Man Utd will have to play in the Europa League knockout round play-offs after Real Sociedad edged them out by a single goal to secure top spot in Group E.
Both sides were already assured of progress from Group E ahead of the San Sebastian showdown, but September’s shock Old Trafford defeat to the LaLiga side meant United travelled to Spain in second spot.
Garnacho’s superb goal got the Red Devils off to a dream start as they sought to usurp the hosts, but they struggled in the second half as Sociedad held tight for a 1-0 loss that means they top the group on goal difference.
Erik ten Hag’s runners-up will now have to play an extra round in mid-February against a side dropping out of the Champions League, with Barcelona, Juventus and his former club Ajax among the potential opponents.
La Real progress straight to the last-16 on a night that was only 17 minutes old Garnacho overtook George Best as United’s youngest non-English goalscorer in European competition with a lovely finish.
Cristiano Ronaldo provided a fine assist for the 18-year-old’s first senior goal and lifted narrowly over towards the end of a first half that ended with David De Gea producing an excellent double save.
But Ten Hag’s side were unable to build on that solid start, with defender Harry Maguire brought on as makeshift striker in a desperate – and ultimately fruitless – attempt to snatch the second goal they needed.
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