Man United in Europa League last 16 following Sociedad stalemate
Man United ( Manchester United ) have progressed from all five of their Last 32 ties in the UEFA Europa League (also 2011/12, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2019/20).
Manchester United progressed to the Europa League round of 16 with a goalless draw against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Leading 4-0 from the first leg, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knew that his side were through barring a capitulation, but named a strong side that included Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial.
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Sociedad were given a chance to begin an unlikely comeback when a clumsy challenge from Daniel James saw them awarded a penalty in the 13th minute. But captain Mikel Oyarzabal contrived to send the spot-kick high and wide of the goal.
United then had chances to add to their aggregate lead, Bruno Fernandes striking the crossbar on 24 minutes when he spotted Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro off his line.
James then drew a good save from Remiro with a headed effort following a lofted ball from Fernandes on 36 minutes.
Both sides made three substitutions at half-time, perhaps mindful of United’s four-goal advantage from the first leg and domestic interests.
Early in the second half, Marcus Rashford put a free kick narrowly wide for United and Modibo Sagnan headed against the bar for the visitors as both sides looked to break the deadlock.
Substitute Axel Tuanzebe had a firm headed goal ruled out by VAR on 63 minutes after Victor Lindelof had fouled Jon Bautista during the build-up.
With the game heading to its conclusion Shola Shoretire was introduced on 76 minutes, becoming United’s youngest-ever player in a European game at 17 years old and 23 days.
“Shola has got some skills and attributes we think will make him a very good player here,” Solskjaer said. “A platform tonight, just 15 minutes, something to build upon.”
Solskjaer said United were determined to go further than last year when they reached the semifinals of the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup, and they also lost to Manchester City in this season’s League Cup semis.
“You remember the defeats more so than the wins,” Solskjaer told BT Sport.
“To get the semifinals in any competition, you’re so close. We’ve had three of them, we’ve lost one, so this group knows how it feels. We want to go further but when you have failed before you want to do better.”