Galatasaray ended Manchester United’s perfect start to this season’s Champions League with a 1-0 victory in Group H in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Burak Yilmaz scored the only goal of the game at the Turk Telekom Arena when he headed in a corner in the 54th minute to take the hosts to the brink of qualification for the knockout stages
But with United already through to the second phase, this match allowed manager Alex Ferguson to give several younger players some valuable European experience in front of some of the continent’s most passionate fans.
“The possession was good and the attacking play was good,” Ferguson told Sky Sports. “We had one or two good opportunities in both halves.
“They had a few strikes from outside the box and our goalkeeper did well. Otherwise we coped well.”
Such United stars as England striker Wayne Rooney, top scorer Robin van Persie, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, the only survivor from the 1993 ‘Welcome to Hell’ trip to Istanbul, stayed in Manchester.
By contrast Tuesday saw Nick Powell, at 18 years and 242 days, become the second youngest Englishman to feature for United in the Champions League.
The fact that record is held by Kieran Richardson should warn Powell that Tuesday’s appearance is no guarantee of Old Trafford stardom.
Meanwhile, Phil Jones made his first United appearance of the season and Powell his first start.
A first half of few chances saw United keeper Anders Lindegaard make just the one save, turning away a curling Hamit Altintop shot.
But the match livened up considerably after the interval with former Liverpool player Albert Riera testing Lindegaard from long range before the Dane did well to tip Felipe Melo’s header over the bar.
But the ensuing corner saw Filmaz find space on the edge of the six-yard box before steering in a header.
The margin of defeat could have been worse for United, with Altintop’s powerful long-range shot rattling the crossbar.
Ferguson tried to conjure an equaliser by introducing Ashley Young, Federico Macheda and Joshua King off the bench but it made no difference to the result.