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UEFA Champions League
November 5, 2013
• Estadio Municipal de Anoeta, Donostia-San Sebastián
Referee: N. Rizzoli
• Attendance: 30998
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells, today. Thanks for following tonight's action and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Until next time, farewell!
Manchester United, meanwhile, will be disappointed with how tonight went. Though they enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half, they failed to make anything happen. It was quite the opposite in the second as, while their dominance decreased, they enjoyed the better of the chances and will be frustrated that they were unable to convert. Still, they remain in the driving seat going into the final couple of the games and will be confident of qualifying.
Real Sociedad will be pleased with tonight's performance as, though it leaves them with a solitary point from four games, their performance leaves cause for optimism approaching the final two games in Group A. Although they came into the game more in the second half, they can still, perhaps, consider themselves lucky to take a point away, particularly given Van Persie's penalty miss.
90' + 3'
And that's that! The referee brings an end to proceedings as United endure a troublesome night in Spain to come away from this one with a point - it finishes 0-0.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Castro attempts a quite ridiculous 35 yard strike as we approach the end of the game; his shot is high, wide and never troubling De Gea.
90' + 1'
Seferovic is given a chance to make something happen as he's given the ball in the box by Prieto but his first touch is woeful and, though he shoots with his second, it's too little, too late as the substitute can only find the side netting.
Yellow/Red Marouane Fellaini
Kagawa is replaced by Jones as Moyes looks to shore up his midfield in Fellaini's absence. A real turnaround for United as they now look to hold onto a point in the final few minutes in Spain.
Fellaini is sent off! Matters go from bad to worse for United as the Belgian is given a second yellow for a trip on Zurutuza. He can have no complaints, in all honesty, as he's treaded a fine line since receiving that booking in the first half.
Valencia and Van Persie attempt to work something together but, after the latter receives it on the edge of the area, he tries to do a little too much but is eventually crowded out. It looks like this contest could remain goalless.
Martinez endures a tumultuous minute or so as he, first of all, dispossesses Evra before overpowering Young and going on a surging run down the right. That, however, is swiftly followed by a quite awful pass, which gifts United possession and leaves the right back out of position.
The away side are enjoying the lion's share of possession as we enter the final five minutes of this hard-fought contest. Seferovic puts Vidic under some concerted pressure but the Serb does well to shake it off, playing back to De Gea in the United goal.
United attempt to push forward but the move falls through and, though Castro appeals for a free kick after Valencia appears to impede him, the referee doesn't see anything worth giving and play proceeds.
Van Persie attempts to roll Gonzalez from an Evra throw but is deemed to have impeded the centre back and Sociedad have a free kick with about eight minutes remaining on the clock.
Inigio Martinez finds some space in the area and heads Vela's cross goalwards. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, he gets a little too much on it and its behind for a goal kick.
Seferovic gets his first taste of the action down the left as Sociedad attempt to work something in the closing stages. The move culminates with fellow substitute Castro finding himself at the byline, though Fellaini makes a timely intervention, putting it behind for a corner.
Kagawa, looking much more comfortable in that no.10 role, swings the ball out left to Young. The winger crosses it in and it falls to Valencia in the box, he shoots but he drags his shot and Gonzalez is there to clear the ball behind. That was a decent opportunity.
Vela crosses the ball in but, in actual fact, ends up crossing it 'out', putting it directly behind for a goal kick. Seferovic replaces the disappointing Griezmann as Sociedad use their final substitution.
Sociedad continue to threaten, as they have done fairly regularly in this second half, and Valencia is forced to intervene defensively, putting the ball behind for a corner as De La Bella gets forward down the left.
United are caught a bit short defensively on the counter and Griezmann attempts to profit with an early ball to substitute Castro, who is rapidly advancing towards the far post. Ferdinand does well to divert the ball back to his goalkeeper, however, and the danger is gone.
Young, getting forward down the left once more, cuts inside and whips a cross into the area. It's deflected behind and the same man prepares to cross a ball into the box.
Sociedad go close! Substitute Prieto receives it short in the box and shoots. Vela, intuitively, attempts to chest the ball goalwards but can only succeed in diverting the ball over the bar. Unlucky!
Smalling wins a header quite emphatically, beating Vela to a clearance from Bravo and flooring the man in the process. The referee deems it fair and the play continues.
The game has opened up slightly following that penalty miss as United, and Van Persie, look to atone for that missed opportunity. They're probing in and around the Sociedad half but nothing doing as Bravo claims a Kagawa cross astutely.
Missed Penalty Robin van Persie
And Van Persie hits the post! The Dutchman tries to find the right corner, striking cleanly but gets it slightly wrong, rattling the woodwork. Sociedad smuggle the ball clear and the score remains goalless!
Yellow Card Markel Bergara
It's a penalty! And it's Ashley Young who's earned it! The Englishman linked up with Kagawa well before going down after the slightest of tugs from Bergara. There was minimal contact but it's a penalty nonetheless. Van Persie steps up...
Kagawa and Van Persie link up really well, the former setting the latter away with a lovely through ball under pressure. The Dutchman then tried to return the favour but his cutback was just behind his teammate as the chance goes begging.
Bravo is forced to come out and clear as Van Persie almost manages to seize upon an underhit backpass. The goalkeeper did well to spot the danger early there.
Vela, now operating upfront in Agirretxe's absence, attempts a speculative effort from distance but it goes spectacularly awry, flying well over the bar.
The changes almost make an instant impact as Van Persie hits the post! Kagawa does really well to work it out to Young on the left, before the winger finds his fellow substitute at the backpost. The Dutchman, on his right, can only find the woodwork however. United were unlucky there!
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
Robin van Persie
It appears as though Kagawa is set to operate in his favoured no.10 role now that Rooney has departed, with Young on the left and Van Persie operating on his own upfront.
Somewhat surprisingly, Rooney makes way for Van Persie, while Chicharito also comes off, being replaced by Ashley Young. Sociedad also make a change as Prieto comes on for Agirretxe.
Kagawa sets Evra away down the left and, though the Japan international gives his teammate a lot to do, the Frenchman lives up to the challenge, keeping the ball in and retaining possession for United, though Giggs soon gives it away.
Fellaini is given a talking to as things threaten to get a little heated after a foul is given against the Belgian. One suspects he might be one of the players set to make way, particularly as he's on a booking.
The tempo that pervaded the first half continues to persist in this second half, albeit with Sociedad now the team more in control of proceedings. Several players are stripped off for United as they look to reinvigorate their side in this second period.
The Sociedad support aren't happy as Smalling goes in, somewhat overzealously, on Bergara, sliding in with some force. He's perhaps lucky to escape a booking as the referee shows some leniency.
Giggs puts a lovely ball through to Kagawa down the left and, though the Japan international found himself in space, he couldn't capitalise as his cross is blocked. It is, however, put behind for a corner that Rooney looks to whip into the box.
Valencia runs at De La Bella down the right wing but is deemed to impede the left back after the Sociedad player goes down under duress from the winger. That appeared soft, in all honesty.
Inigo Martinez is, once again, unhappy as he feels that Valencia left his boot in after the centre back won possession from the winger. There's nothing in it though and, as with in the first half, the Spaniard is told to get on with it.
Kagawa appeals for a penalty, somewhat half-heartedly, as he goes down under pressure from Gonzalez in the area. It would be incredibly soft, however, and nothing is given.
The delivery is poor and, though Griezmann attempts to flick it on, he only succeeds in flicking the ball out for a goal kick. Disappointing, though Sociedad continue to look the better of the two teams in this second half, despite that Chicharito opportunity.
Evra gives away a foul in a dangerous position, bringing down Vela after the forward nutmegged him. A booking is doled out to the Frenchman as Pardo looks to whip in the free kick.
Yellow Card Patrice Evra
What a miss from Chicharito! That is a shocking miss from the Mexican. Kagawa does really well to cut the ball across the area and the striker is there to meet it but, to everyone's surprise, he miscues his effort completely, putting it well over the bar.
Rooney attempts to beat Martinez down the left but the right back steps across him, putting his body in the way adeptly and claiming possession for his side. It's worked inside where Fellaini fouls to give Sociedad a free kick - the Belgian has to be careful here, he's already on a booking.
Sociedad continue to show more attacking intent in this second half as Zurutuza puts a cross into the area. Evra heads away but this is probably the home side's strongest period of play in the whole game.
Real Sociedad have started this half in the ascendancy as Vela almost manages to get in behind the United defence. Evra tracks him well, however, and intercepts before clearing the danger astutely.
Zurutuza gets things off to a poor start for Sociedad, conceding possession with a poor pass that Evra duly intercepts. Sociedad do end up regaining possession though and, from De La Bella's eventual cross, it falls to Pardo on the edge of the area. He shoots but his shot is hopeful and flies wide of the far post.
And Real Sociedad get us back underway! The home side kick off proceedings in the second half as they look to secure their first points in this Champions League group.
Both teams are back out on the pitch now; let's hope for a more exciting second half!
Manchester United, meanwhile, will be both pleased and displeased with their first-half showing. Though they too looked fairly comfortable and enjoyed the lion's share of possession, they never overtly threatened their opposition and looked devoid of imagination and invention in the final third. Moyes will be imploring his more creative forces - the likes of Rooney and Kagawa - to create some chances or changes will have to be made; let's see if United can create something in the second half!
Real Sociedad will be fairly pleased with that half, all things considered. Though they were by no means the dominant force of the two sides, that is to be expected when facing the likes of Manchester United, and they will be pleased that they managed to curtail their opposition's attacking threat. They were never overly troubled by the away side and will be looking for more of the same, though perhaps with added attacking threat, in the second half.
And the referee draws an end to what, in all honesty, has been a fairly cagey first half! It's 0-0 at the break.
De la Bella goes close! After receiving a ball on the left wing, he cut inside Valencia all too easily before having a speculative pop at goal from distance. The effort is fairly tame but it almost sneaks in at the back post!
A rare sign of danger for the Manchester United defence materialises as Vela appears to find himself in behind the Red Devils backline. Vidic does exceptionally well to spot the danger though and tackles the former Arsenal man astutely, putting behind for a corner.
Giggs tries to find Chicharito with a ball over the top but it isn't quite angled enough and it runs through to the Real Sociedad goalkeeper.
As both sets of full backs continue in their attempts to get forward, Evra, once again, gets forward down the left and puts a cross into the area. The cross is fairly tame and is duly cleared but he's getting into some decent positions here, the French left back.
Sociedad, enjoying a positive spell in the last few minutes, whip in a cross through Carlos Vela down the right and De Gea, for the first time in this game, fails to claim convincingly. The Spaniard instead flaps at the ball, putting it behind for a corner.
Inigo Martinez attempts to set the advancing De la Belle in down the left with a through ball but the left back doesn't have the pace to get on the end of the pass.
Carlos Martinez gets into another dangerous position down the right but his eventual cross is too close to De Gea and the Spaniard claims once more. Strangely, the Sociedad right back has been the home side's most prevalent threat in this first half.
Kagawa, who hasn't enjoyed a particularly strong half thus far, drives a dangerous ball into the area and Chicharito, in his inimitable fashion, is almost first to it. Inigo sees it too though and the defender slides in, just beating the Mexican to it and putting it behind for a corner.
Carlos Martinez almost gets Vela in behind the United ranks after a driving run down the right. Vidic reads the play characteristically well though and any potential danger is averted.
United earn another corner, this time through the industrious work of Evra down the left. Rooney whips it in but it's too long and it trickles out for a goal kick.
Giggs tries to make something happen with a driving run into the Sociedad area, but the home team's ranks are too densely packed and he ends up playing it back to Kagawa. United are struggling to break Sociedad down at the minute.
Manchester United really are struggling with their final ball at the moment; Fellaini attempts to find Hernandez but his pass is poor and Sociedad claim possession.
United continue to probe in the Sociedad half, working it out to Smalling on the right wing. The right back's cross is overhit, however, and it's out for a throw in.
Yellow Card Marouane Fellaini
United stroke the ball around between their defenders and Vidic, perhaps a mite frustrated, attempts to find Valencia with a long ball but fails, instead finding the feet of Inigo Martinez.
Fellaini is adjudged to have fouled Bergara as he gets himself into trouble with a lax touch. It's deemed worthy of a booking, perhaps slightly harshly, by the referee.
Fellaini earns his side a corner with some sterling hold-up play down the right wing, holding off his man before playing it off the same defender, giving his team an opportunity to profit from a set piece.
Real Sociedad have their first chance of the game and it's Agirretxe who spurns it. It's nice play leading up to it but, as Zurutuza finds him in the area, the striker snatched at the effort, putting it well wide of the United goal.
The home support are none too pleased with Rooney after the striker has a swipe at Martinez as the centre back turns the Englishman. That was a rash challenge but the referee deems it unworthy of a booking, choosing instead to lecture the clearly irritated Sociedad centre back as his complaints are slightly too vehement in his eyes.
It's Sociedad's turn to enjoy a spell of possession now, though that is brought to a swift end as Vela dallies on the ball about 35 yards from the United goal. Fellaini tackles the Mexican and United have possession once more.
Fellaini wins a goal kick, flicking the ball on in an attempt to find Hernandez but Martinez sees the danger, seizing upon the ball before laying it back to Bravo. The backpass is slightly short but the goalkeeper manages to smuggle the ball clear.
A scrappy period of play, involving a poor clearance from Bravo in the Sociedad goal, is turned into a swift counter attack from the home side as it's eventually worked out to Agirretxe on the right wing. His cross is blocked by Vidic but that was better from Real Sociedad.
United's struggle to capitalise on their possession continues as Rooney fails to control a ball from Chicharito about 40 yards from goal, gifting Martinez possession.
A rare bright moment for Sociedad as Griezmann nutmegs Fellaini astutely in the middle of the park. His eventual pass goes astray, however, and United have possession once more.
Kagawa has another strike after some more neat interplay affords the Japanese midfielder some space on the edge of the area. It's a good idea but the effort is fairly tame and Bravo gathers the ball comfortably.
Vela, drifting over to the left wing, attempts to take on Smalling but the stand-in right back does well to outstrength the former Arsenal man and see the ball behind for a goal kick.
United, once again, attempt to profit down the left flank but Evra overhits his attempted pass to Kagawa and the ball, much to the Japan international's evident disappointment, goes out for a throw in.
Carlos Martinez and Vela try to work the ball down the right but Kagawa, backtracking, gets his foot in and knocks it out for a throw. The former receives the throw short and whips in an early ball but De Gea does well to come and claim.
This game, in truth, has yet to really get going. Both sides are sounding each other out and, though the away side have looked comfortable in possession, Real Sociedad have yet to be particularly troubled.
Real Sociedad come forward through De la Belle down the left wing but the left back's attempted early cross is blocked with ease by Ferdinand.
United continue to enjoy the lion's share of possession but, unfortunately for the visitors, also continue in their struggles to profit from said possession. Valencia is dealt with well by De la Belle as the left back earns his side a throw.
A foul is given against Kagawa as he impedes Ruben Pardo in an attempt to clear the ball and Sociedad now have a free kick in a potentially dangerous area. The free kick is poor though and De Gea claims with consummate ease.
United have their first effort of the game but Kagawa skews his effort just wide. That was the product of some more neat interplay down the left, Evra eventually finding Rooney in the box, who duly laid it off to his Japanese teammate. The midfielder's effort was going wide but it's helped on its way by a Sociedad defender and the Red Devils have a corner.
Sociedad enjoy a rare spell of possession, earning a throw in down the left wing as De la Bella's attempted through ball to the dangerous Griezmann is cut out adeptly by Smalling.
Some nice interplay between Chicharito and Giggs down the left ends when the latter overhits an attempted through ball to Evra. Encouraging signs from United, they just need to get that final pass right.
Though United have started in the ascendancy, enjoying the majority of possession and looking the more assertive of the two teams, they have yet to break through the Sociedad ranks. Valencia attempts to do just that, coming in off the right but his pass to Rooney goes astray.
Sociedad don't deal with the free kick particularly convincingly, Bravo dropping the ball but manages to claim it just before Chicharito can nick in. The goalkeeper is then knocked over by Smalling but there's nothing particularly malicious in it and the players are encouraged to get on with it by the referee.
United have started a little on the sluggish side, Rooney putting Valencia in trouble with an underhit pass. United win possession again though, eventually earning a free kick that Giggs whips into the box.
Ferdinand lofts the ball towards Chicharito but Inigo dummys it, letting it run through to Bravo in the Sociedad goal. The away side going to have to use possession better than that if they're to break down their opposition tonight.
Giggs, a couple of weeks shy of his 40th birthday, plays it out left to Kagawa as United enjoy a spell of early possession. The latter must be keen to impress tonight - he hasn't enjoyed the most fruitful of starts to the season.
The game is halted early doors as Hernandez and Inigo Martinez collide within the opening minute; the Mexican actually caught the centre back with his elbow there but it looked unintentional. He shakes off the knock and we are up and running again.
And we're underway! Manchester United kick off proceedings tonight as they look to claim their second win in two weeks against their Spanish counterparts.
Both sets of players are out on the pitch now as we are minutes away from kick off at the Anoeta Stadium!
David Moyes makes wholesale changes from the side that romped to a comprehensive 3-1 win over Fulham on Saturday; Rafael and Jonny Evans miss out through injury, meaning that Chris Smalling and Rio Ferdinand return to start in defence, while Chicharito is favoured to Robin van Persie upfront. Marouane Fellaini, Ryan Giggs and Shinji Kagawa also come into the starting line-up as Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones and Adnan Janujaz are all omitted from the first eleven.
Real Sociedad start a similar side to the team that fell to a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford two weeks ago, though striker Imanol Agirretxe and midfielder Ruben Pardo do come in to replace Haris Seferovic and Xabi Prieto in what appear to be like-for-like switches as they retain a similar system.
Manchester United: De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Fellaini, Giggs, Kagawa; Rooney, Chicharito. Subs: Lindegaard, Jones, Buttner, Anderson, Nani, Young, Van Persie.
Real Sociedad: Bravo; C. Martinez, M. Gonzalez, I. Martinez, De la Bella; Bergara, Pardo, Zurutuza; Vela, Agirretxe; Griezmann. Subs: Zubikarai, Elustondo, Seferovic, Prieto, Ansotegui, Castro, Cadamuro.
And here come the team line-ups:
David Moyes will be hoping his team can do a professional job tonight, though with a depleted squad (Michael Carrick and Rafael, among others, haven't travelled due to injury) and finding themselves up against an in-form side, that is no small task – this could be a cracker!
Manchester United, meanwhile, have been enjoying a resurgence of their own in recent weeks. If they were to claim a win tonight, it would not only, in all likelihood, prove sufficient to take them through to the next stage, but also provide their fifth consecutive wins in all competition. With United still some way off the pace in the league, the last thing they need is an early European exit to exacerbate their (perhaps overly perpetuated) problems.
As such, stakes are high and they'll be looking for a better performance than that which saw them fall to a fairly disspiriting 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford two weeks ago if they are to keep their European journey alive here.
Real Sociedad come into this game off the back of some sterling form in the league; though they were late starters, they've experienced a hot streak of late, garnering seven points from their last three games, capping their run with an emphatic 5-0 win against Osasuna on Saturday. That mauling leaves them looking in good shape for this contest – a contest that could conceivably knock them out of the Champions League should their English counterparts claim all three points.
Good evening and welcome to live coverage of tonight's Champions League clash between Real Sociedad and Manchester United, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through tonight's proceedings.
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