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Bruno Fernandes leads Manchester United to Istanbul Basaksehir win

Manchester United were accomplished in a victory that gives them nine points and firm control of Group H. Bruno Fernandes was again the key man in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side, decorating the win with two goals in his latest dazzling all-round display.

The fact that United were beaten by these same opponents just three weeks ago felt particularly odd given their general superiority here - at least until Deniz Turuc’s 75th-minute free-kick squeezed past David de Gea.

Edin Visca then hit the crossbar as a reminder of how carelessness can prove costly. By the close, though, United were worthy victors and have now won their last three matches.

Solskjær said: “We need one more point to go through but we want to be top of the group, [so] we take it one step at a time. Next it is Paris Saint-Germain coming here so we are looking forward to that.

“I felt in the first half you saw the intensity of the boys. The boys wanted to play. They enjoyed it. It’s a Champions League night at home – you expect them to enjoy themselves. We created some great chances and scored some very nice goals. I was very pleased.”

Edinson Cavani was given a first start in an attractive United frontline that also featured Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, and the latter’s early burst took out three defenders before a tame shot. It signalled that United would allow no repeat of the capitulation in Istanbul.

When Alex Telles’s corner from the left was inadvertently flicked on by Alexandru Epureanu, Fernandes connected with a sweet half-volley from the edge of the area: the ball rocketed past Gunok into the roof of the net for a perfect start seven minutes in.

In the first half especially United were a whir of energy and invention. Martial, operating on the left, stood a ball up that narrowly missed Cavani’s leap. Rashford then beat Gunok through his legs but was ruled offside. Martial, Fernandes, Cavani and Donny van de Beek combined for Fernandes to shoot just wide of Gunok’s goal.

Mason Greenwood attacks during Manchester United’s comfortable win at Old Trafford. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

As in Istanbul the main danger for United seemed to be the potential for self-inflicted damage and there was a warning when Demba Ba, who scored the opener there, received the ball near halfway and was pushed over by Victor Lindelöf after loose play by the hosts.

So too when Berkay Ozcan drifted past four United players and the ball went sideways to Visca, who should have done better than skewing wide of De Gea’s goal.

Now it was Basaksehir who punished themselves: Martial found Telles, whose cross was dropped by Gunok into Fernandes’s path. He scored his ninth in 13 games and has now been involved in a scarcely credible 34 goals in 35 games - 21 of his own, 13 assists - 16 more than any teammate.

United’s third came when Lindelöf planted a 70-yard pass into Rashford’s path, Boli Bolingoli brought him down and a penalty was awarded.

After a long VAR review during which the usual penalty taker Fernandes stood over the kick before handing the ball to Rashford, the latter converted with ease to Gunok’s left.

For the second half Lindelöf was replaced by Axel Tuanzebe, the Swede’s recent back strain perhaps being a factor. Fernandes yet again drove United forward with a mazy run that ended with him turning the ball to Cavani. After the No 7’s shimmy his shot went for a corner off Epureanu.

The corner came to nothing and De Gea was soon called into action as Basaksehir moved upfield, Visca cutting in from the left and unloading a shot, forcing the Spaniard to save low to his right.

After a frantic call to Tuanzebe from United coach, Kieran McKenna, to “go near post,” the resulting corner was cleared and the red shirts continued to dominate. Fernandes flipped in a cross and Rafael Da Silva kneed the ball into Gunok’s hands.

Solskjær decided on a triple substitution with Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams and Daniel James coming on for Rashford, Fernandes and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Greenwood instantly oozed class by anticipating a Visca pass, knocking the ball beyond Bolingoli and skating into the area to claim a corner.

His header led to another corner which Maguire headed over. A period of Basaksehir possession now came in which Tuanzebe’s vocal organisation was noticeable in the empty stadium as United, once more, took control. By the end they were worthy victors as James added a late fourth.

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