ALEJANDRO GARNACHO scored the winner to give Manchester United an impressive win against Real Sociedad… but it wasn’t enough to seal top spot in the group.
The Red Devils dominated the first-half but tailed off after the break and failed to add to Garnacho’s 17th minute strike in a scrappy second period.
Eyebrows were raised when Donny van de Beek was included in the starting line up for the first time this season.
And the Dutchman did nothing to repay the faith Erik ten Hag put in him, barely managing a touch of the ball before being hooked with over half an hour left to play.
There were impressive performances elsewhere, but David De Gea deserves credit for a stunning double save just before the break that proved the 31-year-old still boasts razor sharp reflexes.
Here’s how SunSport’s Giacomo Pisa rated the Red Devils…
David De Gea – 8
Not called into action much but pulled off a stunning double save just before the break.
The first stop from range was good, but the follow up from Pablo Marin at point-blank range was even better.
He may not be in Spain’s provisional World Cup squad because of his distribution, but the stopper proved he is still one of the best around when it comes to keeping the ball out of the net.
Diogo Dalot – 6
Growing more in confidence with each game, proven by nonchalant outside of the boot passes that he wouldn’t have attempted this time last season.
Bruno Fernandes’ quiet night on the right hand side limited Diogo Dalot going forward, before he was moved into a back three when Victor Lindelof came off.
Victor Lindelof – 6
Back in the side after missing the weekend’s game through illness but didn’t look off the pace at all.
Taken off just before 60 minutes, which could be a suggestion Ten Hag had an eye on the weekend’s trip to Aston Villa.
Lisandro Martinez – 7
Yet another astute showing from the summer signing, who is now one of the first names on the teamsheet.
A real leader, winning headers left, right and centre, and not afraid to put his body on the line despite United already being safely through to the knockout stages.
Luke Shaw – 7
Is now likely to be sure started for England at the World Cup after Ben Chilwell’s injury, and is on a nice upward curve ahead of the tournament.
Another solid performance at left-back, who did all of the simple things well over the course of the game.
Christian Eriksen – 6
A few loose touches from the usually composed Danish midfielder, but overall controlled the tempo of the game well.
Some neat passes at times, but he wasn’t at his creative best.
Casemiro – 6
Broke up Real Sociedad attacks well and made a crucial clearance at the start of the second half to deny what was a dangerous ball into the box.
Appears to be the preferred choice in the middle to Scott McTominay now, and didn’t do anything to change that with another steady performance in the middle of the park.
Donny van de Beek – 4
Handed a shock first start of the season with top of Group E on the line, and showed his rustiness with a non-existent showing in the first-half.
More of the same after the break, which saw him hooked with over half an hour left to play.
Alejandro Garnacho – 8
Teenager added to his credentials with another positive showing on the left hand side, capped off with an expertly taken goal.
Pacey and direct, always eager to put his head down and run forward, which he did for the goal.
Showed his speed to outsprint the defender before firing into the roof of the net with his left foot.
Bruno Fernandes – 5
Shifted out onto the right hand side to accommodate Van de Beek, and didn’t have the same amount of influence he usually does on the wing.
Can’t be faulted for his work rate though, tracking back tirelessly to help out in defence.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 6
Assisted the opener with a perfectly timed through ball into Garnacho.
Quiet apart from that, and failed to improve on his incredible record against Real Sociedad.
The 37-year-old had scored 13 goals in his previous seven games against the Spanish side.
Marcus Rashford (on for Van de Beek, 58 mins) – 6
Tried to be positive after being chucked on for the last half an hour but failed to grab a hold of the game.
Scott McTominay (on for Lindelof, 58 mins) – 6
Looked a little off the pace when he came on, and couldn’t really get himself involved with the game.
Maguire (on for Garnacho, 82 mins) – 4
Came on for the last 10 minutes… to hilariously play up front as a target man.
Didn’t manage to find the winner.
Fred (on for Eriksen, 82 mins) – 4
Barely touched the ball after being introduced for the closing stages.
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