Real Sociedad 0 Manchester United 0
While United will be disappointed not to have seen off a fairly ordinary Real Sociedad side, a draw in San Sebastian leaves the Reds in a good position from which to qualify from the group, though there will be some regrets that the road to the knockout stages might have been smoothed considerably had United converted one of several good chances in the second half, which included a rare penalty miss from Robin Van Persie.
The first half saw a disciplined, patient display from United, who controlled much of the possession but created few chances of note. The best of them fell to Kagawa, who saw one shot deflected past the post and hit another straight at the keeper. Otherwise, the Reds were restricted to crosses that were routinely picked off by the Basque defenders.
Rooney was constantly busy, often helping to break up Real Sociedad’s play before it reached the half-way line and being again the main source of creativity in the United side. Behind him, Fellaini was looking comfortable in his role in front of the United defence, picking off any of the home attacks that managed to venture far enough upfield. Their most fruitful period came in the period just before half-time, Vela finding some room on the right, only to be denied with a brilliantly timed challenge from Vidic before De la Bella hit a curling shot just around De Gea’s right post.
The game opened up more in the second half and United squandered their first clear cut chance when Kagawa’s jinking run and ball across goal fell to the feet of Chicharito, who uncharacteristically ballooned his shot over the bar. A double substitution on the hour brought off the Mexican and Rooney and introduced Van Persie and Young. The Dutchman was denied twice by the same post when, after striking the woodwork following a cross from Young, he struck a penalty – awarded after Young had been felled just inside the box – against the same upright.
Fellaini, having been booked in the first half, picked up a red late in the game for a needless foul late in the game and it was clear from that point that United would have to settle for a draw. The result gave Real Sociedad their first point in the group and, with a similar result in Donetsk, United remain top of the group and needing a win from one of their remaining two games to secure qualification for the knockout stages.