Talking points: United 0 Real Sociedad 0

Thursday 25 February 2021 22:33

Manchester United progressed to the Europa League last 16 following a 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford.

Despite being held by the visitors, the result means the Reds go through 4-0 on aggregate following our strong showing in Turin in the first leg.

Real Sociedad could have given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side something to think about early on when they were awarded a penalty in just the 13th minute, but Mikel Oyarzabal missed the target with the spot-kick.

Axel Tuanzebe appeared to have broken the deadlock 18 minutes into the second half, but it was chalked off for a foul by Victor Lindelof – keeping the scores level.

Below are the essential discussion points from Old Trafford...

Report: United 0 Real Sociedad 0


Axel Tuanzebe has a goal ruled out and the visitors miss a penalty during stalemate at Old Trafford.

United have now progressed from each of the 19 European ties in which we've won the first leg away from home and in doing so reach the last 16 of this season’s Europa League. The draw for the next round will be made at midday on Friday with British sides Arsenal, Tottenham and Rangers all among those the Reds could come up against.

We remain unbeaten in 15 consecutive Europa League matches at Old Trafford, winning 12 and drawing three. The last time we were bettered on home turf in this competition was against Spanish opposition in the form of Athletic Bilbao in the 2011/12 season, who were then managed by Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa.

Mikel Oyarzabal appeared to be trying to channel his inner Bruno Fernandes as he stepped up to take the Spanish side’s early penalty, awarded following a coming together involving Daniel James and Andoni Gorosabel. However, Oyarzabal’s hop, skip and jump didn’t fool Dean Henderson who was unmoved. In an attempt to place it in the top corner, the visitors' captain put it high and wide – making him the first opposition player to fail to score a penalty against United at Old Trafford since Leighton Baines for Everton in the Premier League in October 2014. Daniele De Rossi for Roma was the last person to do so in European competition, 13 years ago.

Substitute Axel Tuanzebe looked to have his first senior goal for the club as he expertly guided a header past visiting keeper Alejandro Remiro. Sadly though Axel and his team-mates' celebrations were curtailed when the referee was instructed to take a look at the pitchside monitor by VAR. Having done so, the goal was ruled out as Victor Lindelof was harshly adjudged to have caught one of the defenders as he leapt in the box attempting a header of his own.

After becoming our second youngest-ever player in the Premier League at the weekend against Newcastle, Shola Shoretire has now gone one better in Europe as he came on with 15 minutes to go. At 17 years and 23 days Shola has broken Norman Whiteside’s record for the youngest player for the club in Europe by 108 days. Illustrating further our tradition of promoting youth, we finished the game with half our outfield players being academy graduates.

It is yet another quick turnaround for our squad in this congested season, with a trip to the capital in store on Sunday for the challenge of Chelsea. The Blues have seen an upturn in their form since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge, conceding just twice since then.