Melo urged the crowd to give more, to sing louder, and they responded immediately. It did the trick, as Galatasaray took the lead from the resulting corner, Burak succeeding where he had previously twice failed.
Minutes later, United looked certain to equalise as the Reds broke at speed and in numbers. But when Welbeck laid the ball across the box to Javier Hernandez and the Mexican checked back inside and pulled the trigger, Melo was there to bravely block.
He celebrated as if he’d scored and it was then you realised just how much the home side craved a famous scalp.
Galatasaray, sensing this was their night, moved in for the kill. Eboue forced Lindegaard into an athletic stop and Altintop, who toiled tirelessly all evening alongside Melo, crashed a shot against the bar with 12 minutes remaining.
Sir Alex threw on Federico Macheda, Ashley Young and Joshua King in the closing stages, but United’s infamous comeback capabilities proved elusive.
Nevertheless, the Reds could leave the pitch with heads held high – older, wiser and having played their part in a thrilling contest. Sometimes, winning isn’t everything.