United dropped down to the Europa League, having qualified for the Champions League for two consecutive years prior to that. With several new personnel at the club, they were hoping to start their campaign with a win.
The Red Devils will look to win this competition to ensure their return to Europe’s top competition.
Sociedad, on the other hand, qualified for the UEL for the third-straight year by virtue of their final position in La Liga. However, having lost Alexander Isak to Newcastle United over the summer, they were a slightly weaker side than in previous editions. It was bound to be a gripping encounter.
Manchester United made a good start to the game, passing the ball around confidently in the first half. Casemiro, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire all started the game as Erik ten Hag made several changes to his side. Real Sociedad, too, did not back down from the challenge that Old Trafford poses. They created some intricate moves of their own in the opening stages.
The hosts registered four shots with just one on target in the first half as they failed to trouble the scorekeeper. Their visitors made three attempts but failed to hit the target altogether. It was an evenly-matched first period as the hosts kept 54% possession. Ronaldo appeared to have put the hosts ahead late in the half, but his goal was rightly ruled out for offside.
Manchester United looked slightly stronger going forward as they played most of their game in the middle and attacking thirds. However, neither side managed to get on the scoresheet as they went into the break deadlocked at 0-0.
Erik ten Hag made two changes at half-time, bringing Bruno Fernades and Lisandro Martinez into the fray in a bid to take the lead. The former nearly made an immediate impact, playing a delightful pass into Ronaldo’s path who almost scored within seconds of the restart. Manchester United continued to commit men forward.
Ronaldo continued to misfire as he blazed another effort well over goal a few minutes later. However, there was drama soon after as Real Sociedad were awarded a penalty. David Silva attempted a shot that struck Martinez on the knee and bounced up to hit his arm. Despite a VAR review, the referee awarded the penalty much to United’s surprise.
Brais Mendez stepped up and scored to put Real Sociedad ahead in the 59th minute. Ten Hag made a few substitution to try and alter the course of the game but most of Manchester United’s players had a slow day in front of goal.
Real Sociedad held on to secure their first-ever competitive win over English opposition. That said, let’s take a detailed look at how Manchester United’s players fared.
Manchester United Player Ratings
David de Gea – 6.5/10
De Gea looked comfortable in goal for Manchester United as he was seldom tested. He made two saves in the second half but failed to stop the penalty. The Spaniard was also shown a yellow card.
Diogo Dalot – 6.5/10
Dalot made a decent start to the game and had a good first half as he was subbed off at half-time. He played one key pass and four accurate long balls. Dalot also made one interception.
Harry Maguire – 6.5/10
Maguire returned to the XI as Manchester United’s captain and played well. He won five of his 10 duels and made two clearances, one interception and one tackle. He also played five accurate long balls.
Victor Lindelof – 6.5/10
Lindelof was brought back into the side as ten Hag looked to rotate his squad effectively. He won four of his seven duels, making three clearances and one tackle.
Tyrell Malacia – 7/10
Malacia was active on the left flank as he often made forward runs to assist his teammates in attack. He won eight of his 10 duels and played one key pass and one long ball.
Casemiro – 7/10
Casemiro made his presence felt in midfield as he put in a robust challenge on Takefusa Kubo early on. He passed the ball with 75% accuracy, including one key pass, one cross and four long balls. He also attempted three shots, with two on target and the other blocked. Casemiro won five of his 10 duels.
Christian Eriksen – 7/10
Eriksen played just the first half of the game and put in an exciting performance. He passed the ball with 84% accuracy, including two key passes, one cross and three long balls.
Fred – 7/10
Fred looked composed in midfield. He passed the ball with 80% accuracy, including two key passes, two crosses and three long balls. He also won eight of his 11 duels and made three tackles.
Antony – 6.5/10
Antony started his second consecutive game for the Red Devils and looked to threaten with his electric pace. He attempted one shot which was on target and completed two successful dribbles. He also won seven of his 12 duels.
Anthony Elanga – 7/10
Elanga looked lively going forward as he produced some good passes. He played two key passes and was great on the ball, completing all four of his dribble attempts. He also won nine of his 13 duels.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 6/10
Ronaldo looked off-color as he failed to test Alex Remiro in Real Sociedad’s goal. He attempted four shots, with none of them on target. Ronaldo also missed a big chance to put Manchester United ahead.
Lisandro Martinez – 6.5/10
Martinez came on for the second half. He was extremely unlucky as he was penalized for handling the ball, despite video replays clearly showing it hit his thigh first. He was also booked for the incident.
Bruno Fernandes – 7/10
Fernandes came on in the second half and nearly provided an assist for Ronaldo to score from. He had a decent game overall.
Jadon Sancho – 6/10
Sancho came on midway through the second period and put in a decent performance.
Alejandro Garnacho – 6/10
Garnacho came on to replace Elanga and had a good game.
Charlie McNeil – N/A
He came on in the 84th minute and played very few minutes to warrant a rating.