Galatasaray 3-3 Manchester United
Two Andre Onana errors and a thunderous strike from Kerem Akturkoglu on a stormy night in Istanbul left Manchester United’s Champions League hopes hanging by a thread as they twice blew two-goal advantages to draw 3-3 at Galatasaray.
United are now relying on other results to reach the knockout stages, with FC Copenhagen able to knock them out if they beat Bayern Munich in the later game. If FC Copenhagen don’t win that match, United will still need to win their final Group A game at home to Bayern and hope the result in the other fixture goes their way.
United had looked on course to escape from this wet and wild encounter with a crucial victory with 20 minutes to play but sub Akturkoglu – a goalscorer at Old Trafford last month – hammered home an equaliser to the delight of the home fans, who had created an incredible noise throughout.
The visitors had only themselves to blame, though, with Onana at fault for both Hakim Ziyech free-kick goals before Anthony Martial and Facundo Pellistri wasted last-gasp chances to win it after Bruno Fernandes had hit a post.
This was a Champions League classic. Torrential rain earlier in the day had threatened the fixture but conditions were deemed playable and the two sides threw off the shackles to serve up a thriller in a deafeningly loud, hostile atmosphere in Istanbul.
‘Welcome to Hell’ read the infamous Galatasaray slogan but United were in heaven inside 18 minutes, with Alejandro Garnacho and Fernandes fired them ahead. They were the first goals United had ever scored away to Galatasaray – but there was no feeling of comfort or confidence in this environment.
The home side, roared on, fought back. Onana had earlier made a superb reflex save, which was backed up by Harry Maguire’s goal-line clearance, but his performance will be remembered for two bad mistakes. The first saw him wrong-footed on the half-hour when he tried to anticipate where Ziyech’s set-piece would go.
Mauro Icardi then looked to have levelled just before half-time but an automated offside revealed he was just an inch or two ahead of play.
The barrage continued after the break, with United’s side-netting struck just two minutes on from the restart – but Scott McTominay’s conversion on the counter gave Erik ten Hag’s side their cushion again. Briefly. Onana’s second mistake wasn’t long coming, with the keeper fumbling Ziyech’s latest free-kick into his own net after it came through a crowd of bodies. This was an even bigger blunder.
It gave Galatasaray the platform to push for a third and they got it through Akturkoglu’s wonder strike. United’s late charge almost saw them grab a spectacular win but they now need something special to happen on the final matchday for their Champions League campaign to continue – assuming Copenhagen don’t pull off a shock in Munich on Wednesday evening.
United remain bottom of Group A on four points, level with Copenhagen, a point behind Galatasaray and eight off home-and-hosed Bayern.
Garnacho once again produced the early breakthrough for United. His lashed left-foot strike from inside the box here wasn’t as sensational as his overhead against Everton in the Premier League on Sunday but it was perhaps even more important, given the perilous position of United in Group A.
Referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez had to warn the Argentina youngster after he hushed the baying home fans in celebration. Those Galatasaray supporters were infuriated again when penalty appeals for handball against Scott McTominay were turned down soon after.
With the game swinging from end-to-end, Fernandes fired a stunner into the top corner for United’s second. It was a super strike but even a two-goal advantage didn’t feel secure in this hostile environment and so it proved, with Ziyech’s low free-kick deceiving Onana, who wrongly expected an effort up and over his wall and ended up conceding on the side of the goal he should have been protecting.
A rapid counter-attack led to McTominay putting Man Utd 3-1 up 10 minutes into the second half, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka lightening down the flank before crossing for the Scot to slide in. But once again Onana handed Galatasaray a way back into the game, failing to clasp Ziyech’s firm free-kick. Akturkoglu’s fantastic touch and finish levelled the scores – and it had felt like it was coming.
Still United had moments to win it. Fernandes was inches away from scoring another long-range rocket when he hit the woodwork. Martial dithered as he looked set to finish from close range. Pellestri was crowded out amid some desperate defending. But on a night when they scored their first ever goal away to these opponents there wasn’t to be a fourth.
Manchester United are back in Premier League action away to Newcastle United on Saturday; kick off 8pm. Erik Ten Hag’s side complete their Champions League group stage campaign at home to Bayern Munich on December 12; kick off 8pm.