Garnacho earns win at Real Sociedad but Manchester United fail to top group


A first goal for 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho was enough to defeat Real Sociedad but was not enough to progress as winners of the group, so Erik ten Hag’s team will be thrown into a playoff against one of those “failed sharks” from the Champions League: one of Ajax, Barcelona, Juventus, Leverkusen, Salzburg, Sevilla, Shakhtar or Sporting CP will have to be overcome to continue in this competition.

That may not be too terrifying but it was not the way United wanted it. Two more games in the spring are not what they wanted either. Garnacho’s superb strike after quarter of an hour of his second start had briefly given them hope of avoiding that but United needed another goal.

The excitement of seeing the teenager apart – “I hope Garnacho can keep the attitude that he has now: he can create, he can give the final pass and he can score goals so I am happy with his process,” Ten Hag said – not enough really happened for United, bar a couple of superb passes from Fernandes.

They ended the match with centre-back Harry Maguire up front. The objective was clear; the route there, a little less so.

The good news is that this was still victory and the damage done may yet be relative. “Of course we are disappointed not to win with two goals difference but in the end we won the game, we kept a clean sheet, we create some good chances: there are positives to take back to Manchester,” the manager said afterwards.

Before it Ten Hag had said: “We know what we have to do in the game: score two goals. In the end they could not. Real Sociedad could not score any but they did not always play like a team satisfied simply to protect themselves.”

The opening suggested that the claim of the Real Sociedad manager, Imanol Alguacil, that they, too, would try to score was not misplaced, Pablo Marin firing off the first shot after only 35 seconds and Carlos Fernández hitting the side-netting four minutes later.

Source: The Guardian