Manchester United vs Istanbul Basaksehir result: Five things we learned as Red Devils cruise to win
Manchester United cruised to victory in the Champions League, beating Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Bruno Fernandes gave his side the best of starts with a thunderous early goal, while Marcus Rashford’s strike minutes later was ruled out for offside.
But United didn’t have long to wait to increase their lead, with Fernandes tapping in after a goalkeeper error before Marcus Rashford won, and converted, a penalty before half-time.
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The home side wasted several second-half chances on the counter-attack and Deniz Turuc curled in a free-kick which David de Gea couldn’t keep out to give the Turkish side hope, but it wasn’t enough to earn a comeback and Dan James wrapped up the win late on.
Here are five things we learned from the game at Old Trafford.
Anthony Martial has come under fire of late for some low-key performances and a lack of goals.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made the point that the forward needed to keep developing and push on to another level again this season, even after a better strike rate as a No. 9 last year.
Here he played from the left of the attack, Edinson Cavani coming in as striker, but again it was a night of perspiration and frustration for Martial.
He started brightly, with a few dribbles and passes infield which threatened to unlock the away side’s defence, but it was almost as though once United were in control he felt little need to exert himself to show his own best level.
Two goals in 20 minutes of very, very different types.
The Portuguese midfielder’s first was an absolute rocket, an instinctive hammer of the right boot as a half-cleared ball dropped his way.
The second was all about his non-stop attacking intent and desire to get into dangerous positions; the goal was as simple as they come in the end, stabbing in from five yards after the goalkeeper dropped a simple cross at his feet, but it owed everything to Fernandes’ constant hunger to be in and around the penalty box.
He passed up the chance of a hat-trick to allow Rashford to join him on the scoresheet, but the wise money will remain on Fernandes being the club’s top scorer come the end of the season.
It might have taken 75 minutes for Istanbul Basaksehir to make the breakthrough – and that needed the intervention of the goal line technology system – but that’s not to say they didn’t create plenty of chances.
Indeed, United might be a little relieved that Fernandes was so clinical in the opening stages.
Demba Ba caused no end of problems for the defence, Edin Visca continually dribbled through the defence and the centre-backs were indebted to David de Gea for at least two other big saves.
Going forward, United looked like they might have doubled their own tally at times – but Basaksehir will feel it was almost an opportunity missed themselves to sneak a point out of the game, given the number of openings they had.
Further positives for Solskjaer came in a number of performers either returning to the fold or staking their claim.
Cavani played the full 90 minutes, as did Alex Telles, the two summer arrivals who haven’t had a great run so far due to a lack of availability more often than not.
Donny van de Beek played a central role, tactically and literally, involved in the build-up play from deep, the covering work against the counter-attack and a supporting role in the final third.
And elsewhere, the likes of Axel Tuanzebe, Mason Greenwood, Dan James and Brandon Williams all featured off the bench, players who Solskjaer will need to keep involved and playing a key role at different times if the squad is to compete on all fronts.
Group finely poised
Nine points now for United from four games and, despite sitting top of the group, they might just be ruing their poor performance in Turkey.
A win there as well would have the Red Devils on the verge of qualification; as it is, they still need a big performance and positive result against one of PSG or Leipzig.
They have already shown they can win against one or both, but likewise they’ll expect a massively improved performance from both teams in the final two game weeks.
It could yet all be taken away from United, despite them sitting top right now, but the big positive is that the team have shown more consistency and a clinical edge in Europe than they have domestically – and there’s reason for optimism in suggesting United can finish the job.
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