Manchester United 4-1 Istanbul Basaksehir
Bruno Fernandes scored twice and appeared to give up the chance of a hat-trick from the penalty spot as Manchester United avenged their defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir earlier this month with a convincing 4-1 win at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford eventually dispatched the spot-kick he won (35) but a second half that appeared to be meandering to a close sparked into life with 15 minutes remaining when Deniz Turuc’s free-kick reduced the deficit.
United wobbled as Edin Visca instantly rattled the crossbar, but Basaksehir’s spirited fightback ultimately fell short as Daniel James added a stoppage-time fourth from Mason Greenwood’s pass (90+2).
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side remain top of Champions League Group H on nine points from four games and are in control of their own destiny with Paris Saint-Germain in second on six points having defeated RB Leipzig 1-0 in Tuesday’s other fixture.
United face PSG at Old Trafford before a trip to RB Leipzig, and a point from those last two games will send them through to the last 16 after Christmas.
United had lost three of their previous four games against Turkish opponents in European competition, including each of the last two in a row, but there were few scares on a comfortable evening that was in stark contrast to the events in Istanbul three weeks ago.
The hosts, without Paul Pogba once more, might have been in front inside two minutes as Rashford drew a smart save from Mert Gunok following a weaving run. It was an early warning sign the visitors would be in for a punishing evening, and United drew first blood with their next attack.
Alex Telles’ corner was flicked off the head of Edinson Cavani on his first start for his new club by Alexandru Epureanu but Fernandes was streetwise, positioning himself on the edge of the box to rifle into his shot beyond Gunok on the half volley.
Five minutes later came very nearly a candidate for goal of the season. Donny Van de Beek threaded a pass into the feet of Fernandes who impudently lent the ball to Cavani with a flick around the corner before spotting the run of Rashford with the returned pass.
But the England forward had moved fractionally too soon and was correctly flagged offside before finding the net. Sir Alex Ferguson smiled from the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand, witnessing such enterprising football. He won his first trophy with United in 1990 – the FA Cup – in the same year that Basaksehir were formed, and the gulf in history between the two clubs was being mirrored by the two sides out on the pitch.
United deservedly found a second but through fortuitous circumstances as Gunok dropped a clanger, spilling Telles’ cross from the left under very little pressure for Fernandes to pounce. It was his 21st goal in his 35th appearance in United colours.
The Portuguese was then handed the opportunity to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Rashford was bundled over inside the box by Boli Bolingoli following a fine ball from Victor Lindelof as referee Ovidiu Hategan first pointed to the spot and then waited for VAR to confirm the decision.
It was the 30th penalty United have been awarded in 75 games since the start of last season, but Fernandes stepped aside, allowing Rashford to dispatch low and hard, capping an emphatic half from the hosts – albeit one in which Basaksehir created a couple of chances of their own.
Demba Ba had been wasteful on two occasions, most notably with a header under little pressure from Harry Maguire, and David de Gea was forced into action six minutes after the restart to produce a brilliant save low down to deny Edin Visca from range.
Solskjaer sought to rest some legs on the hour-mark with James and Greenwood replacing Rashford and Fernandes ahead of the trip to face Southampton on Sunday. Wan-Bissaka also made way, but this appeared enforced as the full-back went straight down the tunnel to receive treatment.
But that was the signal for Basaksehir to break free from their apparent inferiority complex – and their improved second-half display was rewarded when Turuc surprised De Gea at his near post following Fred’s foul on Ba to the left of United’s penalty area. De Gea thought he had done enough to keep the ball from crossing the line but referee Hategan’s watch buzzed and the goal was given.
The goal unnerved United as Visca immediately sought a second with a speculative shot from range that cannoned off the bar as United went from a sprint start to staggering over the finish line before James rounded off a productive evening for the hosts.
United return to Premier League action at Southampton on Sunday, before hosting PSG in the Champions League three days later. Basaksehir face Denizlispor on Saturday and then welcome Leipzig on Wednesday.
Tonight’s other Champions League results:
- FC Krasnodar 1-2 Sevilla
- Rennes 1-2 Chelsea
- Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Club Brugge
- SS Lazio 3-1 Zenit St Petersburg
- Dynamo Kyiv 0-4 FC Barcelona
- Juventus 2-1 Ferencvaros
- Paris Saint Germain 1-0 RB Leipzig