Europa League: Manchester United beaten 2-1 by Fenerbahçe

Europa League, Group A | 3 November | Sukru Saracoglu Stadium | Attendance: TBC | Scorers: Sow 2, Lens 59; Rooney 89

Fenerbahçe  2-1-1, 1st Group A                                 2       J. Lens, 59’ •  M. Sow 2’


Manchester United2-2-0, 3rd Group A                                1       W. Rooney 89’

Fenerbahçe ensured it was seven European away games without a win for Manchester United as the Turkish side leapfrogged both United and Feyenoord to go top of Group A with a 2-1 triumph in Istanbul.

Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü or Fenerbahçe S.K. known in English as (Fenerbahçe Sports Club), also known as Fenerbahçe or just Fener, is a major Turkish multi-sports club, based in Kadiköy, Istanbul, Turkey. Fenerbahce are now unbeaten in eight European home games and they crowned their feat further on Thursday by beating Manchester United – under Portuguese-born Jose Mourinho.


Read more of the manager’s post-match reaction on


Mourinho admitted playing Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind in the heart of the defence isn’t ideal. “It is difficult to cope having to play two left-backs at centre-back,” he said. “This makes it tough to cope with the physicality of the game. To try and have the ball and create chances we made attacking changes but we could not create chances to score.”


Mourinho on United’s chances of progression in the Europa League: “It depends on us. If we win our two matches we qualify.”


Jose Mourinho rued the concession of an early goal to Fenerbahce, saying: “[It was like] they were playing a Champions League final and we were playing a summer friendly.”


Despite dominating for much of this game, United suffer a fifth consecutive away defeat in Europe on a highly frustrating night that nevertheless featured three spectacular goals.

The Fenerbahçe-Manchester United encounter was obviously a slipshod and frantic football display that confirms Manchester United remain a confused bunch under Mourinho. The ineffective and very expensive Frenchman, Paul Pogba, limped off before the half hour but that might have been a blessing due to his underwhelming and ineffective contribution since his world-record transfer to Old Trafford in the summer. Pogba’s replacement, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, had a night to forget, again looking off the pace and in need of next week’s international break.

Fenerbahçe scored two stunning goals to beat United and leave Mourinho’s side in danger of Europa League elimination – what a shame!

Fenerbahçe striker Moussa Sow gave Fenerbahce the lead within 65 seconds with an overhead kick which sailed over confused David de Gea, and Jeremain Lens curled in a brilliant free-kick in the second half to confound De Gea once again..


Photo: Sow met Hasan Ali’s cross from the left perfectly, leaping to acrobatically strike into the roof of the net.

United dominated possession but saw world record signing Paul Pogba go off with a leg injury in the first half. When I saw Pogba in that state, I said to myself “there goes a wasteful United cash”

Captain Wayne Rooney smashed in a 25-yard ‘consolation goal’ late on but that didn’t spur me on as I continue to mourn the slow (if something is not done) and unsteady decline of my favorite football club as they thread the path to elimination in the Europa League and poor performance in the Premier League – with Jose Mourinho presiding.

Former United striker Robin van Persie began the night on the bench for Fenerbahçe despite scoring at Old Trafford two weeks ago and netting twice at the weekend in the Turkish league.

Defeat means United are third in Group A – one point behind leaders Feyenoord and Fenerbahçe – with two games left, against the Dutch side at Old Trafford and away to Ukraine’s Zorya Luhansk.

Qualification for the next stage remains in United’s hands, but the Red Devils will need to be more incisive against their next opponents.


Photo: On-loan Sunderland midfielder Lens curled in a free-kick which left De Gea rooted to the spot.

Too little, too late

Despite having 70% possession in front of an intimidating Istanbul crowd, United rarely threatened goalkeeper Volkan. Their play was often slow and ponderous, allowing the opposition to retain their defensive shape.

They only threatened once Rooney had converted his superb goal in the 89th minute.

The England skipper also went close with a header in injury time while Ander Herrera had a goalbound strike blocked by Martin Skrtel.


Possession: Fenerbahce 30% United 70%
Shots: Fenerbahce 5 United 2
Shots on target: Fenerbahce 1 United 1
Corners: Fenerbahce 0 United 5

Manchester United are still alive in Group A, but must know that positive results in the final two matches, at Old Trafford to Feyenoord and away to Zorya Luhansk, will be vital in United’s Europa League sojourn.

Possession: Fenerbahce 30% United 70%
Shots: Fenerbahce 8 United 9
Shots on target: Fenerbahce 4 United 3
Corners: Fenerbahce 0 United 9


Fenerbahce: Demirel; Ozbayrakli, Skrtel, Kjaer, Ali Kaldirim; Souza, Potuk (Neustadter 83), Topal; Lens, Sow (Koybasi 87), Sen (Emenike 68). Subs not used: Fabiano, Ucan, Stoch, van Persie.

Booked: Demirel, Potuk, Ozbayrakli, Souza

United: De Gea; Darmian, Blind, Rojo, Shaw; Schneiderlin (Mata 46), Herrera; Rashford (Mkhitaryan 60), Pogba (Ibrahimovic 30), Martial; Rooney. Subs not used: Romero, Jones, Fellaini, Young.

Booked: Schneiderlin, Herrera, Mata


Here’s the top table in the press conference room at Sukru Saracoglu, where Jose Mourinho gave his thoughts on Thursday’s Fenerbahçe defeat.


Here’s the state of play in Europa League Group A after tonight’s results, with United dropping to third.

Whether Manchester United will survive their Europa League campaign, talk less of the Premier League match-ups, is left to conjecture. I’m still with Manchester United – if you ask me – but I’m still skeptical of United’s manager from Portugal . . .

Up Man U!


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