Real Sociedad vs Manchester United – Football Match Report – 3 November 2022

Alejandro Garnacho scored his first Manchester United goal but a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad was not enough to avoid finishing second in their Europa League group and facing a play-off against a side dropping out of the League champions.

United needed to win by a two-goal margin in San Sebastian to restructure the Spanish side at the top of Group E and advance directly to the Europa League knockout stages.

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Instead, they will face a knockout playoff against any of the eight third-placed Champions League group stage runners – Ajax, Barcelona, ​​Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen, FC Salzburg, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sporting CP .

But while Erik ten Hag’s resurgent side failed to deliver the result they had hoped for, there was cause for celebration with a debut goal for their 18-year-old starlet.

“I’m really happy with his performance: he was a threat, he scored a goal and played well defensively. It was a great finish, a great attack and really enjoyable,” Ten Hag said after the game. “You don’t always get what you deserve. In the first game there was a penalty that we didn’t think was a penalty, but today we won.

“There are positives: Garnacho, Donny [van De Beek] back in the team. We scored a good goal, but unfortunately we didn’t score the two we needed.”

On his second start for the club, following his full debut in last week’s win over FC Sheriff, Garnacho gave another glimpse of his promise with a superbly taken 17th-minute goal at the Reala Stadium.

There was also something appropriate in the assist of a man who burst onto the scene at Old Trafford as an 18-year-old almost 20 years ago, before Garnacho was even born, Cristiano Ronaldo .

The 37-year-old, entering his third game in a row, chose Garnacho’s run leaping inside the left flank with a perfectly weighted pass. Garnacho took the ball in his stride before finishing forcefully into the roof of the net at the near post.

The Argentine youngster could have had a second soon after, but this time, clipping his right foot after being found in a similar position, he slipped while shooting and sent his effort over the bar.

Much like in their 1-0 Premier League win over West Ham on Sunday, Man United were grateful to David de Gea for holding on to their lead.

The Spanish goalkeeper made an exceptional double save shortly before half-time, diving deep to put a hand on a diving strike from Andoni Gorosabel before quickly recovering and blocking Pablo Marín’s follow-up effort on the crossbar with his head.

While the scoreline suited the home side, they were the ones with the best chances to score after half-time as they continued to push the men forward.

By contrast, despite needing a goal and even bringing in Harry Maguire as a makeshift striker, the visitors failed to muster a single shot on target in the second half, allowing Real Sociedad to finish top of the goal differential and reach the last 16 by a European. competition for the first time in 20 years.

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