Manchester United throw away two-goal lead in Galatasaray Champions League draw
The Red Devils knew defeat in Istanbul would extinguish their hopes of reaching the knockout phase with a game to spare.
Manchester United’s Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread after Erik ten Hag’s men imploded in a chaotic, thrill-a-minute 3-3 draw on an ear-splitting night at Galatasaray.
Having lost three of their four Group A fixtures, the Red Devils knew defeat in Istanbul would extinguish their hopes of reaching the knockout phase with a game to spare.
United avoided a loss but blew a two-goal lead on in an incredible night in Istanbul, meaning their knockout hopes require victory over Bayern in their final group game and Galatasaray to draw with Copenhagen.
This was a wild, helter-skelter encounter befitting of a Champions League campaign punctuated by goals, madness and mistakes.
A rocking Rams Park witnessed a dream United start to a breathless match, with Alejandro Garnacho completing a fine team move before Bruno Fernandes rocketed the visitors further ahead in the 18th minute.
Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick all too easily beat Andre Onana to give Galatasaray hope, which Scott McTominay appeared to extinguish when scoring in the 55th minute.
But United, not for the first time in Group A, unravelled as Onana’s howler allowed Ziyech to score another free-kick before substitute Kerem Akturkoglu levelled with a scorcher.
Fernandes hit the post from distance and Facundo Pellistri somehow failed to score as the visitors laid siege to Galatasaray’s goal, with the draw leaving them bottom of Group A and facing an early Champions League exit.
There had been doubts whether the match would go ahead due to the torrential rain that battered Istanbul throughout the day, but UEFA gave it the green light after numerous checks.
‘Welcome to Hell’ read the giant tifo that greeted the players as they emerged from the tunnel on an evening when United had initially looked unfazed.
Rasmus Hojlund was just stopped from meeting a Garnacho cross and the teenager added to Sunday’s wonder goal at Everton in the 11th minute.
Great build-up play ended with Fernandes playing across for the 19-year-old to lash past Fernando Muslera at the near post.
Garnacho celebrated in front of the home support as he and team-mates were pelted by objects from stands.
Galatasaray’s frustration soon grew in a penalty box melee that saw Onana save from a corner, Harry Maguire clear off the line and McTominay survive a handball appeal.
United quickly capitalised by going further ahead in style.
Fernandes collected a pass inside and was given space to continue forwards, before unleashing a 25-yard piledriver that flew into the top left-hand corner.
United sought a third but a Hojlund cut back was just too strong for Luke Shaw and soon their lead was reduced.
Fernandes conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box and Ziyech’s low shot went through the wall and beat Onana, who was punished for gambling where the strike would go.
The winger whipped over a strike as he looked to add to his 29th minute goal and Maguire soon blocked a Wilfried Zaha attempt.
United were wobbling and a delayed offside flag denied Mauro Icardi – the hero of Galatasaray’s 3-2 win at Old Trafford – an equaliser having been put behind and beating Onana two minutes before the break.
Play continued in a similarly hectic fashion after the interval but, as thunder and lightning filled the sky, McTominay appeared to have stopped a storm brewing on the pitch.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka hit a low, first-time cross from the right and the Scotland international turned home at the near post.
But United do not do things the easy way. Onana’s positioning for the first goal was questionable and the second was hard to compute as Ziyech’s free-kick somehow beat him in the 62nd minute.
The United goalkeeper denied Akturkoglu as Cimbom looked for an equaliser the substitute would provide in the 71st minute.
The 25-year-old was played through and held firm under pressure to lash past Onana at his near post in spectacular fashion.
A ridiculous back and forth continue to a fervent backdrop.
Garnacho bent just wide and McTominay fizzed narrowly off target a minute later.
Galatasaray were leaving gaping holes but United were failing to punish them, with Pellistri failing before Zaha wasted a great chance at the other end.
Fernandes hit the post from 25 yards and Pellistri somehow failed to turn home after a Diogo Dalot cross fell kindly to him.
The inability to capitalise summed up United’s night and this Champions League campaign.