A Brais Mendez penalty helped Real Sociedad beat Manchester United 1-0 in their Europa League Group E opener on Thursday, which followed an impeccably observed tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. 

Old Trafford fell silent before kick-off to honour Her Majesty, who died earlier in the day at the age of 96, while players from both sides wore black armbands in tribute to the monarch.

Cristiano Ronaldo – making just his second start of the season – went close on a number of occasions for the hosts, who registered just three shots on target in the whole game.

The Red Devils' four-game winning streak was ended shortly before the hour mark when Mendez slotted home from 12 yards after substitute Lisandro Martinez had handled in the area.

United were comfortably the better side in the opening 30 minutes, yet they failed to carve out any clear opportunities.

Ronaldo thought he had given his side the lead 10 minutes before the interval, but his powerful header was ruled out after he had strayed into an offside position.

The Portuguese superstar inexplicably headed wide with the goal at his mercy immediately after the restart, before lashing just over from outside the penalty area.

La Real went ahead in the 58th minute when Mendez powered home from the spot after David Silva's shot had struck Martinez's arm.

Erik ten Hag brought on Bruno Fernandes at half-time, and Jadon Sancho and Alejandro Garnacho in the second half, but United were unable to find a way past the visitors' stubborn backline in the closing stages.  


What does it mean? United's home run comes to an end

This defeat was United's first in 19 home matches in the Europa League – a run that started with victory over FC Midtjylland in February 2016. 

Meanwhile, it was La Real's first-ever win against English opponents in Europe at the seventh time of asking. 

Mendez shines 

Mendez put in an industrious display and deserved his status as match winner. The former Celta Vigo man scored with one of two shots – the most of any La Real player – while his total of two key passes was not bettered by any other player on the pitch. 

Antony struggles

Antony lit up Old Trafford with a debut goal against Arsenal at the weekend, but the former Ajax man was a subdued presence here. He had just one shot and failed to make a single key pass before he was replaced by Sancho with 20 minutes remaining.  

What's next?

Both sides return to domestic action on Sunday, with United away to Crystal Palace in the Premier League and La Real visiting Getafe in LaLiga.

Manchester United don't want to be in the Europa League, though they have become a little more familiar with UEFA's second-tier competition in recent years.

Nevertheless, this is the first time since the 2019-20 season that they've entered the Europa League in the group stage and there were positives to take from that campaign.

Those positives generally revolved around United being able to give young players the chance to impress.

Tahith Chong, Axel Tuanzebe, Angel Gomes, Brandon Williams, James Garner, Largie Ramazani, Ethan Galbraith, D'Mani Mellor, Dylan Levitt, Ethan Laird and Di'Shon Bernard all got opportunities to play in that group stage, with many of them making their debuts.

Granted, a scan of that list doesn't show many players who've gone on to become regulars at United – a few remain at the club but are either down the pecking order or unlikely to have long-term futures, while Garner recently joined Everton and Gomes and Ramazani are impressing elsewhere in Europe.

United allowed a lot of players to leave the club on permanent deals and loans in the most recent transfer window, so there is every reason to expect any youngsters given chances in the group may not be familiar faces.

Ahead of Thursday's group opener against Real Sociedad, Stats Perform takes a look at the young talents who might emerge for United over the next few months.

On the fringes

United fans will hope the Europa League final provides them with an opportunity to see Facundo Pellistri in action. The Uruguayan winger joined the club nearly two years ago but hasn't played a single minute of competitive action, and neither of his loan spells at Deportivo Alaves were particularly impressive.

He caught the eye in pre-season last year but was still shipped out – he made a couple of appearances this time around before suffering an injury, which also ended any plans for another loan spell.

But if there's any South American winger likely to stake his claim for more first-team minutes, it's Alejandro Garnacho. The 18-year-old has already played for the senior side, including once this term, and has been a regular among the substitutes for Erik ten Hag.

An explosive, direct winger, Garnacho appears to be one of the most talented players to come through at United in recent years.

Such statements had been reserved for Shola Shoretire until fairly recently. The gifted – albeit diminutive – forward became United's youngest ever player in European competition (17 years, 23 days) when appearing against Thursday's opposition in February 2021, so he still has time on his side, but he hasn't really kicked on since in terms of collecting first-team minutes.

Having said that, United reportedly shelved plans for him to go on loan just before the transfer window closed, with Ten Hag apparently keen to keep him around until January – perhaps an opportunity or two is around the corner?

Out to make a name

It's fair to say United have a lot of promising talent coming through at the moment. Among those yet to play for the senior side, Kobbie Mainoo looks the biggest prospect of them all.

Only 17, Mainoo is an elegant playmaker who possesses exceptional technical attributes – he ran the show as United's Under-21s beat Carlisle United's first-team 2-1 in the EFL Trophy last week and has been training with Ten Hag's main squad ahead of Thursday's match.

Mainoo's by no means the only midfielder exciting people at Old Trafford, though. Isak Hansen-Aaroen courted attention in pre-season when a pre-match photo showing his impressive tattoo collection went viral on social media – at the time he was 17, though there is no 18-plus restriction on body art in his native Norway.

Unbeknownst to many of those sharing the photo, Hansen-Aaroen is an extremely gifted and versatile player capable of featuring in midfield and attack. He's quick, a wonderful dribbler, creative and difficult to knock off the ball. He's clearly already got Ten Hag's attention as he featured briefly against Rayo Vallecano in pre-season – a competitive debut certainly isn't out of the question this season.

Former Manchester City youngster Charlie McNeill is another who has been training with the seniors this week. Something of a goal machine at youth level, the 18-year-old is a well-rounded striker who works hard and possesses strong associative attributes. Given Anthony Martial's continued absence, McNeill could be an understudy to Cristiano Ronaldo in Europe over the next few weeks.

Charlie Savage, son of former Wales international Robbie Savage, made his first-team debut under Ralf Rangnick last season – as did Zidane Iqbal. The two midfielders both have plenty of potential, with the former possessing some of the bite his dad was renowned for, and each will be hopeful of kicking on after a brief introduction to senior football in 2021-22.

Diogo Dalot hailed Antony's instant impact at Manchester United and backed the winger to "adapt quickly", with the partnership made easier between the pair due to their native Portuguese language.

Former Ajax winger Antony, who United paid an initial £81.3million (€95m) for, scored just three days after moving to Old Trafford as he netted in Sunday's 3-1 win over Arsenal.

That strike made Antony, aged 22 years and 192 days, the youngest Brazilian to score on his Premier League debut for any team.

Dalot operated at right-back behind the 22-year-old, the Portugal international starting his sixth game in succession for United, which suggests he may be Erik ten Hag's preferred option going forward.

While the pair hail from different countries, they both speak Portuguese – a factor that Dalot believes will help Antony settle into life in Manchester.

"I mean I think you could see the impact he had straight away in our team," Dalot said of his team-mate as United prepare to face Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday. 

"It will take time for us to adapt to each other, but I think he adapted really quickly in the few days that he had in training and especially in the game [3-1 win over Arsenal].

"Obviously it makes it a little bit easier for me to speak to him in Portuguese, it comes out a little bit quicker than English.

"But I think he's a very good kid, very open to getting help as well, which is good, I think he'll adapt quickly. Everybody welcomed him as if he'd been here a long time, and I'm sure he'll be very successful."

Antony is not the only Brazilian to arrive for Ten Hag's side, with Casemiro leaving Real Madrid to join United, who have also brought in the likes of Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia.

Those new signings appear to be settling in, with United recording four straight Premier League victories after opening with two defeats, including a 4-0 hammering at Brentford.

Ten Hag has constantly reiterated United are far from the finished article – sitting fifth in the embryonic Premier League table, just three points behind leaders Arsenal – and Dalot is glad to see an upturn in form.

"It's always difficult when you lose games. Obviously, the mood is not the same, but in our heads we always come here every day to give 100 per cent, to get better in every aspect that we can," he added.

"After Brentford, we had a full week to prepare for a game we knew would be difficult. We won it, it's in the past, now we want to focus on tomorrow, and do the same thing every day, give 100 per cent and win games."

Dalot started just 19 league games last season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, but believes Ten Hag is now rewarding him for fighting for his position with Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

"I'm enjoying the opportunities I'm being given. This is why I came here, to play games, to give my best every single game, to be ready for every game, and this is what I've been doing and what I've been fighting for," he continued. 

"Competition will always be there, this is a club with high standards and high demands, this is the way that I like to work. I will try to keep on doing it for as long as I can. It's been a very positive start."

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United are in "control" when it comes to Marcus Rashford's future, adding that the forward is "happier" with his place at the club.

The England international was linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain over the off-season following a difficult 2021-22 campaign, where he scored just five times in 32 games across all competitions.

But with three goals and two assists in the first six games of the new Premier League season, the 24-year-old looks to have rediscovered both the best of his abilities and his satisfaction with life at Old Trafford.

Rashford's United contract expires at the end of the current campaign, but with United set to start their Europa League campaign against Real Sociedad this week, manager Ten Hag says the club have his future in hand, given they have the option to extend his contract by a year.

"Definitely," the Dutchman stated when asked if the forward was in his long-term plans. "I don't think he is out of contract - I think United control the situation.

"It's difficult for me to talk about the past. What I see is a happy Marcus Rashford. We worked really hard the last two months with him on different aspects. He likes it, he wants to transfer it to the pitch.

"He comes in every day, he enjoys it, he's smiling, [he has] a really positive vibe. If you put all of those things together and you are happy, you will contribute more to the team."

Rashford's role as a centre-forward has kept Cristiano Ronaldo out of the starting line-up the past four games for United, with the Portuguese star benched alongside captain Harry Maguire.

Quizzed on whether a return could be on the cards for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, Ten Hag acknowledged the veteran forward is fit to feature from the off, while discussing plans to rotate his squad for their European schedule.

"He started against Brentford, then not since, but he is ready to start," added Ten Hag.

"Of course [he can start for the majority of games]. We have to win every game. We want to win every tournament, so we take everything seriously.

"We not only have a team, we have a squad, but we have to win every game and that is the mentality Manchester United needs."

Ten Hag acknowledged his approach may not keep all of the big names in his squad satisfied, but says his players will get a chance to shine, providing they earn their place.

"Maybe I can not keep them all happy every game, but everyone gets the game time if they perform well, [it is] quite clear," he added. "We need everyone, we have a lot of games to cover."

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone hopes goalkeeper Jan Oblak has avoided any serious injury after being forced out of Saturday's 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad due to a thigh injury.

The Slovenia international was replaced in the 85th minute after colliding with Reinildo in an attempt to thwart Umar Sadiq.

Atletico will be sweating on Oblak's fitness given the vice-captain's importance to the side, winning LaLiga's Zamora Trophy five times including in 2020-21. Oblak did not miss one match for Atleti last term.

"Let's hope that Oblak won't be out for too long," Simeone told reporters. "The doctors will tell you in the next few days."

Simeone refused to be drawn on the VAR after his side were denied an Alvaro Morata goal in the 29th minute for an apparent Joao Felix handball, while Umar Sadiq's equaliser for Sociedad also came with a hint of handball but stood.

However, Atletico team manager Tomas Renones was more forthright about the officiating, claiming the referees had a "very bad day".

"We have to understand that referees can also have bad days," he said. "Today is a clear example of a very bad day.

"The general feeling is one of great disappointment. We have seen different judgements. The referees give us a talk every year at the beginning of the season and then what is carried out is totally different.

"We have seen Joao Felix have a goal disallowed because it hits his arm and then there is a very similar play by Real Sociedad where he shoots, it hits his arm, it's a goal and the VAR doesn't intervene. I don’t understand the judgement of both sides.

"Referees can make mistakes, but the consequences are for us."

Real Sociedad came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw from an entertaining clash with Atletico Madrid in LaLiga, as Alexander Isak's replacement Umar Sadiq scored on his debut.

La Real fell behind early on when Alvaro Morata pounced to continue his fine start to the new season, but the hosts gave as good as they got in a first half that saw both teams hit the woodwork.

Having been introduced as a half-time substitute, Sadiq met Momo Cho's hanging cross to nod home a leveller, making an instant impact for his new club.

Diego Simeone's men stood firm despite the hosts enjoying the better of a lively second half, ensuring the two teams remain locked together on seven points from four games in LaLiga.

Atleti needed just five minutes to hit the front, with Morata on hand to lash home the rebound after Yannick Carrasco hit the near post directly from a corner.

But Jan Oblak was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the early stages, producing a strong save to deny Mikel Merino from long range 20 minutes in, shortly after the Sociedad captain had volleyed against the left-hand post. 

Morata was denied a brace 10 minutes later when Joao Felix handled in the build-up to his sweeping left-footed finish, before Jose Gimenez rattled the crossbar with an incredible long-range strike as the break approached.

The hosts continued to push after Sadiq replaced Alexander Sorloth, and the 6ft 4in striker made use of his frame when climbing to power a left-wing cross beyond Oblak at the back post after 55 minutes. 

The offside flag came to Atleti's rescue with 13 minutes remaining when Sadiq latched onto Takefusa Kubo's pass to lob Oblak, but the visitors ultimately stood firm to claim a share of the spoils.

What does it mean? Atleti struggle in San Sebastian 

Atletico Madrid came into this match having won each of their two away games at the start of the season, but can hardly have any complaints with the draw after allowing La Real to take charge.

By fighting back to level the scores, La Real avoided suffering three successive home league defeats for the first time since February 2007, and ended Los Colchoneros' run of four consecutive wins on the road.

Morata's revival continues

Morata has been in fine form since returning from an underwhelming two-year loan spell at Juventus, and needed just five minutes to score his third league goal of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the Spain international has now contributed to at least one goal on each of his last four appearances against La Real in LaLiga (four goals, one assist).

Sadiq strikes early

Having impressed for Almeria in the early weeks of the campaign, Sadiq was the man selected by Imanol Alguacil to fill the shoes of Newcastle United's new record signing Isak, and the Nigeria striker did not need long to make an impression.

Having netted within 10 minutes of making his Sociedad bow, Sadiq has now scored on each of his last three appearances in LaLiga. 

What's next?

Atletico Madrid begin their Champions League campaign at home to Porto on Wednesday, while Sociedad face a trip to Manchester United in the Europa League one day later.

Diego Simeone has suggested Atletico Madrid are limiting Antoine Griezmann's minutes in order to avoid activating a purchase clause in the forward's loan deal. 

Griezmann is midway through a two-year loan spell from Barcelona, but Atleti must reportedly make the France international's stay permanent should he play over 45 minutes in the majority of their games. 

While Griezmann made 21 league starts for Los Colchoneros last season, scoring three goals and adding four assists, he has been reduced to a bit-part role at the outset of the new campaign.

The 31-year-old has impressed during his three substitute appearances this season, scoring twice, but has only played 82 minutes in LaLiga.

Asked whether his management of Griezmann's playing time was dictated by club policy, Simeone said: "They have known me for 10 years. I am a club man and always will be.

"We must try to make them [the players] understand that entering 30 minutes well is more important than playing 60 badly. 

"Everyone wants to play more minutes and that is why the coaches look for the best situations for the team."

Atleti were relatively quiet in the transfer market, bringing in Nahuel Molina, Axel Witsel and Sergio Reguilon, while Renan Lodi's loan move to Nottingham Forest represented their most high-profile outgoing.

Simeone blamed their lack of activity on an inability to generate funds in recent years, adding: "We have been on vacation since May, June is complicated, in July we settled in and August was complicated again. 

"It seemed that four could go, three come in... but I think the pandemic crisis has a lot to do with it. We have not been able to sell in recent years and that creates difficulties."

Atleti travel to Real Sociedad for their fourth outing of the season on Saturday, having claimed six points from their opening three games in LaLiga.

Griezmann, who began his career with La Real, has recorded a goal contribution on each of his last three league visits to the Reale Arena (two goals, one assist).

Real Sociedad were delighted to land their two priority targets in Alexander Sorloth and Umar Sadiq after the late sale of Alexander Isak prompted a frantic final week of the transfer window.

La Real sold star striker Isak to Newcastle United last Friday in a club-record €70million deal.

That move happened quickly, with Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay confirming the club had expected to keep Isak in this window as recently as the previous weekend.

"It has been a difficult week," he said, presenting Sadiq as a Sociedad player after his signing from Almeria was secured on Thursday.

"It's been a summer full of rumours. When a player's [Isak's] agent tells you on a Monday at 10pm that he's coming to San Sebastian with a club the next day, the first thing you think of is that they have an agreement between them.

"We had a week left and we thought about Real Sociedad; it was not the time to discuss too much but to take action."

He added: "On Sunday, we didn't think that Alex was going to leave; on Monday, we started the talks [with Newcastle]; on Tuesday, we concluded them; and on Wednesday, we started working on the signings."

Fortunately, La Real had a plan, having first fielded interest from Newcastle in Isak earlier in the window.

"We thought we were going to sign two players, which is what we had thought of in June," Aperribay said. "We thought of Sorloth on loan and Sadiq to replace Isak.

"We started those conversations, first with Leipzig and then with Almeria."

Sorloth, who had spent last season on loan at Sociedad, scoring four LaLiga goals alongside Isak, quickly returned on another temporary deal.

But the €20m move for Sadiq took a little more time, concluded after "an intense 48 hours".

Now, though, Imanol's side are in a position of strength, having made a huge profit on Isak while bringing in a player in Sadiq who scored 38 goals across two seasons in the second tier with Almeria and has already added two in three games in LaLiga this term.

His signing was crucial, as fellow attackers Carlos Fernandez and Mikel Oyarzabal remain out injured.

"We had to be aware that when you come out of an injury you don't go from nought to 100," Aperribay said. "We have to support the youngsters and be patient with Carlos and Oyarzabal. That's how we approach the season."

He added: "Sadiq was the first on the list. We knew that with Isak we had a risk that became a reality last week, and we have acted as planned."

Sevilla have confirmed the signing of Adnan Januzaj on a free transfer, with the winger signing a four-year contract.

Januzaj, who came through the ranks at Manchester United, left Real Sociedad at the expiration of his contract at the end of last season.

The Belgium international spent five seasons at La Real, having joined from United in 2017.

Januzaj enjoyed a fine breakthrough season at Old Trafford in the 2013-14 season but never quite lived up to expectations.

However, at 27, he has the chance to play in the Champions League with Sevilla, who had been in need of a winger as they expected to sell Lucas Ocampos to Ajax, though that move broke down unexpectedly.

Januzaj made 132 LaLiga appearances for La Real, scoring 14 goals and assisting a further 16, having created 145 chances for team-mates.

Sevilla face Barcelona in their next LaLiga match, having taken just one point from their opening three games.

Erik ten Hag's first experience of European football as manager of Manchester United will see the Red Devils face off with the likes of Real Sociedad and Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League group stage.

Ten Hag enjoyed a successful spell as Ajax boss before making the move to Old Trafford, perhaps best exemplified in the 2018-19 campaign where he led the Dutch side to their first Champions League semi-final since 1997.

They should have gone on to the final that year too, but let a 3-0 aggregate lead slip at home to Tottenham as a 96th minute Lucas Moura goal to complete his second-half hat-trick won the tie for the Londoners on away goals, breaking Ajax hearts.

Ten Hag will therefore be desperate for a good showing in Europe this season to dispel those demons, though United have not been without their own continental misery in recent years, losing on penalties in the 2020-21 Europa League final against Villarreal.

To advance to the knockout stages of this season's edition of Europe's second competition, United will first have to overcome a group that looks anything but easy. 

Sheriff beat eventual winners Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in last season's Champions League before ultimately being knocked out, while Sociedad made the knockout stages of this competition.

United will therefore have to ensure they pick up maximum points against the other team in the group, Cypriot side Omonoia.

Arsenal are another of the favourites for this season's tournament, having reached at least the semi-finals in three of their last four Europa League campaigns.

Their trickiest group-stage game looks to be against PSV, who won this competition in 1977-78, though the Gunners will fancy their chances of advancing with Bodo/Glimt and Zurich the other two sides in Group A.

Manager Mikel Arteta's side sit top of the Premier League having won their opening three matches, and the Spaniard will hope that his players can keep up their impressive domestic start while also advancing deep into the Europa League.

Newcastle United have completed the signing of Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad for a club-record fee reported to be £60million (€71.1m).

The 22-year-old, capped 37 times by Sweden, moves to the Premier League side on a five-year deal, bringing an end to three successful years with the LaLiga outfit.

Signed from Borussia Dortmund, Isak scored 33 goals in 105 league appearances for La Real, the last of which came in a 4-2 defeat to Barcelona on August 21.

"I'm delighted to have it done. It was a big, big decision for me but it is a decision I am really happy with," he told the club website.

"It is a great, historical club that I think anyone would like to play for, with amazing fans. They were a big part of why I came here - and also the club's project, which is one that I really believe in.

"You always want to go into a team and know how they play. I think Newcastle play very attractive football and I want to be a part of that."

Isak becomes Newcastle's fourth signing of the transfer window, following the acquisitions of Sven Botman, Matt Targett and Nick Pope.

They had been in the market for a striker since the end of last season, having previously been linked with Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin as well as Isak.

Eddie Howe's need for a forward might have been expedited, however, by an injury to Callum Wilson, who has sustained a hamstring problem.

Newcastle are unbeaten in the early rounds of the 2022-23 Premier League season, drawing with Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion after starting the campaign with a win against Nottingham Forest.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe has confirmed the club are closing in on the signing of Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak.

The Sweden international is poised to move to St James' Park on a club-record deal of £60million, showing a major statement of intent from the Saudi owners.

While yet to be officially confirmed, Howe expressed his confidence on pushing the deal over the line when speaking ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash against Wolves. 

"It's not completed. We hope to get it done," he said, adding he hopes Isak could yet make his debut this weekend.

"Yes, fingers crossed. There's no guarantee with these things because we're in other people's hands, but hopefully."

The imminent signing of Isak comes amid another injury blow for Callum Wilson, who has scored twice in three Premier League games this season but is facing another spell on the sidelines with a hamstring issue.

"We don't believe it to be serious – we're hopeful that Callum will only be out for a couple of weeks," Howe added.

"But naturally we reacted slightly off that in terms of we were always looking for an attacking player, but it changed our focus maybe slightly on the type.

"But we're delighted to hopefully sign Alex, who will be a big player for us."

Job done.

Thank you for your support at Prenton Park this evening - safe journey home.

Onto Molineux on Sunday!  pic.twitter.com/oaedMuQgY8

— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 24, 2022

Manchester United are set to be busy in the final week of the transfer window and are closing in on a huge signing.

Erik ten Hag wants to bring in Antony from his former club Ajax, and the Brazil winger is keen to be reunited with his former coach.

United made a dismal start to the season by losing their opening two games, but bounced back by beating Liverpool on Monday, and are aiming to make another splash in the transfer market after signing Casemiro from Real Madrid.

 

TOP STORY – ANTONY TRYING TO FORCE UNITED MOVE

Antony is attempting to force through a move to United by handing in a transfer request at Ajax.

That is according to The Mirror, while The Telegraph have claimed the 22-year-old's representatives are now basing themselves in London in order to push through a deal.

Ajax are reluctant to sell and this week turned down a £67.6million (€80m) bid from United, who are expected to up their offer. The Dutch club are said to want a fee of £84m (€100m), but Antony is trying to force their hand.

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic report that Dele Alli is on the brink of joining Besiktas on loan from Everton. The England international is in Istanbul to complete the move.

- Sky Sports Germany are claiming Chelsea will turn their focus to Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Edmond Tapsoba if they cannot sign Leicester City's Wesley Fofana.

- Newcastle United are set to break their transfer record by signing Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad for £60m (€71.1m), according to widespread reports.

 

- David Moyes confirmed West Ham had bid for Lucas Paqueta, but that approach has been turned down by Lyon, according to L'Equipe.

- BILD reporter Christian Falk has claimed Manchester United will decide whether or not to push ahead with a move for Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp on Thursday.

- According to Fabrizio Romano, Marseille are not considering a move for Cristiano Ronaldo, who may be allowed to leave Old Trafford.

- Romano also reports that Marseille forward Arkadiusz Milik is joining Juventus.

Robert Lewandowski opened his account for Barcelona after just 44 seconds in a 3-1 victory against Real Sociedad as part of a brace to celebrate his birthday.

Aleksander Isak wasted no time in equalising for the hosts, who forced Marc Andre Ter Stegen into some fine saves and saw a second-half goal ruled out for offside.

Ansu Fati provided the inspiration to end Barcelona's three-game streak without a win, coming off the bench to provide two assists in six minutes - Ousmane Dembele and Lewandowski the beneficiaries.

The Spaniard then added his name to the scoresheet after Lewandowski returned the favour, coolly slotting home to ensure all three points would come to Catalonia.

Barcelona's barren streak of 360 minutes without a goal came to an abrupt end, Lewandowski steering home after Alejandro Balde led a counter-attack for the visitors to celebrate his birthday with his first LaLiga goal.

The hosts took just five minutes to respond though, Frenkie de Jong dispossessed in midfield and David Silva feeding through Isak – who saw his finish loft over the head of Marc Andre ter Stegen after a deflection off Eric Garcia.

Seven minutes after the restart, the hosts thought they had taken the lead as Brais Mendez's free-kick found its way all the way past Ter Stegen but the offside flag was raised as Robin Le Normand impeded the German's view.

Fati provided an immediate impact after his introduction, backheeling into the path of Dembele to drill home into the far corner, then tapping a pass to Lewandowski to make it three.

Lewandowski then turned provider for Fati, flicking the ball through for the Spaniard to slot home and guarantee a first win of the season.

Jules Kounde has not been registered in time by Barcelona for Sunday's LaLiga clash with Real Sociedad, while Sergino Dest has also been overlooked by Xavi once again.

France defender Kounde has yet to feature competitively for Barca since joining from Sevilla in a €55million deal, having also sat out last week's stalemate with Rayo Vallecano.

He is the only new signing yet to be registered by Barca, who have been forced to sell off non-playing assets and activate various 'levers' to meet LaLiga's salary rules.

While Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie are all available to face Sociedad, Kounde is not part of the travelling party.

 

Dest has also been left off the 23-player list for the second week running, with head coach Xavi indicating on Saturday that the full-back's future may lie elsewhere.

Manchester United are among the clubs to have been linked with United States international Dest, who made 21 appearances for the Catalan giants last season.

Xavi has also opted to leave out Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite, though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong are all included.

Barca, who are without the suspended Sergio Busquets, have failed to win or score in their last three LaLiga matches – never before have they fired four blanks in a row.

However, they are unbeaten in their past six visits to Anoeta and have won the last two – only once have the Blaugrana won three in a row away to Sociedad in LaLiga.

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