Sorting by


Casemiro’s red card adds to Man Utd’s woes after Galatasaray take advantage of poor defending

Man Utd 2-3 Galatasaray (Hojlund 17′, 67′, Casemiro RC 77′ | Zaha 23′, Akturkoglu 71′, Icardi 81′)

OLD TRAFFORD — Raphael Varane should know better, for a man with his medal collection, when he dared to suggest this Manchester United side had the quality to win the Champions League this season.

Had he, like several of his fellow defenders, not been watching for the last few months? The normally stoic Erik ten Hag, for all his mistakes this term, at least was aware of his team’s predicament, labelling his charges “not good enough” and “lacking in quality” in his pre-match programme notes.

To quote a paraphrase a famous figure around these parts, this excuse for a United side winning the Champions League? Not in my lifetime.

Six defeats from 10, the latest coming against a side who had not won a Champions League away match in 11 years, in 19 attempts. Tuesday night’s mess, that leaves United bottom of Group A on zero points, was a self-inflicted debacle Oscar Wilde would find difficult to script.

Ten Hag had every right to feel pessimistic. Back in the Champions League after a one-year absence, United were desperate for three points after losing to Bayern Munich in their opening group encounter, having suffered their worst start to a domestic league campaign since 1989-90.

In European competition, they were also out to avoid losing their third match in a row, something they have not done since 2012-13.

Many a famous Old Trafford European night under the lights has started at a breathless pace, and this was no exception, with Marcus Rashford pinging in a superb cross onto the head of Rasmus Hojlund, with the young Dane bulleting a header home to give United an early lead.

Being ahead does not sit comfortably with this excuse for a United side, and sure enough less than six minutes later, the familiar face of Wilfried Zaha – one of five former Premier League players in the Galatasaray starting XI – capitalised on some woeful defending to scoop the ball into the net.

In a era of players refusing to celebrate against their former clubs, the sight of Zaha, who now has as many goals against United as he does appearances for them, four, in a forgettable two-year spell in Manchester, cupping his ears to the Stretford End was a refreshing sight.

Player of the match: Kerem Akturkoglu

Akturkoglu’s superb finish turned the match on its head, just as United looked set to see out a crucial win. Casemiro simply could not contain the Turkish playmaker all match.

The football was anything but liquid, but the chances continued to come for United, with Mason Mount wasting two presentable chances before the interval.

With Christian Eriksen introduced at the break, United finally had a player capable of unlocking the opposition with one swoop of his right boot.

The Dane picked out a superb through pass for Rashford to race on to, and with his own supporters chastising him at the weekend for going it alone far too often, he elected to square the ball across for Bruno Fernandes, but Galatasaray’s Sacha Boey got back to clear. Rashford’s fall from grace this season rumbles on.

Luckily for United, Hojlund had brought his shooting boots, racing clear after a slip from former Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez before clipping a glorious finish over the goalkeeper and into the net. Think Ruud van Nistelrooy’s goal at Highbury in 2003. It was that good.

Then came the inevitable fall. Twice United battled back into the opening game in Munich only to concede straight away. In fact, in the Premier League, they have led for a grand total of 28 minutes at home so far this season.

And with supporters barely back in their seats after Hojlund’s brilliance, Kerem Akturkoglu had the visitors level, sweeping home having been given the freedom of Manchester to pick his spot.

Of course things got a whole lot worse, very quickly. Firstly Andre Onana, another who is having a torrid time of things, gifted the ball to Dries Mertens, who was felled by Casemiro, making the sacrificial challenge that earned him a second yellow card and his marching orders.

Mauro Icardi let Onana off the hook as he drilled wide from the spot, but home spirits only got a brief bump, as the Argentine latched onto a header, in his own half, from Sanchez and lofted the ball over the beleaguered United stopper to inflict more misery on the home faithful.

The scenes on the final whistle were of ecstasy among the boisterous Turkish following, who simply could not believe their eyes. Gift-wrapped victories against teams of United’s ilk don’t come around too often.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button