Burak Yilmaz's second half goal puts Galatasaray's Champions League fate firmly in their own hands with only one group stage match remaining
A second half goal was enough for Galatasaray to earn the victory over Manchester United and put their Round of 16 qualification chances firmly in their own hands.
Despite the fact Manchester United are through to the next round, fielding a weaker lineup and playing a Galatasaray side that needs to win, they're having the better of the play. While the Turkish side certainly had more possession and generated more chances, it was United that had the better opportunities and more dangerous chances on goal. Of course, part of the reason
Galatasaray didn't look all that dangerous was thanks to a combination of solid goalkeeping from Anders Lindegaard and a United defense willing to jump in front of nearly every shot. United's defense combined for four saves and blocks in the first half.
United's best chance to get the opening goal came in the 43rd minute off a corner kick. Tom Cleverley's set piece to the far post looked to be set for an easy clearance by Galatasaray, but Nick Powell made a great late run, out jumping the defender and heading the ball off the crossbar.
Galatasaray roared out of the locker room, putting immediate pressure on United who held firm for about eight minutes. Albert Riera forced a save from Lindegaard in the 49th minute after he uncorked a shot from about 25-yards out that was caught by the United keeper.
In the 53rd minute, Lindegaard made a ridiculous reflex save on a Felipe Melo header, deflecting the ball up and over for a corner. Unfortunately, on the ensuring set peice, his defense let him down. Melo was able to out muscle Powell in the box, creating space for Burak Yilmaz to run in to. Yilmaz got his head on Selcuk Inan's corner kick and headed it in to put Galatasaray ahead 1-0.
If not for the woodwork Galatasaray would have scored a second goal in the 78th minute. Hamit Altintop unleashed an right footed missile from outside the box that hammered off the bottom of the cross bar and out.
Galatasaray survived the usual late rush from United and held on for the key 1-0 victory. The three points keeps them tied with CFR Cluj, but the Turkish club holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.
It'll be all to play for when Galatasaray travels to face Braga for their final group stage match on December 5th. Meanwhile for United, it's their first loss of the group stages, but their place in the next round was already secured.