Istanbul Basaksehir v United: Match preview
Manchester United face a trip to take on Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday, as the UEFA Champions League group stage reaches its halfway point.
The Reds are sitting pretty atop Group H after impressive victories over Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig, and a further three points would see us take a giant step towards qualifying for the knockout rounds.
We’ve never played Istanbul Basaksehir before, so what can we expect from the side crowned kings of Turkey for the very first time earlier this year?
Our must-read preview will give you the lowdown…
Kick-off in the Turkish city takes place at 17:55 GMT and fans in the UK can watch events unfold live on BT Sport. Reds can also follow our rolling updates on ManUtd.com and our Official App, while MUTV will provide live build-up, radio commentary and reaction from 16:50 GMT. Our in-house channel will then replay the match in full, from midnight the following day.
As it stands, this will be the first match United have played in front of any supporters at all since March. Turkey is currently allowing a limited number of spectators at matches, with 350 attending last week’s fixture with PSG.
Istanbul Basaksehir are competing in the Champions League for the first time ever, and will be keen to get points on the board after successive 2-0 defeats to RB Leipzig and PSG. They competed well in the latter game, played at the Fatih Terim Stadium, and had the better of the chances until a late Moise Kean double gave the Parisians the win. The Owls’ domestic title defence got off to a pretty inauspicious start, as they failed to score in any of their opening four matches, losing three of them. They have rallied after the international break, however, beating Trabzonspor, Antalyaspor and Konyaspor to move up to seventh in the table.
Former Tottenham winger Nacer Chadli is yet to play for the club after joining in the summer, due to injury, while captain Mahmut Tekdemir is a doubt after missing the Owls’ last two matches. Right-back Junior Caicara is a long-term absentee with a ruptured Achilles tendon and French forward Enzo Crivelli was added to the injury list during the weekend win over Konyaspor.
For United, Eric Bailly is missing until the international break, while Alex Telles is still isolating after a positive COVID-19 test result. Jesse Lingard was pictured in training last week as he continues his recovery from injury, but Phil Jones – who has not been included in the Champions League squad – won’t return until December after an operation.
The Owls’ side is littered with notable Premier League names of yore, not least former United right-back Rafael, who represented the club on 170 occasions between 2008 and 2015, before leaving for Lyon. Former Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel and erstwhile Chelsea forward Demba Ba are also players many supporters will be familiar with.
However, Basaksehir’s star man is Bosnia international Edin Visca, who has plied his trade for the club since 2011. The attacking midfielder has provided the most assists in the Turkish Super Lig for three seasons running and scored a career-high 19 goals in all competitions last season, as his side became only the sixth different side to claim the top-flight title since the league’s inception in the 1950s.
WHO’S THE MANAGER?
Former Turkish international Okan Buruk won the league in his debut campaign with the Owls, having been at the helm since June 2019. As a player, Okan was one of his country’s premier midfield talents, turning out for Galatasaray – with whom he faced United on several occasions – Internazionale, Besiktas and İstanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi, the side which later became Istanbul Basaksehir. Since retiring in 2010, Okan – who won 56 caps for the national side over an 18-year period – has taken charge of seven different Turkish sides, lifting the Turkish Cup with Akhisarspor in 2018.
UNITED IN TURKEY
This will be the ninth time the Reds have played in Turkey in our history, albeit the first without a packed-out ground. Previous visits have been notable for the white-hot atmosphere created by local supporters, particularly in successive 0-0 draws with Galatasaray in the early 1990s, which proved crucial to ending our Champions League hopes at an early stage. Since that pair of goalless draws, our record in Turkey has been mixed, with three wins (versus Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Bursaspor) and three defeats (Galatasaray and Fenerbahce twice).
On our last visit, in 2016, a Wayne Rooney wonder goal at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium couldn’t prevent the Reds from losing 2-1 to Fenerbahce in the Europa League. Let’s hope for a more positive scoreline four years on.
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA)
Assistants: Filippo Meli and Stefano Alassio (ITA)
Fourth official: Gianpaolo Calvarese (ITA)
VAR: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
Assistant VAR: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
RIVALS WATCH: TUESDAY 3 NOVEMBER
Lokomotiv Moscow v Atletico Madrid (17:55 GMT)
RB Salzburg v Bayern Munich
Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Monchengladbach (17:55 GMT)
Real Madrid v Inter Milan
FC Porto v Marseille
Manchester City v Olympiacos
Atalanta v Liverpool
FC Midtjylland v Ajax
RIVALS WATCH: WEDNESDAY 4 NOVEMBER
Chelsea v Rennes
Sevilla v FK Krasnodar
Zenit St Petersburg v Lazio (17:55 GMT)
Club Brugge v Borussia Dortmund
Barcelona v Dynamo Kiev
Ferencvaros v Juventus
Istanbul Basaksehir v UNITED (17:55 GMT)
RB Leipzig v Paris Saint-Germain
Kick-off times 20:00 GMT unless stated.