Bruno Fernandes.

Real Sociedad 0 Manchester United 4

Thursday 18 February 2021 19:44

Manchester United produced a top-class performance on the road in Europe to secure a 4-0 first-leg advantage over Real Sociedad to take to Old Trafford next Thursday.

Our round-of-32 Europa League match, played in Turin, was a comfortable one for the Reds towards the end after some scintillating football left La Real with no answers.

Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring in the first half and added a second when VAR ruled his effort was onside after it had initially been disallowed. Marcus Rashford also got on the scoresheet and, after having an effort ruled out, Daniel James capped a hard-working display with a late fourth.


The match started at breakneck speed with three chances inside the opening few minutes. Former Red Adnan Januzaj curled a drive inches wide from the first attack of the game, with Rashford denied in a one-on-one with Alejandro Remiro at the other end. Alexander Isak then forced Dean Henderson to palm the ball around his near post as the handbrake was off from the outset.

United gained control and continued to carve out gilt-edged opportunities to open the scoring. A clever pass by Fernandes allowed Scott McTominay to burst into the box but, under pressure from David Silva and from a tight angle, he was unable to find a way past Remiro, who blocked with his legs.

Soon afterwards, Alex Telles's fine pass released Fernandes, who unselfishly squared to Rashford, only for the no.10 to fire against Remiro. From the rebound, Bruno's header was cleared off the line by Robin Le Normand, who had been a late replacement for Aritz Elustondo when he was injured in the warm-up.

The breakthrough deservedly arrived on 27 minutes when Rashford floated a dangerous pass towards Fernandes and the Portugal international gained possession when Igor Zubeldia, Le Normand and Remiro virtually collided when failing to cut it out, preceding a confident finish, calmly taken by the Reds' reigning Player of the Year.


La Real were bright after the restart and started to ask questions of the United backline, without really extending Henderson, who did have to make one commanding punch.

However, Fernandes struck again, with 57 minutes gone, to double our lead. Some excellent work by Fred and Rashford led to Bruno dummying and receiving the ball when it bounced to him, shifting his body shape to curve an inch-perfect drive into the net. It was ruled out for offside only for VAR to intervene and, in addition to the midfielder probably being onside anyway, the touch to him actually appeared to come off Nacho Monreal and not James.

It got better for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men as Fred threaded a through-ball into the path of Rashford, who made no mistake this time by steering a right-foot finish wide of Remiro for number three.

Only a marginal offside call against Greenwood prevented another goal as the youngster, who signed a new deal this week, set up James to finish via a post, but the VAR check, this time, did not go the Reds' way. Greenwood tricked his way into a shooting position that forced a save out of Remiro, even if the effort was going wide in any case, as United kept up the pressure. James had another chance to net but was thwarted by Remiro, following a great sweeping move, before Greenwood's attempt deflected wide soon after, following a great run forward by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

James did make it four late on though when galloping onto Eric Bailly's pass down the right flank and cutting inside and, with only debutant Amad, who came on for the final seven minutes, in the middle, he went it alone and squeezed a shot past Remiro to round things off superbly.

Bruno Fernandes keeps his cool to fire United into the lead.


Real Sociedad: Remiro; Zaldua (Gorosabel 74), Le Normand, Zubeldia, Monreal; Silva, Illarramendi (c) (Guevara 74), Merino; Januzaj (Portu 80), Isak (Barrenetxea 80), Oyarzabal (Bautista 86).

Subs not used: Marrero Larranaga, Munoz, Guridi, Sagnan, Merquelanz, Zubimendi.

Booked: Le Normand

United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire (c), Telles; Fred, McTominay (Matic 60); Greenwood (Amad 83), Fernandes (Mata 83), James; Rashford (Martial 68).

Subs not used: De Gea, Grant, Lindelof, Shaw, Tuanzebe, Williams, Shoretire.

Scorers: Fernandes 27, 57, Rashford 65, James 90

Booked: Wan-Bissaka