Ruud van Nistelrooy playing for Manchester United against Sparta Prague in 2004.

Our record against teams from new countries

Manchester United will play a first match against a side from Kazakhstan on Thursday, when we welcome Astana to Old Trafford for our opening Europa League group-stage game for the 2019/20 campaign.

This is the 11th time since the Premier League started in 1992 that we have encountered a club from a new country in a European competition, and we have an excellent record in such fixtures.

In fact, United have not lost in the last 10 outings against a side from a country we have not previously faced, winning five and drawing five of those encounters.

Check out the full list below…
Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs during Manchester United's game against Dinamo Zagreb in 1999.
Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs in action against Dinamo Zagreb in 1999.
Croatia: United 0-0 Dinamo Zagreb (1999)

Sir Alex Ferguson’s European Champions played out a disappointing goalless draw against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League in September, 1999, but we did beat the Croats 2-1 away from home in the corresponding group fixture, thanks to goals from David Beckham and Roy Keane. In fact, that double-header remains the only time we’ve ever faced a team from Croatia in competitive matches.

Czech Republic: Sparta Prague 0-0 United (2004)

The last time we met a side from a new country was 15 years ago, when we took a point against Sparta Prague. It wasn’t the first time we’d faced a team from Prague, but it was our maiden game against a Czech club since the break up of the old Czechoslovakia in 1992. While United failed to win the first game against a side from Czech Republic, we fared much better in the second: a 4-1 victory in the reverse group fixture, with Ruud van Nistelrooy grabbing all the goals for United at Old Trafford.
Denmark: Brondby 2-6 United (1998)

Our maiden competitive visit to the Scandinavian country was one to remember for the Reds, particularly for Peter Schmeichel, who travelled back to his former club. Ryan Giggs got the ball rolling after two minutes, before doubling the scoreline midway through the first half. Andrew Cole, Roy Keane, Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also found the back of the net in what proved to be a vital three points in qualifying from our 1998/1999 Champions League group. We have not met Brondby since 1998, but have faced three other Danish sides: FC Copenhagen, Aalborg BK and FC Midtjylland.

Israel: United 5-2 Maccabi Haifa (2002)

Another high-scoring Champions League triumph for the Reds, when Giggs, Solskjaer, Juan Sebastian Veron, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Diego Forlan scored in our group-stage clash. The Reds finished top of the four-team table, with our only defeat coming in the return fixture when a heavily rotated side lost 3-0 against Maccabi Haifa in Cyprus. To this date, they remain United’s only competitive games against an Israeli club.
David Beckham playing for Manchester United against Maccabi Haifa
Becks skippered the Reds during our first game against an Israeli side.
Romania: Dinamo Bucharest 1-2 United (2004)

Our first trip to Romania came 15 years ago, in a Champions League qualifier. After falling behind to an early Quinton Fortune own-goal, the Reds responded just before the break through Ryan Giggs. Dinamo’s Angelo Dumitru Alistar then accidentally put the ball into his own net 18 minutes from the end, to give United an important 2-1 away win. Two weeks later, the Reds won 3-0 at Old Trafford and secured a spot in the next round of the competition.

Russia: United 0-0 Torpedo Moscow (1992)

Gary Neville’s debut was the only highlight for United fans in this game, and over the course of the two-legged UEFA Cup tie. The Reds actually went out on penalties in the first round when the reverse fixture took place a few weeks later in Moscow. In fact, our first three meetings with Russian sides all ended goalless. Our record has improved over the years and, in 13 games against teams from Russia, we have lost just once in 90 minutes, while winning five and drawing seven.
Gary Neville playing for Manchester United against Dinamo Bucharest in 2004.
Gary Neville playing for the Reds in Bucharest in 2004.
Slovakia: Kosice 0-3 United (1997)

Goals from Denis Irwin, Henning Berg and Andy Cole meant we made light of the Slovaks, 22 years ago. United also won by the same scoreline when Kosice travelled to Old Trafford, two months later, in our Champions League group game. They remain the club's only two meetings with opposition from Slovakia.

Switzerland: Basel 1-3 United (2002)

Surprisingly, it took until the 21st century for us to lock horns with Swiss opposition. On that occasion, the game was settled by three goals in seven second-half minutes, courtesy of Ruud van Nistelrooy (2) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Since then, we’ve faced Basel five more times and played Bern outfit Young Boys in last season’s Champions League campaign.
Ruud van Nistelrooy celebrates scoring for Manchester United against Basel in 2002.
Ruud loved a Champions League goal and he netted a brace in our first meeting with a Swiss side.

Turkey: United 3-3 Galatasaray (1993)

Our first clash with a side from Turkey was a memorable six-goal thriller. The Reds had gone two up after 13 minutes thanks to a Bryan Robson strike and an own-goal. However, the visitors headed into the final 10 minutes 3-2 ahead and a disappointing defeat was only avoided thanks to Eric Cantona’s late equaliser. Since then, we’ve played Turkish clubs 15 times and, as well as Galatasaray, we have faced Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Bursaspor.

Ukraine: Dynamo Kiev 0-0 United (2000)

We’ve met Ukrainian opposition eight times and are unbeaten from those clashes, winning six and drawing two. The first came in the 2000/01 Champions League group stage, where we were held to a goalless draw, while we won the reverse fixture 1-0. Our last clash with a side from Ukraine came en route to winning the Europa League in 2017, when the Reds beat Zorya Luhansk 2-0, in Odessa, thanks to goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Fans can still buy tickets for the Old Trafford clash with Astana on Thursday.

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