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Ratings: Fernandes MOTM with brace against Real Sociedad; Rashford and James also scored; Diallo made his debut in Europa League victory

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Manchester United beat Real Sociedad 4-0 in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg at the Juventus Stadium in Turin ons Thursday evening. United opened the scoring through Bruno Fernandes in the 27th minute of the match with the Portuguese midfielder scoring his second goal of the match in the 57th minute. Marcus Rashford scored United’s third goal in the 65th minute of the match with Daniel James finding the back of the net minutes later, but he was offside. The Welshman did get another chance, getting the fourth goal of the match in the 90th minute to complete the scoring for United, giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side a great chance to make it to the round of 16 stage of the competition.

This was a match where both teams started well with Adnan Januzaj having a shot on goal which just missed the target in the opening few minutes with Marcus Rashford also having a chance before the Spanish side registered their second shot of the match. At that stage, United started to get the Lion’s share of possession. Eric Bailly did not have the best of starts for United, after sitting out the last few matches, which obviously left him a bit rusty. Scott McTominay had a good shot on goal around the 15 minute mark of the march, which was blocked by the goalkeeper. Rashford had another shot on goal in the 18th minute of the match, which was kept in play resulting in Bruno Fernandes having a chance too, which was cleared off the line.

United took the lead in the 27th minute of the match after Rashford lofted the ball into the area which saw goalkeeper Alejandro Remiro, Igor Zubeldia and Robin Le Normand collide in the box with the ball then falling to Fernandes after touching one of the trio. The Portuguese midfielder then scored his 20th goal of the season, which was also his 32nd goal for the club since signing in January 2020. In total, Fernandes has contributed 52 goals, assisting 20 times since arriving in Manchester. What a great signing he has become. United had a few more chances, which never came to anything. It was becoming another good match for United but they will need to score a second goal, otherwise the second half could become fraught.

United doubled their lead in the 57th minute of the match with Fernandes scoring his second goal of the match, his 21st of the season. Rashford played the ball into the box with Fernandes and Daniel James waiting. Fernandes then sent the ball into the back of the net. The linesman raised the flag for offside but VAR gave the goal. Rashford then scored his 17th goal fo the season in the 65th minute after he made a perfectly timed run after Fred launched the ball from United’s half of the pitch. It was a good finish for Rashford, who was not on the ball with his chances in the first half of the match. United did score another goal through James, who finished superbly but he was offside, which was a shame. United have killed the match off, which is a good sign.

United were playing well in the second half of the match and managed to get some rest for Scott McTominay, who was replaced by Nemanja Matic in the 60th minute of the match, Marcus Rashford, who was replaced by Anthony Martial in the 65th minute of the match, Fernandes, who was replaced by Juan Mata in the 83rd minute of the match and Mason Greenwood, who was replaced by Amad Diallo in the 83rd minute of the match. United managed to scored a fourth goal in the match with Daniel James getting on the scoresheet following his offside earlier in the half. The Welshman darted down the right flank, having no passing options so decided to go straight for goal from the tightest of angles, nutmegging the goalkeeper who has denied United a few times.

United will have at least one foot inn the door to the round of 16 stage of the competition after the 4-0 victory. It showed signs of their victory over LASK in March last season which saw United 5-0 up in the first leg only to see the coronavirus pandemic stop the season for around three months with the Europa League being played out in August. Solskjaer will not have his focus on Newcastle United coming to Old Trafford on Sunday with the club ten points adrift of Manchester City in the Premier League. It was good to see Diallo come on and with the scoreline what it was, perhaps he can start in the second leg at Old Trafford where he could get himself on the scoresheet?

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Made a few good saves in the first half of the match to deny Real Sociedad. Kept a clean sheet in his first match in the Europa League, which will put him in good stead to take on De Gea for the number one shirt at the club. He will be well pleased with the clean sheet and the victory.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played a good game for United, getting forward a lot of the time with United in the driving seat in terms of possession,

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3 Eric Bailly

Did well for United after seeming rusty in the early stages of the match which saw the Spanish side get through on goal a few times. He recovered and helped United keep a clean sheet in their 4-0 victory. Got the assist for James' goal in the 90th minute.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led United well after an early onslaught in defence with mistakes being made, which Henderson recovered the side from. Got forward a few times when United recovered and was ruled offside with a chance on goal. Some give him too much stick. Granted there are some faults but nobody is faultless.

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27 Alex Telles

United were not really pressured in defence after the initial stages of the match. Telles is a great left-back to have at the club and his arrival has coincided with some great form for Luke Shaw. He did what he needed to do and helped get United further up the pitch to find the goals, which eventually came for United.

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17 Fred

Played a good midfield game and did everything he was expected to. Some slate him for not scoring many goals but the goals are coming from other players. Got an assist for Rashford's goal, placing the ball over the top for the striker.

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39 Scott McTominay

Did what he needed to do and added a lot of energy and determination in the midfield. He got forward in the early stages of the match when Real Sociedad were pressuring United. He was replaced by Matic in the 60th minute of the match, giving him a break for Sunday, presumably?

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11 Mason Greenwood

Attacked well for United, which was good to see. He did not seem to have much fear of the Spanish side. Did what he needed to do and it was a shame he could not get on the scoresheet. He was replaced by Diallo in the 83rd minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Scored two goals to put United in the driving seat, scoring in the 27th and 57th minutes of the match. Played a great game in attack and has been involved in 53 goals at the club, scoring 32 and assisting 20. He was replaced by Mata in the 83rd minute of the match.

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21 Daniel James

Played a very energetic game for United. He was unlucky not to get his goal because he was offside minutes after Rashford scored. He did get his goal in the last minute of the match though, which he worked hard to score on his solo run after Bailly played the ball to him.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Missed a few chances in the first half of the match, which was hard to swallow. It seemed it was going to be one of those games for Rashford. However, he started to play a better brand of football in the second half, scoring the third goal in the 65th minute of the match. He was replaced by Martial after he scored.

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Substitutes

31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced McTominay 60'. Came on to hold the midfield and did what he needed to do. United were 2-0 up when he came on, winning 4-0 so he played his part.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Rashford 65'. Came on to give Rashford a rest. Not sure he really did a lot. He needs to find some form this season as he has been left behind as such.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Fernandes 83'. Came on with seven minutes left. Helped to keep United on the front foot and attacked a few times.

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19 Amad Diallo

Replaced Greenwood 83'. Great to see him make his debut for United. He could have perhaps came on much sooner with United 3-0 up in the 65th minute. He attacked but was not successful. Maybe he can start in the second leg, which will be good for him?

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 27′, 57′, Marcus Rashford 65′, Daniel James 90′

Assists: Daniel James 57′, Fred 65′, Eric Bailly 90′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Telles; McTominay (Matic 60′), Fred; Greenwood (Diallo 83′), Fernandes (Mata 83′), James; Rashford (Martial 65′)

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea, Grant; Lindelof, Shaw, Williams, Tuanzebe; Shoretire

Bookings: Robin Le Normand 88′; Aaron Wan-Bissaka 8′

Written by John Walker

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