Man U beat Galatasaray, despite another penalty cock-up

Manchester United v Galatasaray

Alex Ferguson gets his 100th win in Europe’s premier competition, but Galatasaray were unlucky

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 08:37 ON Thu 20 Sep 2012

Manchester United 1 Galatasaray 0. A win’s a win, but there was little to cheer Alex Ferguson on a night when only a goal from Michael Carrick ensured Manchester United got their Champions League campaign off to a winning start.

Three times Galatasaray hit the woodwork and the Turkish side were also denied what looked like a clear penalty when Umut Bulup was brought down by Nemanja Vidic with a minute gone on the clock.

Fortunately for the home side, referee Wolfgang Star lacked the nerve to award a penalty so early in the contest.

United got a penalty of their own in the second half but that was wasted by Nani, the third time this season that Alex Ferguson has seen his side screw up a spot kick. The United boss needs to get a grip on his penalty-takers and tell them to stop being too clever for their own good; three weeks ago Robin van Persie failed with a cheeky chipped penalty against Southampton and against Galatasaray Nani’s stuttering run up confused no one but himself as Fernando Muslera saved comfortably.

“To be honest, I have no idea why Nani took it,” confessed Ferguson later. “I think he just ran and grabbed the ball, Robin [van Persie] should have taken it. We will have to decide before the game in future.” It’s a bizarre admission from a manger of Ferguson’s experience and one wonders what Vidic’s role is as captain if not to make such decisions in the heat of battle.

The win was Ferguson’s 100th as a manager in Europe’s premier competition but it was a victory that found little favour with the United boss. “We kept giving the ball away,” he complained later.

“It’s unusual for us to be so frivolous but it was a lack of concentration.”

Nonetheless, Ferguson pointed out that it was a win all the same and after last season, when United failed to progress from the group stage, he was just relieved to take maximum points.

“Three points in the opening game is very important, especially when you look at what happened to us last season,” he said. “Last season we got a draw at Benfica and then a draw at home, so it is a bonus that we got the win.”

That United did get the win was down to Carrick’s cool finish. Put through on goal by Shinji Kagawa after just seven minutes, the England midfielder was tripped by Muslera as he rounded the keeper. But instead of going down for the penalty, Carrick stayed on his feet and stabbed the ball into the net.

In the group’s other tie, Romanian side CFR Cluj-Napoca beat Braga 2-0 in Portugal, an unexpected result that made Ferguson sit up and take note. “With Cluj beating Braga it means an interesting next match,”

admitted the United boss, whose side travel to Romania on 2 October. · 

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