Manchester United’s miserable season gained another chapter as they threw away a lead on two occasions to lose at home to Galatasaray.
Rasmus Hojlund had given United the lead when he converted Marcus Rashford’s cross in the first half, before the returning Wilfried Zaha outmuscled Diogo Dalot to bounce in an equaliser.
A brilliant run and finish from Hojlund put United back in front midway through the second half, but the hosts then disintegrated as Kerem Akturkoglu punished slack defending to equalise, then Andre Onana’s weak kick played Casemiro into trouble, and the Brazilian conceded a penalty and was sent off.
Mauro Icardi sent that kick wide, but the Argentinean soon raced through an open defence to dink home the winner and secure Gala’s first Champions League win for five years.
Here are the game’s talking points as compiled by Mirror football.
Rasmus Hojlund does more than look the part
Tall, blond, Scandinavian, and a with name that sounds like an old Pro Evo version of the other Manchester-based striker you’re all thinking of, Hojlund could easily crumble under the pressure of playing for Manchester United. But the Dane is only 20 and the time for judgements is a long, long way ahead. United have signed him for potentially the next six years, not six months.
That said, you could see here just why he has to be in the team as the side’s focal point right now, with the Dane in the right place and the right time to nod home a clinical cross from Rashford that could not have been better placed, and then scoring that superb second when he raced away from the visiting defence.
Hojlund gives United a cutting edge, and while he might be a work in progress – as his early movement for the offside goal showed – he is certainly an interesting one.
Wilfried Zaha looked very bothered
He couldn’t have been more emphatic when he batted away the questions about his return to England – and to Old Trafford – at Galatasaray’s pre-match press conference, but when given the chance to shine on a stage he’s long looked suited too, Zaha certainly did look bothered.
His goal wasn’t the type that we used to see him score for Palace, as he outmuscled the poor Dalot to bundle the ball in, but it showed a desire and a will that we often used to see at Selhurst Park.
He might be in the Champions League at a later stage of his career than many expected, and it may not be with the club that many expected to see him play for, but Zaha is going to enjoy himself now he’s here.
Marcus Rashford’s unease in front of goal should alarm
Remember Rashford’s goal to open the scoring in the 3-1 defeat at the Emirates? He certainly does as it is his only one this season in 11 appearances for club and country combined, a run which falls way short of last season’s prolific standards.
He got 30 in 56 club games then, comfortably his best tally at United, so is this a reversion to the mean? The lack of confidence when running through in the second half, opting to try and pass to Bruno Fernandes instead of shoot, certainly told a story.
Andre Onana spreads chaos when calmness was needed
After Hojlund’s fantastic second goal there was a sense of defiance around Old Trafford, and that this could be the game which gives the club lift-off in this most disjointed of seasons. Then Onana happened.
The goalkeeper first flapped at a cross to spread a real sense of unease around the ground, and then after Akturkoglu levelled matters the goalkeeper took over in a way that defied belief, with his dreadful kick effectively acting as a hospital pass for Casemiro, who conceded a penalty and was sent off. Chaos reigned, and it was because of the goalkeeper.
Erik ten Hag’s latest crisis
So another game and another defeat for Manchester United, who can now add back-to-back Champions League losses to their four Premier League defeats this season. It is grim stuff, and just as bad as at any time in the post-Ferguson era.
Does Ten Hag come under pressure? He has to, as there is a real prospect of no European football at all come the New Year, something that would only emphasise the mess they are in.
The manager has to get to grips with this or questions over his job will surely follow.