Manchester United beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Thursday in a result that means the Red Devils finish second in their Europa League group.
United needed to win by two goals, but couldn’t manage to add that vital second strike after Alejandro Garnacho scored on the break for the visitors in the first half. It was a quiet opening to the game with Garnacho’s goal the only shot on target in the first 37 minutes. But it was a moment the young winger will never forget, as he netted his maiden senior goal on just his second United start.
In the 17th minute, Garnacho picked up the ball up on the left wing after a fantastic through ball from Cristiano Ronaldo that split the Sociedad backline. United’s No.49 then advanced and shifted the ball onto his left foot before blasting into the back of the net.
What was a quiet half ended with Ronaldo chipping the ball onto the roof of the net as a one-on-one chance presented itself with Alex Remiro, although the Sociedad goalkeeper flying out of his net may have impacted the Portugal striker’s shot.
In the final embers of the opening 45 minutes, David de Gea pulled off an excellent double save - first denying a strike from Andoni Gorosabel, before reacting quickly to smother the space for Pablo Marin as he followed up, with the subsequent shot actually coming off De Gea’s head and bouncing out for a corner.
United looked dangerous in the opening 45 minutes but a tactical change that saw Erik ten Hag’s men switch to back three meant they looked less threatening after the break. Sociedad were the better side in the second period and looked dangerous in possession.
However, the hosts didn’t manage many shots and their best efforts came from Ander Guevara’s shot which was saved by Dea, while Alexander Sorloth fired an effort wide. As for United, they failed to create any shot of target in the second half, despite throwing the kitchen sink at it in the latter stages.
The game ended 1-0, a result that sees Sociedad top the group and means United will play a two-legged qualifier against a Champions League drop-out to progress to the last-16 stage of the Europa League. Here’s how we rated the players…