Manchester United slumped to an embarrassing Champions League boilover at the hands of Turkish minnows Istanbul Basaksehir, whose 2-1 home victory marked a first-ever win in the competition.
A defensive horrorshow from the Red Devils gifted the unfavoured hosts two ‘unforgivable’ first-half goals, as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called them, with United’s defenders deservedly punished for leaving attackers unmarked on multiple occasions.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have taken the lead early after a COVID-19 blow, with Lionel Messi’s Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus also both in action on a busy morning.
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First it was 35-year-old former Chelsea striker Demba Ba, who was left completely alone near the halfway line while United attacked a corner. Ba ran onto a long ball for the easiest of counter-attacks, scoring the team’s first-ever Champions League goal in the 13th minute. He beat goalkeeper Dean Henderson, making his European debut in place of David de Gea.
Axel Tuanzebe, who impressed in Paris, had a heart-stopping moment after he pulled Ba back but escaped with a yellow card.
Basaksehir remained threatening on the break, with United worryingly open at the back, and they were caught napping again five minutes before half time.
Deniz Turuc robbed Juan Mata of possession down the left and raced forward, sending over a cross that Ba stepped over and Visca smashed home.
United crucially reduced the deficit in the 43rd minute when Martial steered a Shaw cross home with his head.
Solskjaer hooked Tuanzebe off at the interval, with Scott McTominay coming on and Nemanja Matic dropping back to play at centre-back alongside Harry Maguire. He then threw on Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba in place of Mata and Donny van de Beek, and Mason Greenwood came on for Rashford, but United couldn’t break through.
In the dying seconds of the game, United looked to have scored in a goal line scramble only for the ball to be dramatically cleared off the line.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had beaten Paris Saint-Germain away (2-1) and RB Leipzig at home (5-0) in a bright start to their Champions League campaign, and a win would have all-but-guaranteed their progression to the next stage.
Solskjaer said United’s performance “wasn’t good enough, against a team that worked and ran”.
“They hit us on the break a couple of times, and scored two goals like sometimes happens in Europe when you don’t defend well enough. We played a short corner and forgot about the man up front and that’s unforgivable. Two soft goals.” he told BT Sport.
He added: “You don’t just turn up and get three points in the Champions League, and that’s shown here today. We were not good enough, that’s it.”
With an away trip to Everton to come on Saturday, they look as far away as ever from finding a consistent winning formula.
CHELSEA CRUISE DESPITE CONTROVERSY
Timo Werner scored two penalties as Chelsea powered to a 3-0 win against 10-man Rennes, as defender Dalbert conceded both penalties.
Frank Lampard’s side are top of Group E with seven points after three games and look well set to qualify for the last 16.
Chelsea have started a Champions League campaign with three consecutive clean-sheets in the group stage for the first time since 2009-10.
Chelsea midfielder Kai Havertz has tested positive for COVID-19 and misses their Champions League clash with French side Rennes. The 21-year-old recent arrival is self-isolating.
In his absence, star striker Timo Werner won a clear penalty off Dalbert and converted from the spot within ten minutes, handing the Blues the perfect start at Stamford Bridge.
Dalbert’s disastrous day was complete in the 41st minute when he stuck out a foot to block Abraham’s shot and diverted it onto his arm.
After a video review, the penalty was awarded and Dalbert was dismissed for his second booking.
It was a harsh decision, but Werner lashed the spot-kick high into the roof of the net for his seventh goal of the season to rub salt into Rennes’ wounds.
Tammy Abraham made it three five minutes into the second stanza, meeting Reece James’ cross with a close-range finish for his third goal of the season and his first since September.
Lionel Messi scored as Barcelona overcame a depleted Dynamo Kiev 2-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday, while Juventus eased Ferencvaros aside and Manchester United slumped to an unexpected defeat in Turkey.
Nine-man Paris Saint-Germain lost to RB Leipzig in a repeat of last season’s semi-final.
Making his 150th appearance in European competition, Messi dispatched an early penalty at Camp Nou after he was fouled in the area and Gerard Pique headed in Ansu Fati’s cross on the hour.
Viktor Tsygankov grabbed a consolation for coronavirus-hit Dynamo as Barca, winless in four games in La Liga, recorded their third successive Group G victory to stay three points clear of Juventus.
Cristiano Ronaldo made his first start for the Italian champions since September after testing positive for Covid-19 in a 4-1 win at Hungarian side Ferencvaros.
However, the Portuguese star was outshone in Budapest by Alvaro Morata, whose two goals put Andrea Pirlo’s team in control.
Paulo Dybala added a third before an own goal from Lasha Dvali, with Franck Boli netting for the hosts in the final minute.
Emil Forsberg’s penalty earned Leipzig a 2-1 victory as they came from behind to beat a weakened Paris Saint-Germain, dealing a major blow to the Champions League aspirations of last season’s runners-up.
Angel di Maria had given PSG an early lead in Germany but he then crucially missed a penalty for the French champions, who were missing both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe due to injury and ended the contest with nine men.
Christopher Nkunku levelled before half-time for Leipzig and Forsberg converted from the spot in the 57th minute before the visitors had both Idrissa Gueye and Presnel Kimpembe sent off.
“It’s difficult. It’s maybe our fault because we didn’t get the second goal and then made a mistake on the penalty,” PSG boss Thomas Tuchel told RMC Sport.
“There was a red card, it’s then hard, 10 against 11. There were too many things going against us.”
Sevilla rallied to defeat Krasnodar 3-2 despite the dismissal of captain Jesus Navas late in the first half.
Goals from Magomed Suleymanov and Marcus Berg, the second a penalty, put Krasnodar ahead in Spain but Ivan Rakitic pulled one back for Sevilla before the break.
Morocco striker Youssef En-Nesyri struck twice in four second-half minutes to floor Krasnodar and leave the Russians alongside Rennes on just one point.
Erling Braut Haaland notched a brace to lead Borussia Dortmund to a 3-0 win at Club Brugge and send the Germans top of Group F. Thorgan Hazard had opened the scoring in his native Belgium.
Felipe Caicedo’s late equaliser earned Lazio a 1-1 draw at Zenit Saint Petersburg after Aleksandr Erokhin had struck in the first half in front of some 17,000 fans in Russia.
FULL RESULTS AND FIXTURES:
Zenit Saint Petersburg 1 – 1 Lazio
Istanbul Basaksehir 2 – 1 Manchester United
Chelsea 3-0 Rennes
Sevilla 3-2 Krasnodar
Club Brugge 0-3 Dortmund
Barcelona 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv
Ferencvaros 1-4 Juventus
RB Leipzig 2-1 PSG