Prior to last night’s thrilling game, Manchester United and Galatasaray had faced each other six times in the UEFA Champions League. The English side had won twice, the Turks once, and the sides had drawn three times, including their epic first encounter at Old Trafford 30 years ago, which ended 3-3.
United had hoped Tuesday night’s encounter with the Turkish Süper Lig champions would ignite their season following a poor start to the Premier League, and Erik ten Hag’s men got off to a good start.
They dominated the early part of the game, opening the scoring in the 17th minute through their new young striker Rasmus Hojlund, who was clinical in front of goal following Marcus Rashford’s crisp cross into the 6-yard box.
Yet six minutes later Galatasaray’s summer signing, former Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha, had levelled for Cim Bom with an unorthodox shot that hit the ground first before bouncing over United goalkeeper André Onana into the goal.
The Reds were in front again in the second half courtesy of Hojlund. The young Danish striker took advantage of Galatasaray defender Davinson Sanchez’s unfortunate slip, nicking the ball by the half-way line and racing towards goal where he clipped the ball past Fernando Muslera to give United a 2-1 lead in the 67th minute. Nine minutes earlier, Hojlund had had the ball in the back of the Galatasaray net, but the effort was ruled off-side.
The Turkish side kept their composure and four minutes later scored their second equaliser through winger Kerem Aktürkoğlu (pictured top) whose quick feet and precision shot beat Onana.
A terrible mistake by the United goalkeeper, who kicked the ball straight to a Cim Bom player after being pressed, led to a bad lunge from behind by Casemiro in the box, resulting in his second yellow card and dismal from the game and a penalty awarded to Galatasaray.
Mauro Icardi missed the penalty by firing wide, only to make amends four minutes later when he cut through United’s sloppy defence to pick up Sanchez’s headed pass and chip the goalkeeper to stun 10-man United and the home crowd.
Icardi’s goal proved to be the winner in this highly entertaining end-to-end game, elevating Galatasaray to second place in Group A, two points behind group leaders Bayern Munich. Tuesday’s defeat left United bottom of the group with zero points.
The teams are next in action on 25 October, when Galatasaray host Bayern Munich, and Manchester United take on FC Copenhagen at Old Trafford.
Main photo, top, of Kerem Aktürkoğlu against Man U at Old Trafford, 03 Oct. 2023. Photo via X/Galatasaray EN