Talking Points: Four-midable Reds
Manchester United beat Real Sociedad 4-0 in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night as Amad made his debut for the club.
In the first leg of the Round of 32 tie against the Basque outfit, the Reds secured a superb result ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford next Thursday.
After a strong return to the Europa League, and a Reds' bow for Amad, there was plenty to talk about…
Turning it on in Turin Gallery
Browse our match gallery as we bring you the best pics from our brilliant Europa League win.
Thursday evening’s clash with La Real was the Reds’ 56th match in the UEFA Cup and Europa League. The first leg win was United’s 27th triumph, with 16 draws and 13 defeats making up the total.
In the 83rd minute, a moment a lot of United fans had been waiting for finally happened. Having impressed for our U23s recently, Amad came on for his first-team debut, replacing Bruno Fernandes. Our no.19 was back on Italian soil, having played for Serie A side Atalanta before his move to Manchester.
BRUNO BREAKS THROUGH 20-GOALS MARK
He's actually on 21 now too! Our Portuguese magnifico scored his 20th goal of the campaign when he put United in front after 27 minutes in Turin. Bruno pounced on a long ball from Marcus Rashford and tucked it home after Real Sociedad keeper Alex Remiro collided with two team-mates, leaving the goal open for our no.18 to score. In the second half, the 26-year-old added his and United’s second with a composed finish into the bottom corner, after a nice combination with Daniel James. That goal was his 33rd goal contribution this campaign. Since his European debut for the club in February 2020, he has scored nine times accross all continental competitions. Only ex-Red Romelu Lukaku, with 11, has scored more in European competition in that time.
MARCUS X BRUNO
Like the statistics show, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes are top of United’s charts in terms of goal involvements this season. The duo also took centre stage as the Reds went in front in Turin. The opener was the 12th time Rashford and Fernandes have combined directly for a goal. Our no.10 has assisted the Portuguese magnifico on seven occasions, meanwhile Bruno has set up Marcus to score five times.
Daniel James was in electrifying form, making the most of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s trust in starting him. After his involvement in Bruno's goal, the Welshman netted our fourth in the 90th minute with an excellent solo run. The strike was our no.21's fifth goal contribution of the season, adding to his goals agaisnt Istanbul Basaksehir, Leeds United and Southampton. And he deserves huge credit for the excellent shift he put in against Real Sociedad - a performance full of drive, determination and quality.
Daniel James, Fred and Eric Bailly delivered their first assists of the campaign on Thursday evening. The Welsh winger had a hand in setting up Bruno’s second goal, before the Brazilian midfielder found Rashford with an excellent through-ball a few minutes later. It was then Bailly's pass to James which led to the perfect ending to the game for United. Well in, lads!
SHORETIRE SETS RECORD
At 17 years and 16 days old, Shola Shoretire became United’s youngest ever squad member for a match in European competition against Real Sociedad. The Academy prospect was involved in his first match-day squad for the senior team after impressive performances for our U23s this campaign.
ANOTHER TURIN TRIUMPH
This was our fourth straight win in North Italy. The Reds beat Juventus 3-2 in the 1999 quarter-final of the Champions League, before we won 3-0 against the Old Lady four years later. In the 2018/19 group stages of Europe’s elite competition, the Reds won 2-1 at Allianz Stadium thanks to a Juan Mata free-kick and an own goal late on.