Starting with five changes in the line up from their reverse fixture at Old Trafford, Manchester United went behind under two minutes, courtesies to a spectacular goal by Senegalese forward Moussa Sow. The first half did have the shades of the Burnley game at the weekend, where despite the superiority in possession and shots, United were not able to break through. Pogba’s injury didn’t help as he was replaced by a hungry-for-goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the half hour mark.
A rather lackluster and unimpressive Morgan Schneiderlin was hooked at half time, replaced by the popular Spaniard Juan Mata. An hour in and Fenerbahce scored yet another wonderful goal through Jermain Len’s free kick conceded by a generic Zlatan Ibrahimovic challenge. Despite all the dominance, Manchester United looked shabby and static on the ball with hardly anyone making any forward runs, seemingly still playing with the jet lag. Bringing on Mkhitaryan didn’t help either, as Fenerbahce players did a good job pressurising the player.
United came close to conceding a third twice, both the times involving opponent’s substitute Emmanuel Emenike. With all the possession United gained, they lacked the inspiration and that spark to win tonight. They fell short on the finishing yet again, majority of Fenerbahce’s attacks come from counters, and the centre backs, Marcos Rojo and Dailey Blind looked clueless when defending crosses, an area which was always handled by Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling.
In a game of brilliant goals, Rooney managed to score an extravagant shot in the top left in the 89th minute, getting ever closer to breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s record. Despite a magnificent effort from the captain, constant penetrating attack and a shout for hand ball in extra time, Manchester United were not able to find an equalizer in the dying moments and had to leave with no points.
Goals: Wayne Rooney 89′
Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Blind, Rojo, Shaw; Schneiderlin (Mata 46′), Herrera; Pogba (Ibrahimovic 30′); Rashford (Mkhitaryan 60′), Rooney, Martial
Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Jones; Young, Fellaini
Bookings: Morgan Schneiderlin 12′, Ander Herrera 18′, Juan Mata 73′
By Umang Bharali