Monday, February 26, 2024

Galatasaray 3-3 Manchester United: What Were The Key Talking Points As Erik Ten Hag’s Side Suffer Another Champions League Collapse In Istanbul?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 30 Nov 2023

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In what was a major Champions League classic on Tuesday night, Manchester United find their knockout stage dreams hanging by a thread as they suffered a collapse in Istanbul.

While Erik ten Hag’s side might have got off to a dream start in Turkey as Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes produced a pair of stunning first half strikes, the Premier League giants showed more glaring defensive issues.

With Andre Onana unable to keep out Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick on the half-hour mark, the former Inter Milan shot-stopper quickly found himself at the heart of another European nightmare.

Although Scott McTominay might have reclaimed United a two-goal lead just 10 minutes after returning from the interval, Onana produced another Champions League blunder as the Cameroon international somehow palmed Ziyech’s second free-kick into his own net.

Failing to mentally recover in a contest that quickly became more like a basketball match, it was Muhammed Akturkoglu who eventually broke United’s heart as the Turkey international produced a wonderful solo strike.

Knowing that they now face a major uphill battle in their bid to punch a knockout stage ticket, nothing less than three points will be enough when German giants Bayern Munich arrive at Old Trafford on December 12th.

In an action-packed affair from Turkey on Tuesday evening, we have taken a look at the key talking points as United are now left searching for a Champions League miracle.

United’s Champions League dreams are hanging by a thread

Hit with what appears to be a costly 3-2 loss when they welcomed Galatasaray to Old Trafford on October 3rd, it was no secret that Manchester United had a huge amount of pressure on their shoulders here.

Despite taking a two-goal lead on either side of the half-time break, ten Hag has seen his squad gain a reputation for their mental fragilities on the Champions League stage.

Facing what is a real battle in their bid to claim another Premier League top-four finish this season, the Red Devils have collected just four points from their five European appearances and sit rock-bottom of the Group A standings.

Showing a string of defensive issues, there is no doubt that the pressure will once again start to pile on ten Hag’s shoulders.

Knowing that they could entirely miss out on any kind of European football in 2024 if they fail to beat German giants Bayern Munich at Old Trafford next month, questions will certainly be asked when United return to Manchester.

Galatasaray will still be fancying their chances

While Galatasaray might have open their Champions League adventure tipped as a real underdog in their bid to punch a knockout stage ticket, the Turkish giants will certainly feel that they have a golden opportunity.

Making a real statement on October 3rd as they clinched a famous 3-2 victory away at Old Trafford, Okan Buruk’s men have everything hanging in the balance when they sign off their Group A campaign away at Copenhagen next month.

Getting their hands on a first domestic crown since 2019 last season and heavily investing over the summer, Galatasaray should take plenty of positives away from their European charge this year.

Collecting four points from their back-to-back Group A showdowns against Manchester United this season and really impressing with their clinical performances in the final third, Buruk’s side showed some real resolve here.

Cashing in on a fragile United defence and mounting a stellar second half comeback in Istanbul, Galatasaray will travel to Denmark on December 12th feeling confident of following Munich out of Group A.

United have a real Onana dilemma on their hands

While there might have been plenty of excitement around Old Trafford over the summer as Onana arrived following a £47.2million move from Inter Milan, the Cameroon shot-stopper is at the heart of a Manchester United nightmare.

Although it was expected that the one-time Ajax starlet would be able to offer United a new style of play due to his perceived ability to play out from the back, Onana has struggled to find any kind of stability.

With the Red Devils electing to allow David de Gea to leave the club on a free transfer after the 33-year-old failed to agree on a new contract, there are some sections of the United fanbase that believe Onana deserves a stint on the sidelines.

With no goalkeeper in this season’s Champions League shipping more than United’s struggling number-one, Onana produced another pair of high-profile blunders in Istanbul.

Already conceding 30 goals across all competitions this season, the 27-year-old has undeniably been a key factor in United’s European struggles this year.

Match Report

Galatasaray: Muslera, Boey, Ayhan, Bardakci, Tasende, Torreira, Ndombele, Ziyech, Mertens, Zaha, Icardi

Subs: Akturkoglu, Demirbay, Nelsson, Oliveira, Yilmaz

Manchester United: Onana, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw, Amrabat, McTominay, Antony, Fernandes, Gernacho, Hojlund

Subs: Martial, Dalot, Pellistri, Mainoo

Goals: Galatasaray: Ziyech (29’, 62’), Akturkoglu (71’) – Manchester United: Garnacho (11’), Fernandes (18’), McTominay (55’)

Yellow Cards: Galatasaray: Boey, Ayhan – Manchester United: Fernandes, Amrabat, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Jose María Sanchez Martinez

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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