Manchester United’s Champions League hopes hung in the balance after a 3-3 draw against Galatasaray in Istanbul on Tuesday, denting their chances of progressing to the knockout stages.
The English giants initially looked commanding with a two-goal lead within the opening 18 minutes. However, a spirited Galatasaray side fought back, ultimately sealing a draw that left United with a challenging final fixture in the group stage. United had previously endured a rollercoaster campaign on the road, succumbing to a 4-3 loss against group leaders Bayern Munich and a 3-3 draw against Copenhagen.
Galatasaray’s Hakim Ziyech capitalized twice from free kicks, raising questions about Cameroonian goalkeeper André Onana’s positioning and handling during these critical moments.
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, who coached Onana previously, stood by his player, emphasizing the collective responsibility of the team despite individual errors. However, United’s disappointment was evident as they found themselves at the bottom of Group A with just four points from five matches.
Their last chance for progression depends on securing a victory against Bayern Munich, although the German side has already secured qualification. Meanwhile, Copenhagen, holding the crucial second place spot, secured a draw against Bayern, maintaining their position.
Galatasaray, also tied on points with Copenhagen, will face a decisive clash against the Danish side in their quest for a spot in the next round. The intense match in Istanbul saw both sides exchange goals rapidly, displaying the unpredictable nature of their encounter.
Despite Scott McTominay extending United’s lead to 3-1, Ziyech’s brace and Kerem Aktürkoglu’s equalizer brought Galatasaray level. Manchester United’s hopes were further dashed by missed opportunities, including a close call from Bruno Fernandes hitting the post and a chaotic situation in stoppage time.
To secure a spot in the Round of 16, Manchester United must defeat Bayern, relying on a draw between Copenhagen and Galatasaray, an arduous task given Bayern’s formidable form despite having their qualification secured.