Man United To Feature In Europa League Play-Off Round Against A Drop Down UCL Team, Despite 1-0 Victory Against Real Sociedad.

Manchester United beat Real Sociedad 1-0 in their final Europa League group stage game on Thursday night, but it was not enough for Erik ten Hag's side to top the group.

United travelled to San Sebastian in Spain, needing a victory by a two-goal margin to leapfrog Sociedad as group winners.

Man United manager Erik ten Hag made three changes to his side following Sunday's 1-0 win over West Ham in the Premier League.

Victor Lindelof replaced captain Harry Maguire, while Donny van de Beek came in for Anthony Elanga to make his first start since last December.

Teenager Alejandro Garnacho, who impressed on his full debut against Sheriff Tiraspol last week, took Marcus Rashford's place.

The Red Devil's made a perfect start when teenager Alejandro Garnacho scored his first senior goal for the club in the 17th minute by driving forward on the left side of the attack to control Cristiano Ronaldo's slide-rule pass and beat goalkeeper Alex Remiro with an emphatic finish.

The strike saw the 18-year-old Argentine overtake George Best as United's youngest non-English goalscorer in European competition.

Ronaldo missed a glorious chance to double the lead just before half-time when he lifted his effort narrowly over the crossbar.

David de Gea also produced an impressive double save to keep out Andoni Gorosabel and Pablo Marin, but all efforts towards the the search for that all-important second goal after the break was unsuccessful despite the introductions of Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire who was played as a striker.

The result sees United finish the group stage as runner-up desire being level on 15 points with Sociedad. The Spanish team advance to the last 16 as Group E winners with a superior goal difference. 

United  must now compete in a two-legged play-off round against a third-placed Champions League team next February.

Their potential opponent could be either Barcelona, Juventus, Sporting, RB Salzburg, Shakhtar, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen, or Ten Hag's former team Ajax.

The Europa League play-off draw takes place on Monday, while Group E winners Sociedad will find out who they will play in the round of 16 on February 24 after the play-off round has been completed.


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