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United's Europa League hopes wilt under Turkish heat

Fenerbahçe 2 Man United 1

By Simon Peach

Published 04/11/2016

Frustration: Wayne Rooney trudges back to the halfway line after hitting United’s late consolation
Frustration: Wayne Rooney trudges back to the halfway line after hitting United’s late consolation
Manchester United's Marcos Rojo battles for the ball with Emmanuel Emenike of Fenerbahce

Manchester United crumbled on a hostile night in Turkey, with Wayne Rooney's historic 38th European goal counting for little as Fenerbahce's stunning strikes gave Jose Mourinho another headache.

The mightily-frustrating goalless draw at home to Burnley was followed by news that the Portuguese's behaviour towards the officials on Saturday would not only dent his wallet but see him banned from the touchline at Swansea this weekend.

Those issues were compounded last night as United failed to win away in Europe for the seventh time in a row, with Fenerbahce deservedly winning 2-1.

Rooney's strike saw him equal Ruud van Nistelrooy's record as United's all-time European top scorer, but it was too late to spur a comeback in a match that was just 65 seconds old when Moussa Sow scored with a superb overhead kick.

Fenerbahce's players, helped by the baying Sukru Saracoglu Stadium crowd, continued to make life uncomfortable for United, who lost world-record signing Paul Pogba after 30 minutes following a heavy challenge.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was fortunate that his altercation with Simon Kjaer was missed by officials as tempers frayed, with Jeremain Lens, on loan from Sunderland, adding to United's problems with a superb second-half free-kick.

Rooney's wondrous 89th-minute drive led to a frantic ending, but Fenerbahce held out to secure a memorable victory that sees them usurp United in the Group A qualification spots.

The intimidation aspect played a part from the outset. A cacophony of noise greeted United at the warm-up and it only increased as kick-off approached, with the emotions peaking within 65 seconds.

Hasan Ali Kaldirim floated in a cross from the left and could not have foreseen Sow meeting it with such an exceptional overhead kick, beating David de Gea.

It was a sucker punch similar to that dealt at Stamford Bridge recently when Chelsea dished out a 4-0 shellacking, so United were relieved to see Souza miss the target with a header from a free-kick soon after.

Morgan Schneiderlin, one of United's alterations, was booked for the clumsy challenge that led to that free-kick and Ander Herrera soon joined him in the referee's notebook, just days after being sent off against Burnley.

Mourinho's side were looking shaky without the ball and struggling to create chances with it, with Marcus Rashford's wayward strike the best they could muster in the opening 20 minutes.

Rooney would have been through had an awful touch not seen a clever Anthony Martial ball go to waste, with Pogba showing a lovely touch but poor finish before succumbing to a leg injury.

He limped away after a heavy challenge and trudged off after 30 minutes, with Lens wasting a counter-attack before Ibrahimovic could be brought on.

His introduction brought a spell in the ascendancy and only goalkeeper Volkan Demirel's intervention prevented Rashford's low cross being turned home.

Ibrahimovic also brought an added spice to the match, grabbing Kjaer by the neck to establish himself as persona non grata.

Rooney also irked the home faithful having been infuriated by the way Souza threw himself to the deck.

Juan Mata replaced Schneiderlin as United returned from the break strongly. Rooney, playing in a deeper position, glanced a header just wide.

Fenerbahce, though, were playing smartly and winning free-kicks whenever they could.

United could not believe referee Milorad Mazic ruled that Ibrahimovic had fouled Mehmet Topal and were even more shocked to see Lens superbly bend home the resulting free-kick.

Then, Emmanuel Emenike could not beat De Gea having been unsteadied by Daley Blind, before forcing the Spaniard into a save from distance and then just missing a low cross.

The match looked to be petering out until Rooney wound back the years, rifling home a stunning strike from distance.

It led to a frantic ending as a timely block was followed by one that United felt should have led to a penalty, with handball appeals against Martin Skrtel, but they came to nothing in the end.

Fenerbahce: Demirel, Ozbayrakli, Skrtel, Kjaer, Ali Kaldirim, Souza, Potuk (Neustadter, 83 mins), Topal, Lens, Sow (Koybasi, 87 mins), Sen (Emenike, 68 mins). Unused subs: Fabiano, Ucan, Stoch, van Persie.

Man Utd: De Gea, Darmian, Blind, Rojo, Shaw, Schneiderlin (Mata, 46 mins), Herrera, Rashford (Mkhitaryan, 60 mins), Pogba (Ibrahimovic, 30 mins), Martial, Rooney. Unused subs: Romero, Jones, Fellaini, Young.

Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia)

Man of the match: Moussa Sow

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph

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