Manchester United advanced to the Europa League’s round of 16 after a 0-0 draw in their match against Real Sociedad on Thursday. This result gave United a 4-0 victory on aggregate over the two legs of this round of 32 tie.
Heading into the second leg of this matchup, Sociedad faced an almost insurmountable obstacle. In the first leg, Manchester United had defeated Real Sociedad by a scoreline of 4-0. However, Sociedad were given a chance to begin their comeback after receiving a penalty kick in the 13th minute. This happened after United winger Daniel James fouled Sociedad full-back Andoni Gorosabel. Unfortunately for the Spanish club, Mikel Oyarzabal proceeded to miss his penalty attempt. This miss all but eliminated Real Sociedad from contention.
United came close to extending their aggregate advantage after Bruno Fernandes struck the crossbar with a shot from 15 metres away. Anthony Martial and James would then take shots of their own; both were saved by Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Ramiro.
In the second half, Sociedad almost got on the scoresheet, but Modibo Sagnan’s header hit the post. Axel Tuanzebe then appeared to have scored for United, but Victor Lindelöf’s foul on Jon Bautista caused the goal to be disallowed.
United player Shola Shoretire broke a club record when he entered the match as a substitute in the 76th minute. When Shoretire replaced Mason Greenwood, he became the youngest United player to participate in a Europa League or Champions League match at the age of 17 years and 23 days. The previous record belonged to Norman Whiteside.
Due to their sizable lead going into the second leg, United did not field their usual starting line-up. Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire, two of Manchester United’s usual starters, were selected as bench players. This was done to keep them fresh for United’s Premier League match against Chelsea on Sunday.
After the match, Manchester United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær emphasized the fact that United were determined to exceed their tournament performances from last season. During their previous campaign, United lost in the semifinals of the Europa League, FA Cup, and EFL Cup. This season, United also lost in the EFL Cup semifinals to crosstown rivals Manchester City.
“You remember the defeats more so than the wins,” Solskjær said. “To get (to) the semifinals in any competition, you’re so close. We’ve had three of them, we’ve lost one, so this group knows how it feels. We want to go further but when you have failed before, you want to do better.”
Solskjær also had positive things to say about Shoretire after his Europa League debut. “He makes good decisions; we’re going to gradually feed him into this team. He’s grounded, works hard in training, and is a likeable boy we can see (on our team) in the future,” Solskjær commented.
26th February 2021 12:40
This article brought to you by Legacy Times 传城时代