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, 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, when 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 shot 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 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 wonderstrike. 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.
They remain bottom of Group A on four points, level with Copenhagen, a point behind Galatasaray and eight off home and hosed Bayern.
More to follow…
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.