A penalty from Bray Mendes was enough for Real Sociedad to secure three points at Old Trafford 1-0. Manchester United side feature Cristiano Ronaldo The Europa League campaign got off to a slow start.
The match began after a minute’s silence in honor of the British monarchy after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.The fixture was advanced after consultation with UEFA and the Football Association, but no music was played in the stadium and they wore black armbands on both sides.
A subdued, subdued crowd watched as Erik ten Hag’s team struggled to score.
Cristiano Ronaldo, making his first Europa League appearance and playing in his first season outside the Champions League since 2002, came closest to scoring when a header in the first half was ruled out for offside.
But four weeks on the bench, it was a night of frustration for the Portuguese star in the starting line-up. The forward revealed earlier in the summer that he wants to leave United, citing his desire to play in the Champions League as the main reason for trying to force a transfer.
The home side, which made six substitutions following their victory over Arsenal, dominated the first half but struggled to break down a well-organized Sociedad.
Newcomer Anthony saved a shot before Ronaldo met Diego Dalot’s cross.
Goalkeeper Alex Remiro raised his hand but was unable to stop the ball from crossing the line, but the Red Devils’ celebration was cut short when the offside flag was raised.
Ronaldo threatened twice more with a header and a strike from outside the box before the Spanish side attacked.
Lisandro Martinez, introduced at Dalot’s half-time, blocked a strike by former Manchester City star David Silva, but the ball bounced off his leg and into his arm, causing controversy with referee Marco Di Bello. gave a penalty to the visitor.
Signing during the summer at La Real, Mendez made no mistake and led the Spanish club to their first victory in European competition on English soil.
Despite the high-profile win, the match ended quietly following the early news of the day. All post-fight interviews were also canceled out of respect for the royal family.
The result left Ten Hag’s team in third place in Group E, with Sheriff Tiraspol’s 3-0 victory over Omonia Nicosia in the other match of the group.
The Dutchman will have to weather the loss quickly as United prepare to face Sheriff in Moldova on 15 September.