25/11/2009 21:47, Report by Nick Coppack
United 0 Besiktas 1
the roof of the net on 13 minutes; Nemanja Vidic wasted a headed opportunity from the resulting corner.
Besiktas boss Mustafa Denizli will have been relieved to make it to the 15-minute mark with scores locked at 0-0. And his relief turned into joy on 20 minutes when the visitors took a surprise lead. There seemed little danger when Chilean winger Tello received the ball, but his speculative left-footed strike nicked Rafael on the way to goal, wrong-footing Foster just enough to leave the goalkeeper flapping at thin air as the ball spun into the far corner.
The goal shocked everyone inside Old Trafford, although it prompted no dramatic change in the Reds’ approach. Sir Alex’s men continued to stream forward in numbers and Macheda and Obertan both saw good chances blocked by desperate Turkish defending. That appeared to be the Turkish side’s default setting after the early goal, with forays into United territory sporadic at best.
For all the Reds’ first-half territory and possession, there was no breakthrough before the interval. Anderson and Gibson's influence diminished and neither Obertan nor Park could get behind the Besiktas back four. After Fink clipped the outside of the post on 41 minutes Sir Alex may well have been the manager most relieved to hear the half-time whistle.
Both teams emerged unchanged for a second period that bubbled rather than burst into life. The visitors enjoyed some decent early possession but did next to nothing with it. United, meanwhile, appeared content to sit back and let Besiktas have the ball.
Indeed, it took 11 minutes before the home side conjured a second-half shot, Ji-sung Park blazing wide from 12 yards. By that time, Sir Alex had sent Michael Owen out to warm up. With the crowd growing increasingly restless, Gabriel Obertan capped a spell of sustained pressure with a driving run that ended with a low shot that