MAN UNITED 1, REAL SOCIEDAD 0
Manchester United are finding European football a relative breeze compared to their disappointing domestic form.
Victory against Spain’s Real Sociedad took the Reds to the top of Group A in the Champions League as they remain on target for a place in the knockout phase.
Two wins and one draw from their three group games is a marked contrast to their results in the Premier League where they have collected a measly 11 points from eight games.
An early own goal earned the Reds victory in their latest European adventure which surprisingly yielded only one goal given the abundance of chances at both ends.
And what was even more satisfying was that the victory was achieved without many of the Reds’ big hitters as Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were all missing.
David Moyes thought the victory was merited and his side ought to have triumphed by a wider margin.
United’s manager said: “While it remained 1-0, my mind went back to Saturday (when they conceded a late equaliser against Southampton) and the fact we could have lost a goal from a corner or free kick.
“We need to be more ruthless. It is alright saying we were unlucky, but we need to get the ball into the net. We need to score more and make my job easier.
“I think it would also help the players who wouldn’t have the same anxiety due to the fact we have slipped up here this season.”
In the wake of United’s patchy early-season form, it was imperative they made a positive start which they managed as it took barely 60 seconds to make the breakthrough.
Wayne Rooney cut in from the left and saw his shot strike the far upright before bouncing across the face of goal where defender Carlos Martinez, trying to clear the danger, hoofed the ball into his own net from six yards.
It was an excellent start from United as Rooney forced a decent save from keeper Claudio Bravo and then saw a spectacular overhead kick clear the bar. Javier Hernandez also had an effort ruled out for offside.
It took the Spaniards almost half an hour to carve out their first chance, a drive from Haris Seferovic which forced a terrific save from David De Gea.
Shortly before half time there was another let off for United when a free kick from Antoine Griezmann struck the angle of bar and upright.
United needed the cushion of a second goal and it so nearly came soon after the restart when a header from Phil Jones from inside the six-yard box was brilliantly saved by Bravo.
Sociedad went close for a third time when a shot from the left by Alberto de la Bella struck the frame of the goal.
United then struck the woodwork as Antonio Valencia’s drive from the right of the box struck the far upright.
In the last quarter of the match, Rooney had three chances while openings also fell to Shinji Kagawa and substitute Ashley Young which would have sealed victory.
Instead, United were left holding on to a slender one-goal advantage.