Galatasaray prevail over resilient Manchester United
Burak Yilmaz found the back of the net as Turkish giants Galatasaray defeated Manchester United and moved closer to qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League. With the pressure of qualification off their backs, Sir Alex Ferguson fielded a relatively young side, with 18 year old Nick Powell awarded with his Champions League debut. Despite the 1-0 loss during the weekend to Norwich, Ferguson persisted with goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard. Anderson, who has been impressive so far, Alexander Buttner, Darren Fletcher and Phil Jones, who returned from a knee injury, all joined captain Michael Carrick, who played in the heart of defense. This is Manchester United’s first defeat in the 2012-13 season UEFA Champions League campaign, prior to which they had a 100% win record. Galatasaray were coming off a 3-1 defeat to Karabukspor in the Turkish league. Despite that defeat, the Turkish giants remained at the top of the table.
Fatih Terim went in with Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, Hamit Antiltop, Emmanuel Eboue and Burak Yilmaz for the United clash. Ex-Juventus midfielder Felipe Melo started alongside Nordin Amrabat. The hosts were initially pegged back by the attacking prowess of Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Nick Powell, the trio coming up with very decent displays. However, the midfield of Anderson, Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher were having an unusual bad day, as they consistently gave away valuable possession. Rafael da Silva was back to his non-defending ways as play maker Amrabat took full advantage to earn corners for his side. Galatasaray looked like a settled unit in midfield as they passed the ball with such ease, with one of Hamit Altintop’s shots hitting the crossbar.
After a lack-lusture first half, the second half couldn’t come soon enough for the home side. Ex-Arsenal full back Emmanuel Eboue delivered a cross which was met with a flying header by Felipe Melo, but Lindegaard kept it out with some brilliant reflexes. Soon, Galatasaray made their intentions clear with a shot from ex-Liverpool winger Albert Riera, but it was turned back by the United Keeper for a corner. Galatasaray captain Selcuk Inan delivered the ball, only for it to be met by the in-form striker Burak.
The goal brought about some amount of urgency in the United camp, prompting Ferguson to bring on the likes of Ashley Young, Joshua King and Federico Macheda, but even the reinforcements could not capitalize on the day which resulted in United’s second defeat on the trot.
As for Sir Alex, this defeat would bring back the memories of 1993-94 season,where United were eliminated by Galatasaray at the Ali Sami Yen stadium. However, the situation being different, the loss would have certainly brought back memories of the nuisance and the uproar created by the Turkish based fans.
His focus now will turn towards the Saturday fixture against Queen’s Park Rangers. He will, however, be proud of the fact that his young side, missing the likes of Rooney and Van Persie gave Galatasaray a run for their money and made them earn their victory.