Manchester United ran riot in Turin as they smashed four goals past LaLiga Santander side Real Sociedad in their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie. The Red Devils take a 4-0 advantage thanks to Bruno Fernandes (2), Marcus Rashford, and Dan James, into the second leg which is scheduled to be played a week from today at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to name a slightly different line-up due to his side's injury concerns, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek, and Edinson Cavani unavailable. The Norwegian opted for a youthful bench with both Shola Shoretire and new signing Amad Diallo on the sidelines.
La Real's side has a few familiar faces in their line-up as well, with former Manchester City icon David Silva, Arsenal full-back Nacho Monreal, and United academy graduate Adnan Januzaj all in the Real Sociedad XI.
The first 45 minutes were quite lively and saw plenty of chances on both ends of the pitch, with Manchester United having the better opportunities than their Spanish opponents. Marcus Rashford spurned a glorious opportunity after being sent through on goal by some good work from Alex Telles and the Bruno Fernandes. Alexander Isak was also through on goal on a couple of occasions, with Harry Maguire intervening with an excellent tackle on one occasion.
Scott McTominay, who also had an impressive first half, had another superb opportunity as he got on the end of a brilliant ball by creator-in-chief Bruno Fernandes but was excellently thwarted by Alex Remiro. After being denied a couple of potential assists to his name, it was the prolific Portuguese who ultimately made the difference in the half as he capitalised on some confusion in La Real's penalty area to score the goal.
Fernandes latched onto a piercing pass from Rashford and, while three of Real Sociedad's players came to collect the ball, Robin le Normand ran into his own onrushing keeper Remiro, allowing the midfielder to tuck the ball into an open net.
The second 45 minutes got off to a relatively slower start than the first half. The hosts began kicked off after the restart with more purpose and looked to keep the ball, attempting to take the game to the former Europa League champions. However, much like in the first half, Manchester United gradually grew into the game and scored the goal that essentially settled the first leg.
Rashford pierced the heart of La Real's defence with a pass again which was met by Dan James, who set up Fernandes who came running in from behind to lash the ball for his and United's second goal of the game.
The 23-year-old English star all but killed the game with a slick finish just seven minutes later after being played in behind by a darting ball from Fred. Rashford made ameds for his shocking first-half miss with a lovely finish past Remiro to triple the Red Devils' advantage.
James initially appeared to have quadrupled it with a fourth of the night, but Mason Greenwood — who set up the Welshman — was deemed to be marginally offside. It was of little consequence, however, as the former Swansea winger eventually did manage to get on the scoresheet with a majestic run from the right and a finish through Remiro's legs from a tight angle to make it 4-0.
With four away goals and a trip to Old Trafford in the second leg, it would be hard to imagine Imanol Alguacil's men overturning the lead as they would need to score four goals without a reply to do so. This has also been Real Sociedad's heaviest-ever defeat in European competition, albeit this game had to be played away from the Anoeta due to COVID restrictions.
Here are some of the best tweets from the game.