Galastasaray 1 – 0 Manchester United
Buruk Yilmaz (53)
VENUE – Turk Telecom Arena
REFREEE – Carlos Velasco Carballo
Galatasaray needed 3 points from the game and that was exactly what they got. Buruk Yilmaz who is the Turkish side’s joint top scorer with Umur Bulut scored from a corner sending the home side into frenzy. Manchester United tried hard to find the equalizer but the home side held on and is in the driver’s seat for qualification to the knockout stages. Both teams had their moments in the game and could have easily won. United, before the match was guaranteed top spot from the group and hence it was an opportunity for the fringe players and the youngsters to get a chance. Galatasaray face the eliminated Braga next knowing that their fate lies in their own hands. Manchester United on the other hand will have another opportunity to give its young players some valuable experience in the match against the Romanians Cluj.
Galatasaray: Muslera; Eboue, Kaya, Nounkeu, Riera; Altintop, Inan, Felipe Melo, Amrabat; Burak Yilmaz, Elmander. Subs: Ceylan, Cris, Bulut, Birinci, Kurtulus, Baytar, Colak.
Manchester United: Lindegaard; Rafael, Jones, Carrick, Buttner; Anderson, Fletcher; Cleverley, Powell, Welbeck; Hernandez.Johnstone, Young, Macheda, Wootton, Cole, Vermijl, King.
Galatasaray – The home team needs to win this match to stand any chance of qualifying for the next stage and their starting shows the intent albeit with a little surprise. Elmander starts with top scorer Bulut on the bench. This is a bit of gamble from Fatih Terim given the fact that the Swedish striker was very ineffective at Old Trafford last time around. Mulsera starts in goal with with Eboue on the right and Riera on the left side on defense. Kaya and Nounkeu start in the centre of defense. Melo starts in the defensive midfield position with Altintop, Inan and Amrabat supporting the attack. Yilmaz shares the goal scoring burden with Elmander.
Manchester United– A shadow side travelled to Turkey as qualification already guaranteed. Phil Jones returned from injury in the weekend and he starts alongside Carrick in the centre of defense. Rafael starts again at right back while Alexander Buttner, the Holland defender starts on the left. Anders Lindegaard, United’s No 2 keeper gets a game infront of a new look defensive unit. Sir Alex Ferguson has experimented with the diamond formation and with the absence of wingers this seems the plausible explanation seeing Fletcher, Anderson, Cleverly and Powell all start in the midfield with Welbeck and Hernandez in attack. For United this is a dead rubber but the team selection definitely doesn’t suggest so.
Welcome to Hell was the message from the home fans and the atmosphere was fantastic. Both set of fans were cheering for their team. The home side got the match under way. In the initial stages, both sides were feeling each other out. The visitors had a decent spell of possession but did not really do anything with it. Jones, returning from injury gave the ball away to Amrabat whose fierce shot was spilled by Lindegaard but was cleared by Carrick. The home side looked the more dangerous of the two. The visitors though, were doing some neat passing in the opposition half. The game’s first yellow card went to Kaya whose high two footed challenge might have been a red on a different day. Galatasaray were starting to create spaces near the United box but did not threaten the goal. Rafael was booked for a challenge on Amrabat and from the resulting freekick Yilmaz missed a glorious chance from a free header. The home side was finding joy on the left side with Riera and Amrabat combining well. The Turkish side nearly took the lead in a sustained spell of possession late in the first half but the English team stood strong. In the dying moments of the first half Welbeck made a brilliant run from his own half to the opposition box but did not have much support and had to settle for a corner. From Cleverly’s corner Powell nearly broke the deadlock with a brilliant header, only to hit the post. The half ended at 0-0 and with Cluj leading Braga 3-1, Galatasaray had it all to do in the second half
Galatasaray came out in the second half with determination. They knew Cluj were leading and only a win would suffice. They started the second half on a strong note and controlled possession from the outset. The home team was on the charge and Riera had a decent shot saved by Lindegaard. The break from the home side came on 53 minutes. Eboue cross found an unmarked Melo whose goal bound header was brilliantly saved by the United keeper. He was helpless from the resulting corner though, when Yilmaz headed the back in the top left corner. The Turkish side was ahead and the home fans were ecstatic. Their destiny was back in their own hands. A game of cat and mouse followed with both sides having decent spells of possession and half chances. Manchester United reacted well to going behind and Hernandez missed a glorious opportunity to equalize. Altintop nearly doubled the lead but lindegaard’s brilliant fingertip save deflected the ball onto the post. United were probing and probing but to avail. The home side held on for a valuable 3 points.
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