Confirmed: Neutral venue for Real Sociedad v United
The away leg of Manchester United’s UEFA Europa League round-of-32 tie against Real Sociedad will now take place at Juventus's Allianz Stadium in Turin, it has been confirmed.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were set to travel to Reale Arena, in San Sebastian, Spain, to take on the Basque club on Thursday 18 February.
However, the game, which kicks off at 17:55 GMT, has been moved to Italy because of Spanish government restrictions on travellers entering the country from England, due to the new COVID-19 variant.
The second leg, to be played at Old Trafford at 20:00 GMT on Thursday 25 February, remains unchanged.
Both games against La Real, who boast ex-Reds winger Adnan Januzaj and former Manchester City midfielder David Silva in their ranks, will take place behind closed doors.
It’s the third Europa League game in succession in which the Reds have played at a neutral venue.
Last season’s knockout stages were concluded as one-off ties in Germany due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with United beating Copenhagen 1-0 in the last eight before falling to eventual winners Sevilla at the semi-final stage – both encounters took place in Cologne.
This will be the Reds’ second visit to Allianz Stadium, home of the 36-time Italian champions Juventus since 2011.
We beat the Old Lady 2-1 on their own patch in the group stages of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League, overturning Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener with a Juan Mata free-kick and Leonardo Bonucci own goal in a dramatic final five minutes of play.
UEFA have thanked Real Sociedad and Manchester United for their close cooperation and assistance in finding a solution to the issue at hand, as well as the Italian Football Federation and Juventus for their support and agreeing to host the match in question.