Manchester United 4 Istanbul Basaksehir 1
Manchester United served up another merciless Champions League goal bonanza to defeat Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 and take back control of Group H again.
United did the serious damage in just over the first half-hour, with a double from Bruno Fernandes before the 20-minute mark putting us in command and then a Marcus Rashford penalty after 35 minutes turning the evening into a welcome stroll.
A consolation goal in the second half for Basaksehir’s Deniz Turuc, a stunning free-kick, was answered by a fourth United strike, from substitute Daniel James in injury time.
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The Reds produced a classy performance to beat Istanbul Basaksehir at Old Trafford.
If there were any lingering tensions from having lost in Istanbul, they were swiftly dispelled. United couldn’t have got off to a better start, with the Turkish visitors barely venturing into the Reds half before our talisman Fernandes thundered in the opener after six minutes.
There have been some blistering, memorable goals scored at Old Trafford in the Champions League and the Portuguese’s crashing drive from the edge of the area deserves to rank among the best after Basaksehir couldn’t fully clear an Alex Telles corner.
It looked like Bruno had added an assist to his stats five minutes later when he superbly slipped a ball through to Rashford. The striker nicked the ball under goalkeeper Mert Gunok only for his effort to be ruled offside.
The Telles-Fernandes link-up worked again after 19 minutes as United went 2-0 up, though it needed the help of a dreadful error from keeper Gunok as he fumbled the Brazilian’s cross and our midfielder had a simple tap-in for his second.
Fernandes generously gave up the chance to score a first-half hat trick when United were awarded a 33rd -minute penalty. Rashford was barged over by Boli Bolingoli after he was put through superbly by Victor Lindelof’s long pass. Regular spot-kick taker Bruno thoughtfully handed the opportunity to Rashford, who hadn’t scored in four matches.
The Mancunian sidled up to the ball and confidently struck home to make it 3-0 to get his goal account moving again.
Solskjaer's first substitution was made at half-time, as Axel Tuanzebe replaced the rested Victor Lindelof. Five minutes later, David De Gea was forced into his first serious save of the match as he turned a goal-bound Visca shot around the post for a corner and it was a marker of things to come as United's mojo went missing for a while.
Both of our first-half goalscorers, Fernandes and Rashford, were subbed just before the hour as Mason Greenwood and Daniel James came on. They were joined by Brandon Williams who replaced Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Inevitably with the changes and a comfortable lead, the rhythm and danger was difficult to pick up again for United in the second 45 minutes. And the Turks took advantage as Deniz Turuc grabbed a goal back after 75 minutes with a vicious free-kick that De Gea clawed away but the ball had already crossed the line.
Then Visca hit the bar to give United yet another fright. Solskjaer sensed potential late danger and reacted to bring on Nemanja Matic for Anthony Martial with eight minutes to go to bring order and James then went on to stroke home his side's fourth goal in stoppage time to end the match as the Reds had started it, in style.
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Twitter was pretty impressed with the Reds' belting performance against Istanbul Basaksehir, as you can see here...
United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (Williams 58) , Lindelof (Tuanzebe 45), Maguire, Telles; van de Beek, Fred; Rashford (James 58), Fernandes (Greenwood 58), Martial (Matic 82); Cavani.
Substitutes not used: Grant, Henderson, Mengi, Fosu-Mensah, Mata, Pellistri, Ighalo.
Goals: Fernandes (7,19), Rashford (35 pen), James (90+2).
Booked: Tuanzebe, Maguire.
Istanbul Basaksehir: Mert Gunok; Rafael, Skrtel (Ponck 86), A. Epureanu, Bolingoli (Hasan Ali Kaldirim 73); Berkay Ozcan (Giuliano 73); Visca, Deniz Turuc, Irfan Can Kahveci (Mahmut Tekdemir 45), Chadli (Gulbrandsen 61); Ba.
Substitutes not used: Volkan Babacan, Ahmet Kivanc, Kaplan, Karakus.
Goal: Turuc (75).
Booked: Skrtel, Tekdemir, Turuc.
"We know every single game, if we perform to our best level we’ll beat anyone. That’s the challenge for the boys and the pressure for the boys.
“Of course, we’re happy today, a very good performance, we created chances. Going into half-time at 3-0 was comfortable, sometimes it’s nice for the heartbeat to be a little bit lower!
“There was some great interchange football, great link-up play, one and two touch football, and some fantastic goals. So we’re very pleased.
“I was thinking at half-time, ‘maybe I should make more substitutions.’ But you don’t want to give the boys the impression that the game is over and we can relax, we wanted to go out there and get the fourth.
“We couldn’t, but then after about an hour we thought we needed to rest some of these players because it’s going to be a long season.”
MAN OF THE MATCH
Bruno Fernandes romped away with yet another Man of the Match award.
His two goals in the space of 12 first-half minutes secured him the honour against Istanbul Basaksehir with 68 per cent of the votes.
Our no.18 smashed in a cracking first goal after seven minutes but then had a gift of a second strike in the 19th minute when the Turks' goalkeeper dropped a cross and the ball landed at Bruno’s feet. He then gave up the chance of a first-half hat-trick when he handed the ball to Marcus Rashford to score our third from the spot after 35 minutes.
Donny van de Beek was Fernandes’s closest rival for the award with 20 per cent of the votes.
Bruno’s brace helped him reach 20 goals quicker than any other United midfielder and he said, “I’m happy for that, my team-mates have helped me a lot. It was really important the way everyone helped me in the first days and games, so I’m really happy. It’s important for me but the most important thing is helping the team and I think I can help a little bit more.”