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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 25 April, 2018


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*Cue Champions League music*

Manchester United were in Spain tonight but let’s be honest — we were only watching to see Marty and Roy in the ITV studio. Don’t worry, we got to the football afterwards.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Real Sociedad 0-0 Manchester United

Good evening and welcome to’s minute-by-minute coverage of Real Sociedad versus Manchester United in the Champions League.

Ah, who are we kidding? It’s Marty and Roy, live on ITV, now!

O’Neill on Keane: “Personally speaking I think he’ll be great for me, but more importantly for the Republic of Ireland”

Keane: “I’m very excited. I mightn’t look it, but I am!”

Adrian Chiles describes Marty and Roy as yin and yang.

“I think I’m the bad cop and he’s the bad, bad cop,” O’Neill laughs.

BANTZ ALERT: Lee Dixon said he was asked to be kitman but couldn’t agree personal terms. Chiles claims he’s the coach driver.

Now, reluctantly, back to the matter at hand. Here are tonight’s teams:

Real Sociedad: Bravo, Martinez, De la Bella, Bergara, Gonzalez, Inigo Martinez, Ruben Pardo, Zurutuza, Agirretxe, Vela, Griezmann.

Man United: De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Fellaini, Giggs, Kagawa, Rooney, Hernandez.

Five minutes to kick-off so we just have time for a quick reminder of the state of play in Group A. United top the group with seven points while Sociedad are rock bottom on zilch.

Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk, who play in Ukraine tonight, are still in contention on six and four points respectively.

Reader David Elkin has been in touch with this on O’Neill and Keane’s unofficial first appearance as Ireland management:

I was hoping for some more in-depth questions to MO’N and Keane there. I suppose it’s on ITV and their audience don’t really care. But part of me wanted Chiles to interrogate them on their plans and how the dynamic will work. Long shot.

Slightly bizarre for both of them to appear though? It kind of serves as the unofficial press conference for the announcement. Both of them appearing together after the news has broke.

Here are the rest of tonight’s CL fixtures. We’ll keep you up to date with all of the big news as it happens:

  • Juventus vs Real Madrid
  • Copenhagen v Galatasaray
  • PSG v Anderlecht
  • Olympiakos v Benfica
  • Man City v CSKA Moscow
  • Viktoria Plzen v Bayern Munich

KICK OFF: We’re up and running in San Sebastian. A win tonight and United would only need one point from their final two games to guarantee qualification.

There has already been a goal in Manchester — Manchester City lead CSKA Moscow 1-0 thanks to a Sergio Aguero penalty.

5 mins — Chris Smalling decides to step in for a little bit of afters with Sociedad keeper Bravo. It’s only a nudge but still, it’s completely unnecessary and he’s lucky to get away without a stupid booking.

10 mins — Evra, Kagawa and Rooney combine for the first half-chance of the evening. Kagawa’s shot is going well wide but takes a nick on the way through and United have a corner.

Not much else to tell you about yet.

While United continue to dominate possession without creating any real chances, I can tell you that Copenhagen lead Galatasaray 1-0. If you backed Daniel Braaten for first goalscorer, collect your prize at the window.

17 mins – Rooney gives the ball straight to Vela but he shows some good hustle to win it back from Zurutuza before Sociedad’s attack can develop.

19 mins – Evra provides a decoy run on the overlap down the left which gives Kagawa time and space to shoot from the edge of the box. He stings Bravo’s palms but the keeper gathers at the second attempt.

It looks fairly certain that United will score tonight but how long that will take is anyone’s guess…

At least one Manchester club are having no problems in front of goal tonight. Twenty minutes in and Sergio Aguero has made it Manchester City 2-0 CSKA Moscow.

Ever get that feeling that you’re watching the wrong match?

26 mins — Wayne Rooney has a bit of a nibble at the ankles of Inigo Martinez who, I can confirm, is not the lad from The Princess Bride. I checked.

Our Italian ref seems more interested in telling Martinez to get to his feet than in taking any action against Rooney.

28 mins — A SNIFTER of a chance for Sociedad. Agirretxe traps the ball and lays it off to Zurutuza on the wing. When it’s crossed back into him inside the box, he snatches at the chance and puts it harmlessly wide.

Back in Lancashire it’s Manchester City 3-0 CSKA Moscow, Negredo with City’s third on the half-hour.

Is that on the red button? This is definitely going to end in dull 1-0 or 2-0 win for United.

36 mins — Nervy moment for United as Vidic bumps into De la Bella and appears to land awkwardly. He’s a hardy lad though, don’t you be worried about him.

40 mins — Five minutes to the break after a pretty uninspiring first half. Sociedad have tried to string a few passes together in the last 1o minutes but United are in total control without really looking too dangerous.

SCORE VIDAL! Juve lead Real Madrid 1-0 and yup, you’ve guessed it, it’s Arturo Vidal with the goal.

44 mins – Sociedad threaten to finish the half on a high as Vela gets in behind Evra and makes for goal. Fortunately for the Frenchman, Vidic gets across to stop the attack.

45 mins — CHANCE! De la Bella ends the half with a scare for United as he curls a shot just outside de Gea’s post. The keeper was unsighted but the shot was just off target.

HALF TIME: Real Sociedad 0-0 Manchester United

First-half analysis: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Back in Manchester, it’s City 3-1 CSKA Moscow. Doumbia gets one back for the Russians on the stroke of half-time. God forbid we’d have a goal in San Sebastian.

Before I go to make myself a cup of tea, here are the half-times from across Europe:

  • Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen
  • Real Sociedad 0-0 Man Utd
  • Juventus 1-0 Real Madrid
  • Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray
  • PSG 0-0 Anderlecht
  • Olympiakos 1-0 Benfica
  • Man City 3-1 CSKA Moscow
  • Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Bayern Munich

SECOND HALF: We’re up and running again. It can’t be any worse, can it?

50 mins — AN ACTUAL CHANCE! Holy moly, Hernandez misses a sitter. It’s not quite as bad as his horror show against the USA a couple of weeks ago but it’s not great either.

Kagawa does really well to outthink his marker and get a low ball across the face of the Sociedad goal. It’s a six-yard tap-in for Pea Boy but he somehow manages to put it over the bar. That’s poor… but at least we’ve something to talk about other than my cup of tea.

Manchester City 4-1 CSKA Moscow: Negredo. That’s all you need to know.

And it’s Juventus 1-1 Real Madrid: that boy Ronaldo equalises on 51 minutes.

While I was gathering scores from the other games, there was half a penalty shout from United. Kagawa went down under a challenge from Martinez but it would have been harsh on Sociedad to call it a foul.

60 mins — Sociedad are caught on the back foot and Rooney tries to free Hernandez off the shoulder of the last man. The pass is overhit though, and even at that, Hernandez had strayed offside.

We’re about to see some substitutions. ‘citing.

DOUBLE SUB FOR UNITED: Rooney and Hernandez off, van Persie and Young on.

65 mins — The two subs very nearly combine with instant results. Ashley Young gets down the left and plays a low ball across the Sociedad goal, almost identical to the one that Hernandez skied a few minutes ago.

This time however it’s van Persie at the back post and he does much better, rattling the post with Bravo well beaten.

ALL OF THE GOALS are coming in Turin. Gareth Bale puts Madrid ahead on the hour mark but Llorente has equalised and it’s Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid.

68 mins – Van Persie turns his marker inside out in the box. It looks like he’s thinking about a shot but instead he tries to pull it back to Kagawa on the penalty spot, but it’s just behind him and the chance is lost.

PENALTY FOR MAN UNITED! Uh oh, Sociedad are in trouble. Bergara has a slight tug on Ashley Young’s arm and that’s enough for our Italian ref to point to the spot.

It will be Robin van Persie…

SAVED! Or is it? It’s not in the back of the net anyway.

Van Persie leathers one, Bravo guesses right, but the replay shows that the ball comes off the inside of the post and bounces clear.

For all their dominance United are making very, very hard work of this.

75 mins – Ooooh. A quick corner catches United off-guard and Sociedad nearly have the game’s opening goal. The substitute Xabi Prieto shoots and it takes a nick off Carlos Vela who tried to chest it past de Gea.

It could go anywhere. Thankfully for United, it’s over the bar.

Just over five minutes to play in San Sebastian. Can United find a winner?

I wish I had something more to tell you… but I don’t.

“A difficult Manchester United performance to assess,” Clive Tyldesley suggests.

“Ordinary,” says Andy Townsend.

(Yeah, I switched on ITV to watch Marty and Roy and lost the controller. It’s been a bad night all round.)

RED CARD! Well well well… Marouane Fellaini picks up a second yellow for clipping Zurutuza and he’s off. This hasn’t been a complete non-event so.

Substitution: Phil Jones comes on for Kagawa for the final few minutes. We’ll have three minutes of stoppage time.

FULL TIME: Real Sociedad 0-0 Manchester United

The full-time whistle might actually be the highlight of the last two hours.

If you’re a United fan looking for positives, they’re still unbeaten, still on top of Group A, and still masters of their own destiny.

If you’re looking for negatives, well you probably don’t need my help.

Before I leave you, here’s a full round-up of tonight’s results:

  • Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen
  • Real Sociedad 0-0 Man Utd
  • Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid
  • Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray
  • PSG 1-1 Anderlecht
  • Olympiakos 1-0 Benfica
  • Man City 5-2 CSKA Moscow
  • Viktoria Plzen 0-1 Bayern Munich

The final word goes to Brendan Daly on the United penalty:

Everyone I think loves to win with a bit of controversy, was he offside, was it a penalty, the side on ‘correct’ decision say it was 100% correct while all around throw their hands and eyes up in despair. It is all part of the fun of the game, but no one, in their right mind would have given young a pen for that, and I am a utd fan. As far as I am concerned, he has embarrassed himself, team, fans and club

That’s all from me. I’m off to lie down.

Thanks for reading.

About the author:

Niall Kelly