Match report: Galatasaray 3 United 3

Wednesday 29 November 2023 19:55

Manchester United's Champions League hopes hang in the balance with just one matchday remaining, after a wild 3-3 draw against Galatasaray in Istanbul.

The Reds led for long periods, and were twice two goals in front, only to be suffocated by two free-kicks and an expertly taken third from the hosts.

United began with marvellous composure, and powered into the lead through Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes, but Hakim Ziyech snatched one back before half-time to give the Turks encouragement.

Scott McTominay restored the goals gap soon after the break, but another Ziyech free-kick and a smart finish from Kerem Akturkoglu dragged Galatasaray level, before a frenzied end saw both sides go close to a winner.

The result ensures we remain bottom of the group, and dependent on other results if we are to progress.

Garnacho celebrates giving United the lead.

The contest kicked off amid a swirl of boos, hisses and general irritability, with the home side predictably keen to rev the accelerator.

Early efforts blazed in from Ziyech, Torreira and Mertens, while the Reds (or whites, on this occasion) had a good maiden move of the game when Garnacho was sprung clear on the break. His centre for Hojlund was decent, but the forward – returning for his first game since the win over Luton earlier this month – was cannily contained by opposing centre-back Abdulkerim Bardakci.

But if the hosts bested the opening 10 minutes, United scored twice in the next 10. First, a lovely team move involving Antony, Bruno, Hojlund and Bruno again was blasted home, high past Muslera, by Garnacho's icy left foot.

Then Fernandes added to his earlier assist with a magnificent booming drive from outside of the box.

Ten Hag's lads were in dreamland – not the 'nightmare' promised by one banner unfurled pre-match – but the Turks responded just prior to the half-hour mark, when decoy runs from within a United wall allowed Hakim Ziyech to whip a free-kick past Onana, who was unsighted until the ball was upon him.

The sickening pace of the game continued all the way up until half-time. Ziyech shot over, Wilfried Zaha's shot was blocked by Maguire and McTominay headed over from a corner. Patterns to the game? There were few, with both sides trading attacks like possessed prizefighters.

Icardi came the closest to a further goal – when a composed finish past Onana was ruled out following a VAR call on the tightest of offsides – but United made it into the sanctuary of the dressing room still ahead.
Two free-kicks from on-loan Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech gifted the hosts a route back into the game.

A modicum of security seemed to be United's when McTominay stabbed home Wan-Bissaka's cross in the 55th minute, restoring our two-goal lead. But the mayhem had merely nipped to the kitchen for a cuppa.

A moment of despair invited the home team back into the game just after the hour, when Onana spilled a relatively tame Ziyech free-kick into his own net, perhaps unsteadied by Martial's attempted header just a few yards away. It reawakened Galatasaray and soon they were level through a brilliant finish from substitute Akturkoglu, who had made a clever run away from Kobbie Mainoo.

No sane human could have predicted which way the scoreline might swing. Chances followed for Ziyech, before United reeled off a series of further attempts. Garnacho curled one just wide, McTominay speared a low drive just the other side of the post, and Garnacho's replacement Facundo Pellistri twice shot over.

Agonisingly, Fernandes clipped the post with a measured shot from outside the box, when astutely found by another sub, Diogo Dalot.

McTominay's goal raised hopes that United had quelled Galatasaray, but there was a nasty twist lurking.
The final minutes were much the same, but United were simply unable to find the ruthless touch. Pellistri enjoyed another golden chance after a scramble around the six-yard box, but the Uruguayan shovelled the ball into a thicket of bodies.

In the final minute, McTominay rose well to meet Shaw's cross, but headed high and wide. The game closed with every player, on both sides, seemingly emptied of effort.

As before in this Champions League group-stage campaign, the Reds were left to reflect on playing a huge part in a thrilling contest. But as in Copenhagen – and against Galatasaray at home – it was hard to exorcise the idea that three points should have been ours.

Who was our standout performer against Galatasaray?poll

Who was our standout performer against Galatasaray?


Galatasaray XI: Muslera (c); Boey, Abdulkerim Bardakci, Kaan Ayhan, Angelino (Nelsson 82); Torreira, Ndombele (Oliveira 60); Ziyech (Yilmaz 82), Mertens (Akturkoglu 60), Zaha (Demirbay 88); Icardi.

Substitutes not used: Guvenc, Tete, Karatas, Bakambu.

Bookings: Boey, Ayhan.

Goal: Ziyech 29, 62, Akturkoglu 71.

 Onana; Wan-Bissaka (Dalot 78), Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Amrabat (Mainoo 58); Antony, Fernandes (c), Garnacho (Pellistri 78); Hojlund (Martial 58).

Substitutes not used: Bayindir, Heaton, Reguilon, Varane, Gore, Hannibal, Hugill.

Bookings: Fernandes, Amrabat, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka.

Garnacho 11, Fernandes 18, McTominay 55.