Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag didn’t appear optimistic about the potentially serious injury to Lisandro Martinez in the closing stages of his team’s 2-2 draw with Sevilla on Thursday.
Manchester United were leading the match 2-0 and appeared to be heading for a fourth UEFA Europa League semi-final in seven seasons. But two late own goals from Tyrell Malacio and Harry Maguire gave an otherwise poor Sevilla a renewed position in the tie ahead of the second leg in Spain.
To make matters worse, Martinez was sent off and the Premier League side were leading 2-1. By this stage, the Ten Hag had used all five of their allowed substitutions, leaving United to finish the game with 10 men and eventually concede a second goal.
Martinez, who has become a firm fan favorite since joining from Ajax last summer, was running with the ball towards the end of the game but suddenly went down without pressure from the opposition – the Argentine worryingly clutching his right foot and ankle.
He immediately appeared to be in some degree of pain and discomfort, and international teammates Gonzalo Montiel and Marcos Acuna carried him off the field rather than wait for a stretcher. Once on the sidelines, a paramedic took a distraught Martinez inside on a stretcher
“We saw Lisandro go out after a while with no opponent involved, so it doesn’t look great,” Ten Hag told BT Sport. “I can’t say [how serious it is] at this point.”
The United boss also confirmed that Raphael Varane’s half-time withdrawal was due to an injury, the full extent of which is not yet known.
The consensus speculation about Martinez, based on the way he went down and seemed to instantly know something was wrong, is that it could be an Achilles problem. The worst case scenario would be an Achilles tendon rupture, a serious injury that usually takes more than six months and sometimes up to a year to fully recover from.
United staff and fans alike will be praying it’s not that serious. However, more information will be available in the coming days after the tests and scans are done.