Manchester United were unable to carry their recent uptick of domestic form into the Europa League as they suffered a 1-0 loss to Real Sociedad at Old Trafford this evening.
Brais Méndez settled a closely fought contest from the spot before 60 minutes had been played. It was a controversial penalty as the video assistant referee judged United centre-back Lisandro Martínez to have handled the ball inside the penalty area.
Despite registering no fewer than 15 shots, seven more than their visitors, Erik ten Hag’s line-up — which included a first start of the season for Cristiano Ronaldo — was only able to post three on target. Los Txuri-Urdin‘s narrow victory ended United’s four-game winning streak and brought to light Ten Hag’s poor home record in European competition.
Brais Méndez's game by numbers vs Manchester United:
17 passes in final third (most)
4 touches in opp. box
2 final third entries
2 chances created
Grabs the winner for Real Sociedad.#UEL
— Squawka (@Squawka) September 8, 2022
Tonight was the Dutchman’s 21st such contest and in those games he’s suffered nine losses, which is a contrast to when he’s on the road. Across 20 previous away games the former Ajax tactician picked up just two losses (one coming at Anfield a few seasons ago).
As touched upon, Ronaldo led United’s attack with Anthony Elanga and big summer acquisition Antony supporting him. Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid teammate Casemiro started his first game for his new side. They couldn’t prevent their visitors from San Sebastián from creating a piece of history.
Before this season La Real had never won against English opponents in Europe (two draws and four losses), scoring once across six matches. Not only did they break that duck but Imanol Alguacil’s side doubled their club’s tally when facing Premier League opposition.