United lose to Galatasaray but youngsters remains very promising
With United taking their confirmed place in this seasons Champions League knock-out stage to Galatasaray, United sent a second string side to face the Turkish champions, knowing that regardless of the results of their next two Champions League matches, they’d go through as group winners. The pre-match atmosphere was just as good as the media hype made it out to be, with Galatasaray fans chanting ‘Welcome to Hell’ to help intimidate our players and fans. As was made predictable by the inexperienced squad of players that he brought over, a relatively young side consisting of Jones, Büttner and Powell started alongside the likes of Darren Fletcher, who is still in the process of returning properly from his illness.
The first half started well, with United creating chances and doing a sterling job of calming the intense atmosphere. Yet, despite a few good opportunities, notably a Nick Powell header that hit the bar, nobody could find the net. Galatasaray’s Semih Kaye was lucky to stay on the pitch after going in hard on Tom Cleverley, while Riera and Amrabat’s partnership caused problems for the young Rafael, with most of Galatasary’s attack came from the left flank. Elsewhere, another of Galatasaray’s players, Felipe Melo, was also lucky not to have been sent off after committing two rash challenges that would’ve both merited a red card in England. The first half ended with United on top, but with no lead to show for it.
The second half saw a significant switch in momentum. The rash Felipe Melo released a strong header straight at Lindegaard, forcing the Dane to make a marvellous reflex save. The resulting corner from Altinop was met by Yilmaz, who out muscled Darren Fletcher and Nick Powell in the process, with the ball landing into the net off his head via the post. The Turkish fans went wild, and although United responded, they never really put too much pressure on Galatasaray’s goal. The next best chance of the game came to Galatasaray, with Altinop firing a venomous shot that was tipped excellently onto the bar by Lindegaard. The game ended 1-0, but the hostile and energetic atmosphere undoubtedly helped the young players grow. We saw what an effect such a night had on the likes of Giggs, Scholes, Neville and Beckham back in 1993, and hopefully these young players will head down the exact same route.