Manchester United steamrolled Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in their reverse fixture in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. In an exciting game, United came out on top to exact revenge after the loss in Istanbul 3 weeks ago. A brace from Bruno Fernandes, a spot-kick from Rashford, and a late finish from Daniel James gave Ole’s men the win at home.
In a resounding move, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer announced a lineup that screamed attacking intent. The front had Martial, Cavani, and Rashford with Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek in the midfield. Fred held the lone holding midfield position with Maguire, Lindelof, Wan Bissaka, and Telles as the back 4. David de Gea continued his good form manning the goalpost. Pogba and McTominay did not feature in the squad, but Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams started on the bench.
Manchester United came out all guns blazing against the Turkish side. Despite an early scare from Istanbul, United quickly rallied and applied pressure on Istanbul. Marcus Rashford had a great run into the box but was unable to get a good shot on target. It did not take United long as an Alex Telles corner found Fernandes on the edge of the box who lashed an absolute beauty under the bar to give United the lead. With the Red Devils now ahead, Istanbul tried to push ahead in search of an equalizer. United were impressive in their passing and movement, with some very quick and intelligent passes all over the pitch.
Telles and Martial were combining brilliantly on the left and delivering some very good crosses. In the 22nd minute, an Alex Telles cross was spilled by the Istanbul goalkeeper into the path of Bruno Fernandes, who gracefully accepted and tapped the ball into the goal. The Turkish side tried to apply additional pressure in search of an equalizer. However, Victor Lindelof’s long pass to Marcus Rashford resulted in United being awarded a penalty. While everyone expected Bruno Fernandes to step up and fire it home, in a stunning move he gave Rashford the ball. The young starlet did not disappoint as he sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-0. In a very eventful first half, the Red Devils went up by 3 goals and were cruising.
At half time, Ole replaced Victor Lindelof with Axel Tuanzebe as United switched into cruise control. The half started with a few mismatched passes but United continued to look dangerous. Donny van de Beek showed his versatility all over the pitch, making great passes in the attack while also working hard and making excellent tackles in defense. Visca’s low shot looked destined for the bottom corner but David de Gea pulled off an outstanding low block to keep him out. In the 60th minute, Ole replaced Rashford with James, Bruno with Mason, and Wan Bissaka with Williams. Istanbul reduced the deficit after a well-taken freekick was called by goal-line technology. This goal gave the Turkish side some hope as the game suddenly got very frantic and nervy.
In his final sub, Ole brought on Matic to replace Martial in order to get some defensive stability and see the game out. Mason Greenwood had a great counterattacking chance but couldn’t find his feet and get the shot off. Greenwood redeemed himself in the 92nd minute when he received an excellent pass from van de Beek and squared it to Daniel James in the box. The Welshman calmly slotted the ball past the Istanbul goalkeeper to finish the game 4-1. Manchester United won comfortably and now have 9 points atop Group H. United have a busy schedule ahead of them and will hope to put together a run and give the fans something to cheer about this holiday season!
- Brilliant passing and movement all over the pitch. Bruno and Donny played the forwards some brilliant passes, and the team worked very well in the attack.
- United had some sloppy passes in the defense but pulled off some great tackles and last-ditch blocks to keep Istanbul frustrated.
- David de Gea had a good outing, despite conceding the freekick.
- Alex Telles did very well at left-back, firing in some great quality crosses.
Things to Improve
- Even though United took the foot off the gas, they invited a lot of pressure and looked vulnerable. This may affect the mentality of the team and we need to be more resilient.
- Despite starting very well, Martial had a rough 2nd half as his bad run of form continues.