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Edinson Cavani scored a brace as Manchester United secured safe passage into the Europa League final. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/Getty/AFP
Manchester United will play Villarreal in the Europa League final, after they beat AS Roma 8-5 on aggregate to progress to the showpiece in Gdansk. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were beaten 3-2 last night at the Stadio Olimipico - Edinson Cavani scoring a brace - but had done more than enough in the first leg to ensure safe passage to Poland. United will meet the Yellow Submarine in the final after they held Arsenal to a goalless draw at the Emirates, with manager Unai Emery knocking his former employers out 2-1 on aggregate. Tonight there is a sole Premier League fixture as Newcastle travel to Leicester (8pm), while in the League of Ireland Derry City host Longford Town and Sligo Rovers travel to Dundalk.
Warren Gatland announced his Lions squad for this summer’s tour to South Africa yesterday, with eight Irish players set to travel - if it goes ahead. Gatland’s Irish eight are Tadhg Furlong, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Iain Henderson, Andrew Porter, Conor Murray, Tadhg Beirne and Jack Conan. However, eye catching absentees include James Ryan, Garry Ringrose and, perhaps most of all, Johnny Sexton. Gerry Thornley writes: “Sexton is still a better Test outhalf than any of Owen Farrell, Finn Russell or Dan Biggar. He’s proved this on previous tours and previous Six Nations, and again in the 2021 Six Nations, when having the most minutes, scoring the most points and having the biggest influence at 10. As in 2013 and 2017, the Lions’ chances in the Test series would be better for having him in the team, never mind the squad. His absence weakens them.”