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Manchester United puts one foot in the Europa League round of 16

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eurosport.com

With a convincing 4-0, away win over Real Sociedad in their round-of-32 first leg on Thursday, Manchester United put one foot in the Europa League round of 16.

This tie took place in Turin due to travel restrictions in Spain, meaning La Real missed the advantage of playing in their home stadium.

It lived up to expectations as one of the ties of the round, with both attacks looking dangerous in the first half and Marcus Rashford could have opened the scoring early on when put through but fired Alex Remiro, the goalkeeper, straight.

When Remiro clattered into defender Robin Le Normand, United opened the scoring on 27 minutes, allowing Fernandes to tap into an empty net from close range and net his 20th campaign goal in all competitions.

La Real finished the half the stronger, but the “home” side struggled to take advantage, despite some shaky United defending.

For the first time since his departure for Spain in 2017, former United Academy graduate Adnan Januzaj was up against his old side and told ESPN on the eve of the match that he had nothing to prove.

Like former Manchester City captain David Silva, however, the influence of the Belgium international on the contest was marginal.

After cleverly stepping over a Rashford through the pass, which saw Daniel James sliding into the Portugal midfielder, Fernandes made it 2-0 on 57 minutes. The target was originally ruled out for offside, but the original ruling was overruled by a VAR review and referee Sandro Scharer awarded the goal.

The third United came 64 minutes after Rashford ran to Fred’s pass to poke the ball past Remiro and put the side of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in firm control of the tie.

James thought he’d added a fourth three minutes later when he coolly finished from Mason Greenwood’s pass, but the England international was flagged offside.

In the 89th minute, the Wales international finally rendered it 4-0 with a close-range finish.

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