Cristiano Ronaldo had a bitter debut in the Europa League. In an Old Trafford mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Manchester United lost to Real Sociedad 1-0 today in the first round of the group stage.
Coach Erik ten Hag took to the field his main players, such as Brazilians Antony and Casemiro, and almost took the lead at the end of the first half. Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal, however, was disallowed for offside.
The final stage was marked by a daring Real Sociedad against a lost United, and it was the Spaniards who did better. From a penalty, Brais Méndez scored the only goal of the game.
The result puts Real Sociedad at the top of Group E, with three points added. United, in turn, is in third place in the group, still without points.
United returns to the field for the Europa League next Thursday (15), against Sheriff, away from home, at 13:45 (GMT). Real Sociedad faces Omonia, in Spain, on the same day and time.
Tributes to the queen
The first game by an English team since the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II featured a minute’s silence in honor of her majesty. Old Trafford Stadium was completely silent until the time was up, when a round of applause was given.
Players from both teams gathered in the center circle and hugged each other the entire time. While the silence was absolute in the stadium, it was possible to see some emotional fans with their heads down. Some United athletes even took to the field with a black belt tied to one of their arms.
On the field, the first half was uninspiring. United and Real Sociedad played a balanced match with few scoring opportunities. Even so, Cristiano Ronaldo came close to scoring for the first time in the Europa League.
In the 35th minute of the opening stage, the Portuguese received a cross from Dalot and finished with a header. The ball went in, but the referee pointed out shirt 7’s offside and annulled the goal.
In addition to Cristiano Ronaldo, coach Erik ten Hag has named Antony and Casemiro as starters in this first round of the Europa League.
Real Sociedad returned connected for the second half, mainly exploring the sides of the field. The pressure paid off, and the Spaniards took the lead 12 minutes into the final stage, with Brais Méndez from the penalty spot.
David Silva finished through the center, the ball touched the arm of the lateral Lisandro Martínez and the referee scored the penalty, to the revolt of the home team. After checking the VAR, Méndez went for the kick and didn’t give goalkeeper De Gea a chance.
Casemiro passes by
United’s starter in today’s game, midfielder Casemiro had the main chance to tie the game for the hosts. Faced with a team struggling to keep possession of the ball and create attacking plays, the Brazilian risked a beautiful shot at the entrance of the area at 31st of the second half. Goalkeeper Remiro, however, went to fetch.
Was it a penalty?
With a discreet second time, Cristiano Ronaldo complained about an unmarked penalty in the 39th minute. The Portuguese invaded the area and, on his back, disputed with Zubimendi and fell to the ground. The referee, however, ordered it to continue.
The Portuguese still had an opportunity to score for the first time in the Europa League, in a free kick from the left. Shirt 7, however, hit the barrier.