Reds need to repeat Real Sociedad's rare defeat

Tuesday 01 November 2022 15:28

Manchester United have been given a blueprint for the result that would secure top spot in Europa League Group E - and a former Manchester City manager was the architect.

Real Sociedad have first place in their hands as we head into Thursday's final game at their Reale Arena but know that if they were to lose by two clear goals, just as they did in Sunday's home defeat to Real Betis in La Liga, they would be replaced at the summit by the Reds.

Manuel Pellegrini's Betis side, who are guaranteed top spot in Europa League Group C, travelled to San Sebastian at the weekend and triumphed 2-0.

Real Sociedad's no.9 Carlos Fernandez came the closest to scoring in the first half, when his shot was deflected against the post, and he was denied early in the second half when Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Silva made a decent stop.

Training highlights: Set for our showdown in Spain Video

Training highlights: Set for our showdown in Spain

The players recover from their West Ham exploits and start to look ahead to the crunch Real Sociedad tie…

Those moments, and a further miss by Mikel Merino whose downward header from a corner bounced over the crossbar, provided Pellegrini's men with a platform to go on and inflict only Real Sociedad's second home loss of the season in all competitions.

They did so in dramatic fashion, scoring both of the goals which should give United encouragement in the 86th and 93rd minutes.

The deadlock was finally broken when Betis substitute Juan Cruz fired home from just inside the area after Alex Moreno raced down the left flank and pulled the ball back.

La Real were almost back on level terms as the game entered injury time but Silva produced another stunning save, tipping a powerful header over the bar after Jon Magunazelaia was picked out by Brais Mendez's free-kick delivery to the far post.

Moments later, a classic counter attack killed off Real Sociedad when Betis left-back Moreno broke forward again, running from one penalty area to the other and crossing low for Borja Iglesias to convert from close range.
Manuel Pellegrini's Real Betis moved above Real Sociedad after beating them 2-0 away.
The defeat was the first that our Europa League opponents have suffered at their ground since losing their opening home fixture 4-1 to Barcelona. On the previous weekend, they began their campaign by winning 1-0 away to Cadiz - one of two La Liga sides United will play against in the upcoming break for the World Cup.

Since Real Sociedad overcame United 1-0 at Old Trafford in September, both clubs have been victorious in all of their other Europa League games.

Domestically, Imanol Alguacil's team have won seven games, drawn one and lost four in La Liga and slipped to fifth place in the table, one point behind Real Betis, following Sunday's loss.