Manchester United took a big step to the last 16 of the Europa League after an impressive victory over Real Sociedad in Turin.
Bruno Fernandes scored twice as Manchester United beat Real Sociedad 4-0 in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie.
Fernandes took his tally to 33 goals in all competitions for the Red Devils to put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men in charge inside the first hour.
The LaLiga side had posed a threat at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, where the match was being held due to coronavirus travel restrictions, but Marcus Rashford and Daniel James struck before Amad Diallo was granted his debut late on, meaning United go into next week’s return leg in a commanding position.
What does it mean? United end Spanish hoodoo to take charge of tie
United had gone nine games without a win against Spanish sides in Europe stretching back to a 1-0 semi-final first-leg victory over Celta Vigo en route to winning this trophy in 2016-17.
This was a welcome result against a strong side that saw United find something of their attacking groove again and take control of the last-32 tie.
They have been inconsistent at home this season, but they will be firm favourites to progress next week at Old Trafford.
Bruno is frankly brilliant
Fernandes has been involved in 53 goals in 58 games for United in all competitions, which is 10 more than any other Premier League player has managed since his debut last February.
Imanol Alguacil’s set-up afforded him lots of space to exploit but, unlike some of his team-mates, Fernandes almost always applies a clinical touch.
United can still sharpen up in attack
This proved a comfortable win but, in truth, United should have had many more. Rashford missed two sitters in the first half, James missed an easier chance than the one he converted, and Greenwood dragged a good opening wide.
Should they progress to the latter stages, they will want to avoid a repeat of last year’s semi-final exit when Sevilla punished their lack of ruthlessness. This was an encouraging step towards correcting that problem.
Before next Thursday’s second leg, United are at home to Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday, with Sociedad hosting Deportivo Alaves in LaLiga.