Manchester United appeared to have turned a corner recently, but familiar failings returned to haunt them in Istanbul. Goalkeeper André Onana made two dreadful errors to gift Galatasaray a 3-3 draw, despite United leading twice.
The team played slick, attacking football at times, and scored superb goals through Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes, and Scott McTominay. However, Onana’s mistakes undid their good work, allowing Hakim Ziyech to score twice from set pieces.
Manager Erik ten Hag refused to blame Onana and pointed to the positives, but the draw leaves United anchored at the bottom of their Champions League group with one game remaining. It is a severe dent in their hopes of progression.
Onana is developing an unfortunate habit of high-profile Champions League errors. He was also at fault for goals earlier in the competition against Bayern Munich and in the home match with Galatasaray.
This latest double offering was enormously costly. After Fernandes silenced the intimidating Turkish crowd with a stunning long-range strike, Onana allowed Ziyech’s free kick to squirm past him. The keeper then punched another Ziyech set piece into his own net when it looked innocent.
Onana looked devastated at the final whistle and had to be consoled by teammates. Despite Ten Hag’s backing, the $43 million summer arrival is experiencing a Champions League nightmare.
While Onana commands the headlines, United’s defensive issues run deeper. They have conceded 14 goals in five group games—more than any team still with a chance of progressing.
Ten Hag spoke of better “game management,” but that overlooks Onana’s direct contribution to dropping five points from winning positions. Questions will be asked about United’s mentality and defensive solidity when the stakes are highest.
If they fail to qualify from the group, it will be seen as a blown opportunity after scoring nine away goals. Defensive lapses could cost them dearly unless they can pull off an unlikely final game turnaround at home to Real Sociedad.
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