Europa League 2022: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United STUNNED by Real Sociedad, Arsenal win

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the starting lineup but Real Sociedad still upset Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford in their Europa League 2022 opener on Thursday (September 8). After failing to secure a transfer to a Champions League club, the star striker had to settle for playing in Europe’s second-tier competition for the first time since 2002 with Sporting Lisbon.

Ronaldo had last started in a 4-0 loss to Brentford on August 13 before United chalked up four consecutive victories in the Premier League. United manager Erik ten Hag had used the Portugal star off the bench during the winning streak.

Before their opening group stage game, a minute of silence was held to pay respect to Queen Elizabeth II, who died at the age of 96 on Thursday. Both teams wore black armbands, and the flags at Old Trafford were at half-mast.

“The club recognizes her immense contribution to public life, including sport, both here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world,” United said in a statement.

Brazilian teenager Marquinhos marked his Arsenal debut by scoring the opening goal and setting up a second in a 2-1 victory over Zurich in the their opening group stage match. Eddie Nketiah scored the winner after Zurich equalized from a penalty awarded due to his foul as Arsenal rebounded from Sunday’s 3-1 loss to United — their first defeat in the Premier League this season.

Lazio opened its campaign with a 4-2 victory over Feyenoord but fellow Italian club Roma lost 2-1 at Ludogorets in Bulgaria. In the third-tier Europa Conference League, West Ham rallied in the second half to beat Romania’s FCSB 3-1 in London.

Elsewhere, Villarreal beat Lech Poznan 4-3 while Fiorentina was held 1-1 at home by Latvian champion RFS.

The start of a match between Nice and Cologne in the ECL was delayed because of fights among supporters in the stands at Allianz Riviera stadium. Kickoff was pushed back by 55 minutes. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Brais Méndez converted from the spot for Real Sociedad in the second half at Old Trafford, hitting the bottom corner of David de Gea’s goal. The penalty was given for a handball by defender Lisandro Martinez. It was Real Sociedad’s first win over United in European competitions. The duo of Nketiah and Marquinhos were involved in the decisive moments of Arsenal’s victory while United States goalkeeper Matt Turner made his debut for the Gunners following his summer transfer from the New England Revolution in the Major League Soccer.

(with PTI inputs)

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