Man Utd secure a place in the last 16 with a draw
After a 4-0 defeat in Turin last week, Real Sociedad knew they were climbing an uphill battle in their mission to reach the last 16 of the Europa League.
The Visitor’s were without their star man David Silva who would’ve hoped to experience a Manchester return. His absence didn’t seem an issue for Sociedad, who started bright with their high press being rewarded with a penalty, following a clumsy challenge by Daniel James. However, this wasn’t the start of a comeback they were looking for, with Captain Mikel Oyarzabal failing to hit the target from the spot.
The twelfth minute saw the Spanish side’s continued pressure on the United backline force Victor Lindelof into denying his fellow Swedish international Alexander Isak a tap-in.
United managed to weather the storm and began to get a foothold in the game. The 23rd minute saw United’s talisman Bruno Fernandes see his stunning effort come off the crossbar.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s lineup showed an intent to secure United’s place in the round of 16 and their performance certainly proved this. Alex Remiro was called into action in the closing stages of the first half when a lofted pass by Fernandes found James who couldn’t divert his header past the goalkeeper.
After a goalless first half, Sociedad came out in the second half on the front foot. Alexander Isak, who scored a hat trick in a 4-0 win against Alaves at the weekend, could only find the crossbar with a close range header.
Man United thought they had broken the deadlock in the 62nd minute, when Axel Tuanzebe netted what he thought was his first senior goal, only for VAR to rule it out after a foul in the build up by Lindelof.
A game that ended goalless, resulted in being a historic night with 17 year old academy graduate, Shola Shoretire becoming the youngest player to play for the club in a European Competition.
A routine display from the home side will have all eyes on their mouthwatering Round of 16 fixture with AC Milan.
Henderson (6), Telles (7), Bailly (7), Lindelof (6), Wan Bissaka (6), Fred (7), Matic (6), Greenwood (6), Fernandes (6), James (6), Martial (6)
Subs: Williams (5), Tuanzebe (7), Amad (6), Shoretire (6), Rashford (6)
Remiro (6), Munoz (6), Sagnan (7), Zubeldia (6), Gorosabel (6), Zubimendi (6), Guevara (6), Merino (6), Oyarzabal (5), Isak (6), Januzaj (7)
Subs: Barrenetxea (5), Bautista (6), Portu (6), Merquelanz (6), Guridi (5)
What next for both teams?
After securing qualification into the round of 16, Ole’s reds will now prepare for a huge game in the capital on Sunday versus an in-form Chelsea side who are looking to keep up their unbeaten run under Thomas Tuchel.
For Real Sociedad, they continue their march towards the top four in La Liga with a massive game on Monday night against Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Written by Thomas Barnes