Erik Ten Hag’s maiden European campaign at Old Trafford gets off to a disappointing start, with Mendez’s 59th-minute penalty sealing the three points for Real Sociedad against Manchester United.
After a passive first half, United came into their own at times in the second, testing Remiro on several occasions.
Still, a handball by Martinez during one of Sociedad’s less frequent attacks gave the visitors the perfect chance to snatch the victory.
It was a chance they took, holding out a 1-0 victory despite a flurry of attacking changes for the home side.
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-3-3): David De Gea;
Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia;
Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, Fred;
Antony, Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Elanga.
REAL SOCIEDAD (4-3-1-2): Alex Remiro;
Andoni Gorosabel, Artiz Elustondo, Jon Pacheco Dozagarat, Aihen Munoz;
Brais Mendez, Martin Zubimendi, Mikel Merino; David Silva;
Umar Sadiq, Takefusa Kubo.
GOOOOAAAALLLL!!! There’s the opener!!!! It’s Mendez who steps up, smashing the penalty into the bottom right corner, and beyond the reach of De Gea to make it 1-0 to the visitors!!! They’ve been very passive so far this half, but now they have the lead, and Manchester United have to try and turn this game around now!
What does it mean? United’s home run comes to an end
This defeat was United’s first in 19 home matches in the Europa League.
A run that started with victory over FC Midtjylland in February 2016.
Meanwhile, it was La Real’s first-ever win against English opponents in Europe at the seventh time of asking.
So, what’s next?
Despite a loss in a very close game, Manchester United can’t be too disheartened about the result, particularly with perceived ‘easier’ matches coming up against Sheriff and Omonia, the former of whom beat the latter 3-0 in the corresponding fixture.
Sociedad will feel the same way, but beginning the campaign with three points is precisely the start they’ll have wanted.
Mainly if it’s a shoot-out between themselves and the Red Devils for the top spot.