Another difficult week for Saracens ended in a disappointing defeat as the Men in Black were dumped out of the Premiership Rugby Cup by Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Rotimi Segun scored the only try for Saracens in the semi-final clash as Denny Solomona, Will Cliff, Ben Curry and Akker van der Merwe all crossed in a 28-7 win for the Sharks.

Sale will now face Harlequins in the final for the season’s first piece of silverware while Saracens’ hopes of trophy success rest on defending their European Champions Cup crown.

And even that had been thrown into doubt before the first whistle on Friday night after the club admitted fielding an ineligible player in their January win over Racing 92.

Titi Lamositele’s work permit expired the day before their 27-24 triumph at Allianz Park, which booked their place in the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Saracens, who have already been relegated from the Premiership for salary cap breaches, faced a points deduction which could have moved them out of the eighth quarter-final spot.

But an independent disciplinary committee chose to impose a fine of 50,000 euros (£42,000) instead, with half of the fine suspended until the end of the 2020/21 season.

And while fears of being thrown out of Europe were removed during the game on Friday, there was little to cheer about on the pitch as Sale raced into a 21-0 half-time lead.

Solomona, who scored after 76 seconds, Cliff and Curry all dotted down inside the opening quarter before Van der Merwe added a fourth after the break to put the result beyond doubt.

Segun grabbed a consolation for the visitors but it was not enough to prevent Sale from reaching the final as they bid for their first piece of silverware since 2006.