Tough Test In Turkey For United

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted earlier this UEFA Champions League campaign that the mere mention of the name ‘Galatasaray’ is enough to trigger “cold sweats”, thanks to the Turkish powerhouse causing a couple of famous upsets in the mid-nineties. The fact the likes of Fenerbahce and Besiktas have also won at Old Trafford in recent years shows the danger posed by teams from the underrated Spor Toto Super Lig.

Ferguson showed how seriously the Red Devils take the threat from Turkish sides by playing a near full-strength outfit in their scrappy 1-0 win at the Theatre of Dreams in September. How this match unfolds will depend largely on the XI the United boss puts out on the park. After four straight wins, his side has well and truly booked its place in the next phase of the competition, leaving Galatasaray to fight it out for the final qualifying spot in Group H, along with Romania’s CFR Cluj and Portuguese outfit Sporting Braga. Wayne Rooney missed England’s friendly against Sweden last week with an ankle problem, then didn’t suit up for the loss to Norwich after coming down with tonsillitis.

The Istanbul club won 3-1 away to Cluj earlier in November after dropping all three points at home to Braga, then drawing 1-1 with the Romanians at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium. They had found the back of the net just once in the opening three matches before discovering their goalscoring form last time out.

United has developed a nasty habit of starting poorly in the Champions League and allowing opponents to be in front at halftime . They went behind after 14 minutes against Cluj, only to win 2-1 thanks to a Robin van Persie brace. The Red Devils then recovered from a 2-0 deficit after 20 minutes at home to Braga to win 3-2 , while three goals in the last ten minutes sparked a spectacular 3-1 away win against the Portuguese. 

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