MAN UNITED 1, GALATASARAY 0
Manchester United made a less than convincing start to their Champions League campaign, even though they defeated Turkey’s Galatasaray at Old Trafford to record their 100th victory in the Europe’s premier club competition.
It was a laboured display by the Reds who can count themselves lucky to have picked up three points from their Group H match thanks to an early goal from Michael Carrick.
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his side was “frivolous” with the ball in the opening period saying it was uncharacteristic to give away possession so readily.
He said: “In the first half we kept giving the ball away and Galatasaray were dangerous on the counter attack.
“It was a lack of concentration and unusual for us to be as frivolous with the ball.
“In the second half we sorted things and they didn’t have a chance. We could have scored four or five goals.”
Ferguson added that the failure to convert those chances kept them on edge.
The Reds’ manager said picking up three points from the first game was a bonus bearing in mind the first two games of last season’s Euro campaign yielded only two points.
In the wake of last season’s failure to reach the knockout phase – which was largely responsible for the club’s 16-per-cent drop in profits for the last financial year which was announced this week – the Reds are fully aware of the importance of a successful European campaign.
Sir Alex Ferguson had beforehand revealed he would be taking no risks by fielding inexperienced line ups which had proved so costly last season when they made an early exit.
Though the Reds’ manager paraded all his big guns, United were lucky to open their European account with a win.
Galatasaray were left to rue what might have been as they were three times denied by the woodwork and had umpteen other chances to cause an upset.
In the end, Carrick’s seventh-minute goal proved decisive after Robin van Persie and Shinki Kagawa had opened up the visiting defence.
Galatasaray were denied a blatant first-minute penalty following Nemanja Vidic’s clumsy challenge on Umut Bulut.
In the opening period, Nordin Amrabat and Hamit Altintop both struck the woodwork while for lengthy period you would have thought the Turks were the home team.
United had the chance to seal victory early in the second half but Nani’s weakly struck penalty was easily saved by Fernando Muslera. It had been awarded for a trip by Burak Yilmaz on Rafael.
Incredibly it was United’s third successive penalty miss of the season as Nani joined van Persie and Javier Hernandez in missing from the spot.
It would have given United valuable breathing space and prevented a tense second period in which Galatasaray were desperately unlucky not to equalise.
Former Bolton Wanderers striker Johan Elmander’s glanced header struck the upright while Emre Colak forced a brilliant save from David de Gea as United were left literally holding on by their fingertips to their slender advantage.