FootballManchester United

United move closer to knockout stage with win over Istanbul

Reds win comfortably 4-1 on Matchday Four

Flying out of the gate

 Manchester United took a big step towards qualification to the knockout stage of the Champions League Tuesday beating Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 from Old Trafford.

United pressured early and often with two goals from Bruno Fernandes, and one each from Marcus Rashford and Daniel James.

Game Story

 United came out flying determined to show their 2-1 defeat in Turkey on matchday three was nothing more than a bad day at the office.

Just seven minutes into the contest an Alex Telles corner was headed into the path of Fernandes who rifled a first-time strike into the roof of the net to put United ahead.

The Reds were unlucky to go 2-0 up five minutes later as Fernandes turned provider, finding Rashford in on goal.

The United striker found the back of the net, but the flag was up for offside.

In the 19th minute, United were two goals to the good.

Keeper Mert Gunok badly bobbled a routine cross from Alex Telles.

It went straight to Fernandes who easily finished it off in the open goal.

Just before the half-hour mark, the Turks had an opportunity to score.

A long-range free-kick from Edin Visca from close to 25-yards out sailed just over David de Gea’s goal.

In the 33rd minute, a familiar sight as United earned another penalty.

Marcus Rashford caught the Turkish defense flat-footed just beating the offside trap on the right side of half.

He raced down the right before getting shouldered to the ground by Bolingoli unnecessarily.

Fernandes gave up a chance at the hat-trick to Marcus Rashford.

His penalty wrong-footed Gunok to make it 3-0.

Istanbul was close again off a set-piece in the 39th minute.

A free-kick off by Visca found the head of Demba Ba who didn’t make strong contact with the ball and it sailed over the bar.

Bolingoli nearly made up for his error just before the half.

Some good work down the left wing saw him feed Ba for a close-range effort around the six-yard box.

A good block from Harry Maguire saw Ba’s effort deflect wide.

The second half was relatively quiet as United seemed to be on cruise control.

Bruno Fernandes picked out Edinson Cavani in the 49th minute as the Uruguyan twisted and turned inside the box but his shot deflected wide.

A minute later de Gea was forced to make a great save as Visca unloaded a low strike into the left corner from distance.

The Spaniard once again though was equal to the task.

The Turks pulled a goal back in the 75th minute.

Deniz Turuc unleashed a brilliant left-footed free-kick over the United wall and into the corner.

Once again, de Gea got there to save it but goal-line technology showed it crossed the line before he got there and Istanbul was on the mark.

Some great link-up in the 92nd minute between Cavani and Donny van de Beek helped United to a fourth.

The Dutchman sent Mason Greenwood free down the right.

The England international squared it up to James who easily slipped it past Gunok for United’s fourth.

Flipping the Script

 Heading into matchday four United hadn’t had much success against Turkish opponents.

They’d lost their last two games against Turkish teams and three of the last four in European competition.

Their fortunes at Old Trafford appear to be turning around as well.

Before last weekend’s win over West Brom, the Reds had only won once of their last five matches at home in both Europe and the Premier League.

With Tuesday’s win, they’ve now won seven straight games in European competition at home.

Man of the Match

 Bruno Fernandes put in another sublime performance for the Reds on Tuesday.

The Portuguese international kick-started the offence with a thundering strike, and poked home the second from a goalkeeping error all before the game was 20 minutes old.

He could’ve had a hat-trick on 35 minutes but instead gave Rashford a chance to get on the scoresheet from the penalty spot.

Since joining United back in January from Sporting Lisbon the midfielder’s scored 21 goals in 35 appearances.

No Reds midfielder has ever reached that landmark in such a short period of time.

Notable Stats

 Man United’s been a Jekyll and Hyde team when it comes to their performances at Old Trafford in Europe and the Premier League.

They’ve got a mere three goals in the EPL at home this season while conceding 10.

In the Champions League however, they’ve now scored nine goals and conceded just one in two games.

If you go back further their track record in Europe at home is even more impressive.

In their last seven European matches including Tuesday, they’ve netted 24 times at Old Trafford while conceding only twice.

The Turkish champions from Istanbul continue to struggle on the road in Europe scoring only twice in their last four encounters and conceding 12.

Marcus Rashford continues to find the back of the net in Europe this season.

His first-half penalty marker puts him at five goals in four matches in this season’s Champions League.

That’s more than he had in his previous 18 appearances in the Champions League.

Managers Thoughts

 Following the match manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted with his team’s performance.

“You saw the intensity straight away. It’s a Champions League night at Old Trafford – you expect them to enjoy themselves. We created some great chances, scored some very nice goals so I’m pleased.

On the Cusp

 United’s victory keeps them atop the group standings with nine points.

That’s three points clear of PSG who beat RB Leipzig on Tuesday 1-0.

Leipzig is tied with PSG for the second qualification spot in the group at six points.

A draw on matchday five would be enough to see United through to the round of 16.

Next Up

 United’s focus shifts to the Premier League where they travel to St. Mary’s stadium to face Southampton.

Kickoff on Sunday is 2 pm.

Their next Champions League encounter is next Wednesday, December 2 from Old Trafford against PSG.

Game time is 8 pm. (JSL)

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