Manchester United are looking to take one step into the Champions League knockout stages by defeating lowly Istanbul Basaksehir. But they were unable to do so, instead falling to a 1-2 loss to the Turkish side – handing them their first win ever in the competition. The Red Devils got off to a terrible start, with some lacklustre defending allowing former Chelsea man Demba Ba to run through on goal and put his side ahead in the 13th minute.
Things went from bad to worse for United in the 40th minute when Istanbul doubled their lead through a clever swift-break, finished off in emphatic fashion by Edin Visca. But the Red Devils hit back instantly afterwards, pulling one back through Anthony Martial’s emphatic header in the 43th-minute to get something positive from a dreadful half.
United didn’t look any better in the second half and despite throwing in the kitchen sink at them, they were only able to force a last-minute goal-line clearance and fell to their first loss in the UCL campaign – against the most unexpected opponents.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (3.0) –
The fact that Solskjaer played his strongest attacking side against the ‘whipping boys’ of the group and oversaw THIS result does not reflect well on his tactics. He just can’t seem to get United to break down deep defensive lines and the Red Devils are just too predictable with their attacking patterns now. To make things worse, his tactics to move almost everyone forward caused the two cheap goals too.
Ole needs to change things up to save his job, at this point. Unless he can train the players better to be more unpredictable when dominating possession or find that special cutting-edge in their attack, opponents will keep picking on their weak spots and make things even worse in the next few weeks.
Dean Henderson (5.0) –
Henderson makes his UCL debut tonight but got a rude awakening quite early on, as he was helpless to save Ba’s attempt in a 1v1 situation. Again he could do nothing to save the emphatic attempt for the second and didn’t have much to do beyond that. His distribution was pretty good but the youngster will be disappointed to debut in such a game.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (4.5)-
Wan-Bissaka was partially culpable for Istanbul’s opener, as his poor decision making and cross was intercepted and played up field for the goal. He denied Istanbul a few counter-attacks with some nice tackles, but his attacking work was really poor as he couldn’t time a single cross properly.
Harry Maguire (4.5) –
Maguire’s not being too comfortable with Tuanzebe’s struggles in dealing with Ba. Made a key interception in the 35th to deny the hosts a possible second. But undid that good work by getting outwitted in embarrassing fashion by Ba leading to Visca’s strike. Did some decent cover-up defending in the second, but his big mistake earlier on ultimately cost United points.
Axel Tuanzebe (4.0) –
Tuanzebe’s back in the lineup after his PSG heroics. Looks shaky dealing with the menacing Demba Ba and was lucky not to get sent off in the 20th when he pulled back from going through on goal. Was all over the place with his nervy defending in the first half and was subbed off in the second for being on a yellow card.
Luke Shaw (7.0) –
Shaw’s attacking pedigree will be tested more than his defensive one tonight. Tries an ambitious shot from wide in the 9th, but saw it scrap just wide. But proves that he can assist goals, putting in a perfect cross to tee up Martial’s strike.
Almost every move went through his side today, but the left-back couldn’t get his other crosses in a similar precise fashion. But seems to be improving with his attacking work, which is one of the only positives from this game.
Nemanja Matic (5.0) –
Matic looks too casual today and got caught napping horribly leading to Istanbul’s opener, with Ba outpacing him to score. Couldn’t really throw his weight around in midfield and his lack of creativity saw Matic being moved into a centre-back position in the 2nd half. Didn’t really have too many problems because of Istanbul’s defensive stance but his forward passes were extremely poor again today.
Donny van de Beek (7.0) –
Van de Beek starts his second-consecutive UCL game but will be eager to get among the goals tonight. Showed some lovely feet to beat the press from 2 players in the 9th to create a decent attacking move. Seemingly never lost possession tonight, moving on the ball in tidy fashion and also making key interceptions. Unfairly subbed after another commendable showing.
Bruno Fernandes (4.0) –
Bruno’s looking to bounce back strongly from Sunday’s disappointment with a strong showing. Had a difficult chance to score in the 5th, but his volley scraped wide. Not able to get his cutting-edge passes right and made a terrible pass to force Mata into a difficult predicament in the 40th, leading to the second goal for the hosts.
Manages his first shot on target with a venomous free-kick in the 55th. Apart from that one shot, Bruno was extremely underwhelming. He couldn’t time his passes correctly and was extremely frustrating with constant errors. Needs to rediscover his top form soon for United to come back from this difficult period.
Juan Mata (5.0) –
A well-deserved start for Mata, who loves playing with his best mates Bruno and Van de Beek. Can’t seem to get that spark with his link-up style today and was horribly stolen off possession sparking the second for Istanbul. Couldn’t create anything definitive and subbed after the hour-mark as a result.
Anthony Martial (7.0) –
The Frenchman is back into the lineup, but had a frustrating first half-hour, only getting one shot on target blocked by Rafael. But he redeemed a terrible half for United by pulling one back with a strong header into the net. Got moved into the left-wing in the second half and created a few half-chances with his impressive work on the ball.
Martial was United’s best attacker today. His close control, hold-up play and dribbles caused big problems to the defenders & he worked his socks off to try redeeming something for his side – which not many of his teammates could replicate.
Marcus Rashford (4.5) –
Rashford has 4 goals from 2 UCL games and is hungry to add to that today. But he just couldn’t get his groove on today, not being able to get any space in the dangerous areas and being marked out of the game. Got outperformed by ex-teammate Rafael today and didn’t look as energized either.
Scott McTominay (5.5) –
McTominay didn’t allow things to get even worse in the second half by protecting his backline well. But when United needed goals, he couldn’t do anything to help create them – with his passing extremely predictable as well.
Paul Pogba (4.5) –
Pogba has a lot to prove after his disappointing performance on Sunday. But he looked the same lacklustre self as he did at the weekend. Couldn’t force any opportunities, gave away possession cheaply and was way too casual/uncaring with his contribution when United needed goals.
Edinson Cavani (4.0) –
United hoped their new #7 would turn up his magic and redeem a respectable result for them, but Cavani fell flat in the last half-hour. The only thing he did was the same predictable running patterns around the penalty area and never got into promising scoring areas. Still looks extremely rusty and lacking match sharpness.
Mason Greenwood (N/R) –
Mason was swung inside in the last 10 minutes, but was absolutely boxed out of the game due to Basaksehir’s strict defensive shape. Had one chance to get a shot towards the end, but his poor touch saw the chance wasted.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (N/R) –
Fosu-Mensah made some clutch challenges towards the end to deny the hosts any chance at scoring a 3rd, but could not contribute anything going forward.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Martial definitely stood out as United’s best attacking player and one of the few ones who actually looked like they wanted to win. But for his impressive work bullying United’s defenders and helping Basaksehir secure their first-ever UCL win, Demba Ba gets today’s MOTM!