VICTORY in San Sebastian witht he help of Garnacho but a deflated feeling as Manchester United fell short of what they needed to top their group.
Having lost 1-0 at home to Real Sociedad and with an inferior goal difference they needed a two goal win.
But Erik Ten Hag’s side could not build on the 17th minute goal provided by Alejandro Garnacho.
Rarely have home fans celebrated a defeat with such enthusiasm as they did here last night as Real earned the right to skip the first knockout phase.
Any sort of victory over United still means a lot.
Ten Hag pulled a surprise in his team selection ahead of the game giving Donny Van De Beek a rare start.
He played him as a number ten behind Cristiano Ronaldo with Bruno Fernandes pushed out wide.
However, despite, United’s half time advantage it just did not seem to work.
It never does when Van de Beek plays.
For all the fans chant his name, he just has not been good enough whenever he gets a chance and last night was no different.
Needing two goals it seemed odd that Marcus Rashford was on the bench given the form he is in.
Still, United started strongly with Ronaldo defying the constant boos he was getting from the home fans.
No matter the fact he is coming to the end of his career opposition fans still see him as a threat.
And he was the man with the assist that put United ahead.
David De Gea launched a long kick up field which Fernandes leapt to head into the path of Ronaldo.
The five-time Champions League winner looked up and played a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Garnacho.
There was still much to do as he charged away from his marker but the teenager did it brilliantly.
The shot on the half volley with his instep lifted the ball above the grasping right hand of Alex Remiro and in.
What a moment in only his second start for the club.
So United half way to their pre-match target of winning by two clear goals.
They looked like reaching that target when Ronaldo nicked the ball of Sociedad’s Jon Pacheco and lobbed the goalkeeper.
But he put just too much on it as the ball nestled on the roof of the net.
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