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Casemiro is one card away from a Europa League suspension, giving Erik ten Hag a worry before of Manchester United’s first-leg match against Real Betis.
After defeating Barcelona in the play-off round, the Red Devils will host Manuel Pellegrini’s team at Old Trafford on Thursday for a round-of-16 match.
Casemiro May Be Benched for Real Betis Clash
Former Real Madrid star Casemiro, 30, was important in both legs, but he may miss United’s next match as they resume their European campaign following Sunday’s humiliating 7-0 loss to bitter rivals Liverpool.
Ten Hag is now digging through the wreckage in search of a response from his players, with midfield general Casemiro possibly the most shocking star to underperform at Anfield, as he was deemed “quite awful” by Jamie Carragher.
The Brazil international has already been suspended for four Premier League matches in 2023, first for receiving five yellow cards in the first half of the campaign and then for violent behavior after grabbing Crystal Palace midfielder Will Hughes by the neck in their fixture last month.
Due to the possibility of a third suspension this season, Casemiro could have a much-needed day off on Thursday. But, this would put Ten Hag in jeopardy of missing following stages, such as next Thursday’s second leg, because players are only given a clean slate at the start of the semi-final round.
Real Betis, the underdog going into the clash this evening, are in a considerably worse situation, but manager Manuel Pellegrini is reluctant to rotate due to the impending suspensions.
Betis Also Walking Suspension Tightrope Ahead of Europa League Tie
The defensive trio of German Pezzella, Luiz Filipe, and Aitar Ruibal, as well as former Manchester City and Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, are all one yellow card away from facing one-match suspensions.
Bravo, 39, was benched by his manager for Betis’ final group match to prevent him from missing the first leg of their round-of-16 clash.
The former City and Barcelona goalkeeper is fresh off a clean sheet in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with reigning Spanish and European champions Real Madrid, a result that solidified Seville’s fifth-place league standing.
Pellegrini says he is looking forward to facing off with the Red Devils after three years as the manager of the Lancashire club’s fierce rivals Manchester City.
The 69-year-old has defeated United five times in his coaching career, but he is apprehensive of how Ten Hag and company would respond to Sunday’s thrashing at the hands of Liverpool.
“I don’t think United have ever been hit as hard as this. I don’t know how the team will react,” Pellegrini told the Telegraph newspaper in the UK.
“Whether they’ll go down or come at us with a knife between their teeth,” the Betis boss added.
Real Betis have had a solid season in Spain and find themselves in fifth position in La Liga as the end of the season approaches.
The side are just three points off Real Sociedad in fourth and they will be determined to battle in to the Champions League places for next season.
The side were in action over the weekend when they tied 0-0 with Spanish giants Real Madrid at Benito Villamarin stadium.