well-timed tackle by centre-back Dany Nounkeu to halt a tricky Kagawa run – while Valencia's driven delivery from the right almost forced an own goal.
The scoreline at the break will have pleased the Reds boss, but spells of Galatasaray possession and defensive ill-discipline served as reminders that this match was not won yet.
Nani's penalty miss on 53 minutes, after Rafael was brought down by striker Burak Yilmaz, only compounded that feeling. The Reds have now missed three spot-kicks in as many matches – Hernandez and van Persie the other culprits – and must be yearning for the return of Wayne Rooney from injury. This one, a tame effort after a stuttering run-up, was easily saved by Mulsera.
Selcuk Inan went close to rubbing salt in the wound when his glancing header sailed narrowly past the far post before Vidic spurned a chance from close range and Evra flashed a shot across goal at the other end.
The Reds had another penalty appeal turned down when Nani went tumbling under substitute Emre Colak's challenge. There was barely time to complain, though, as Galatasaray countered at speed and, through Yilmaz and then Colak, forced De Gea into two fine saves. The second was world-class, a finger-tip stop at full-stretch.