Depleted United lose out to unremarkable Galatasaray
Galatasaray 1 Manchester U 0:On a feverishly loud night in Istanbul a much-changed and depleted Manchester United lost 1-0 to an unremarkable Galatasaray to leave the Turkish champions favourites to progress in second place from a group United are guaranteed to top.
If this was not quite the promised induction to the first circle of footballing hell, it is still an unwelcome glitch for Alex Ferguson’s team – a second 1-0 defeat away from home this week, combined with a notably muted attacking performance in which United created their first chance from open play in the final minute of the match and failed to score for the first time in 21 European matches.
Despite United having already won Group H, this was only ever a half-dead rubber, being an occasion of huge significance for the hosts at the Ali Sami Yen, which before tonight had yet to see Galatasaray win a home European match.
It was an open start too, Yilmaz testing Anders Lindegaard with a swerving shot he could only parry. Semih Kaya was booked when he might have been sent off for a lunge into Tom Cleverley’s left shin.
Steadily the home team began to assert themselves, with Felipe Melo making concussive contact with United’s central midfield at every opportunity, somehow avoiding a booking in the process.
A drive from Hamit Altintop drew another low save from Lindegaard, just before United’s first real chance came from their first corner after 35 minutes, Fernando Muslera palming away from a clutch of white-shirted players. Their best opening came from the same route seven minutes later, Nick Powell heading Cleverley’s kick firmly against the bar from eight yards out. At half-time United looked the happier, the sting having been drawn.
However, when the opening goal came on 54 minutes it was from a rare attack. First Melo’s header was palmed over by Lindegaard. Before the corner could be taken the Brazilian turned to the gathered fans behind the goal and gestured furiously for more noise: he got it as Altintop’s corner was headed in by Yilmaz.