Manchester United’s start to the season just goes from bad to worse as they slipped to a shock 2-1 defeat to Champions League newcomers Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday.
Some shambolic organisation from United was punished ruthlessly by the home side early on as Demba Ba, just as he did at Anfield against Liverpool in 2014, raced clear of United’s non-existent defence to open the scoring in the 13th minute, before Basaksehir captain Edin Viska hammered home a second five minutes before the break.
However, straight down the other end, Anthony Martial headed United back into it with the visitors’ first shot on target in the game.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer threw Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood on to try to change things, but United created very little despite their wealth of talent on the pitch, slipping to a first Champions League defeat of the season.
Man Utd just could not get going in Istanbul
Image credit: Getty Images
What United were doing for the Basaksehir opener is anyone’s guess. Every single United player was caught forward from a corner, the ball was cleared, and Ba, all on his own, had all the time in the world to pick his spot past Dean Henderson. A crazy, crazy goal.
Juan Mata’s dallying in possession brought about the second for Basaksehir, who had never scored in the Champions League proper before United’s visit, with Visca hammering past Henderson to put his side into a strong position.
Less than three minutes later, though, and Martial headed home to get on the scoresheet in back to back Champions League games for the first time to get United back in it. After the break, a United comeback was expected, with Basaksehir sitting very deep, inviting pressure. But United went from side to side, but could not find a gap.
Now, the Premier League clash with Everton on Saturday could be make or break for Solskjaer, given the start United have made to the season. Now very much a must win.
TALKING POINT – UNITED GETTING WORSE AT DEFENDING
There have been some cataclysmic error from United’s backline already this season, with the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham being their nadir, but inside 13 minutes in the Turkish capital, United’s defence excelled themselves.
For a United corner, every single defender went up, forgetting that Demba Ba was left on his own on the halfway line, probably bemused as to why he was given the freedom of Istanbul to collect an innocuous clearance before opening the scoring.
How, in Europe’s elite competition, can a team of United’s grandeur forget to leave a man back from a corner? Things just go from bad to worse for United at the moment.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Rafael
Against his former club, the Brazilian was superb at the back for Basaksehir. Nobody made more tackles in the match than the Brazilian, nor made more blocks.
Basaksehir: Gunok 7, Rafael 8, Epureanu 6, Visca 7, Aleksic 7, Ozcan 7, Kahveci 7, Ba 7, Turuc 7, Skrtel 8, Bolingoli 6... Subs: Babacan, Kivanc, Topal, Giuliano, Gulbrandsen, Ponck, Kaplan, Karakus.
Man Utd: Henderson 6, Wan-Bissaka 5, Tuanzebe 5, Maguire 5, Shaw 5, Matic 5, Mata 4, Van de Beek 5, Fernandes 4, Rashford 4, Martial 5... Subs: Fosu-Mensah 6, McTominay 5, Pogba 5, Cavani 5, Greenwood 5.
13’ - GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!! Istanbul Basaksehir 1-0 Man Utd. Well this isn't in the script as Demba Ba gives the hosts the lead! Oh my, that defending. A long clearance up the pitch, nothing special, and all of a sudden former Chelsea striker Ba is in the clear. No United player is back to mark Ba, who races clear before slotting past Henderson. Remarkably poor organisation from United.
20’ - LUCKY BOY! Axel Tuanzebe pulls Ba to the floor, when Ba did appear to be through on goal. A yellow card is brandished, but was Tuanzebe not the last man?
40’ - GGGGOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!! Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 Man Utd. What is going on here?!? The captain Visca with the finish. United masters of their own downfall again here. Mata gives the ball away so cheaply, Deniz Türüç crosses, Ba does well to throw the dummy, before Visca arrives to hammer home.
43’ - GGGGOOOOOAAAALLLL!!! Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 Man Utd. Lifeline for United from Martial! A simple goal really. Luke Shaw crosses for Martial, who is unmarked, with the Frenchman heading home. There were just two minutes and 18 seconds between the goals.
90+2’ - OFF THE LINE! It would have been a lucky, lucky goal, Maguire helped it back towards goal, the ball loops into the air, it looks to be heading in, but Epureanu is there to hook the ball off the line!
This result ended Manchester United’s longest away winning run in all competitions in their history (10 straight wins), and was their first away defeat in 19 matches since losing in January at Liverpool in the Premier League.
Including qualifiers, this was only İstanbul Başakşehir’s second win in nine UEFA Champions League matches (D2 L5), also beating Club Brugge in qualifying for the 2017-18 competition.
Manchester United have lost four of their last six away matches at Turkish opposition in all competitions (W2), including each of their last three.
Among Premier League clubs, İstanbul’s Demba Ba only has more goals in all competitions against West Brom (6) and Tottenham (5) than Man Utd (4); today was his first goal against the Red Devils since April 2013 for Chelsea.
İstanbul’s Edin Visca was the first player to both score and assist in a single UEFA Champions League game against Manchester United since Arjen Robben for Bayern Munich in April 2014, and the first to score and assist for a Turkish side in a match in the competition since Didier Drogba for Galatasaray against Juventus in October 2013.
With today his 32nd UEFA Champions League appearance, Man Utd’s Anthony Martial has scored in back-to-back games in the competition for the first time; his strike came just 137 seconds after İstanbul had gone 2-0 ahead.