Real Sociedad defeated Manchester United 1-0 in their Europa League Group E opener on Thursday, following an impeccably observed tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.
Before kickoff, Old Trafford fell silent to honor Her Majesty, who died earlier that day at the age of 96, and players from both teams wore black armbands in tribute to the monarch.
Cristiano Ronaldo, making his second start of the season, came close on several occasions for the hosts, who had only three shots on target throughout the game.
Mendez slotted home from 12 yards after substitute Lisandro Martinez had handled in the area, snapping the Red Devils’ four-game winning streak.
United were clearly the better team in the first 30 minutes, but they failed to create any clear opportunities.
Ronaldo thought he had given his team the lead 10 minutes before the break, but his powerful header was ruled out for being offside.
After the restart, the Portuguese superstar inexplicably headed wide with the goal at his mercy, before lashing just over from outside the penalty area.
La Real took the lead in the 58th minute when Mendez scored from the penalty spot after David Silva’s shot struck Martinez’s arm.
Erik ten Hag introduced Bruno Fernandes at halftime, followed by Jadon Sancho and Alejandro Garnacho in the second half, but United were unable to break through the visitors’ tenacious defense in the closing stages.
What does it imply? The home run by United has come to an end.
This was United’s first defeat in 19 Europa League home matches, dating back to a victory over FC Midtjylland in February 2016.
Meanwhile, it was La Real’s first-ever win in Europe against English opponents at the seventh attempt.
Mendez stands out.
Mendez put in a hardworking performance that earned him the match victory. The former Celta Vigo man scored with one of two shots, the most of any La Real player, and his total of two key passes was unrivaled on the pitch.
Antony is having difficulty.
Antony made his debut against Arsenal at Old Trafford last weekend, but the former Ajax man was a quiet presence here. He only had one shot and didn’t make a single key pass before being replaced by Sancho with 20 minutes left.
What comes next?
On Sunday, both teams return to domestic action, with United hosting Crystal Palace in the Premier League and La Real hosting Getafe in LaLiga.