Match preview: Istanbul Basaksehir v Man Utd


Former Turkish international Okan Buruk won the league in his debut campaign with the Owls, having been at the helm since June 2019. As a player, Okan was one of his country’s premier midfield talents, turning out for Galatasaray – with whom he faced United on several occasions – Internazionale, Besiktas and İstanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi, the side which later became Istanbul Basaksehir. Since retiring in 2010, Okan – who won 56 caps for the national side over an 18-year period – has taken charge of seven different Turkish sides, lifting the Turkish Cup with Akhisarspor in 2018.

This will be the ninth time the Reds have played in Turkey in our history, albeit the first without a packed-out ground. Previous visits have been notable for the white-hot atmosphere created by local supporters, particularly in successive 0-0 draws with Galatasaray in the early 1990s, which proved crucial to ending our Champions League hopes at an early stage. Since that pair of goalless draws, our record in Turkey has been mixed, with three wins (versus Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Bursaspor) and three defeats (Galatasaray and Fenerbahce twice).

On our last visit, in 2016, a Wayne Rooney wonder goal at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium couldn’t prevent the Reds from losing 2-1 to Fenerbahce in the Europa League. Let’s hope for a more positive scoreline four years on.


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