UEFA Champions League: Manchester United vs. Besiktas

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The Red Devils begin their mission to avenge last season’s UEFA Champions League final defeat to Barca when they face Besiktas tonight at Inonu Stadium.

Manchester United will be playing their first European match since the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored four goals in the knockout stages of last year’s competition.

They are still strong favorites in this match but the Premier League side should beware of the Istanbul atmosphere. Turkish fans are probably the noisiest and most passionate of all football crowds. Plus they have this incredible fanaticism that really puts the English football experience to shame, so to speak.

Wayne Rooney is the favored scorer in this contest and, after that stellar goal against Tottenham last weekend, you’d have to fancy him to score.

Note: The Black Eagles lost 8-0 to Liverpool the last time that they played an EPL side and the Turkish champs have had a shaky start this season, winning only one of their five games.

Game time is 8:45 p.m. CET (2:45 p.m. ET).

UPDATE: Paul Scholes earned the Red Devils a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Besiktas in their opening Champions League game. The one club man pounced on a parry from Besiktas keeper Hakan Arikan in the 77th minute.