Hakim Ziyech, who’s technically still a Chelsea player and only on loan at Galatasaray (until they make his move officially permanent at some point before next season), got himself an amusing brace last night against Manchester United, helping Galatasaray to an important point in the battle for second place in Group A of the 2023-24 Champions League (remember the Champions League?).
When you hear that Ziyech scored both of his goals off free kicks, you might imagine that at least one, if not probably both, were spectacular left-footed pictures of perfection — Hang It In the Louvre! — strikes of impeccable quality technique worthy of his wizarding pedigree.
But it’s much more hilarious when not just one, but both of his goals turn out to have been absolute gifts from the Manchester United goalkeeper André Onana. On the first, Onana conveniently steps out of the way of a ball hit simply around the wall, while on the second, he scoops an easy save behind himself in an even more comical fashion. Are we sure this was actually the real André Onana in goal? (Who might claim that he was unsighted on both, first by the opposition’s false wall and then by his own teammate ducking under the ball, but you certainly expect any decent goalkeeper at a decent level to make both of these easy saves.)
Galatasary would complete their two-goal second-half comeback to draw 3-3, which leaves United bottom of the group with one match to go ... against Bayern Munich, who have already sleepwalked their way to the top spot a long time ago.
(On a related note, Mason Mount did not feature in this game; he’s injured again, to add more misery to his own fairly terrible season so far.)
(On a less related but slightly more positive note, César Azpilicueta’s Atlético Madrid have qualified for the knockout rounds. Azpi has featured fairly regularly for Atléti, especially in La Liga matches. G’wan, Dave!)
(On a final semi-related note, AC-helsea Milan are bottom of Group F, the Group of Death, heading into the final round of games, after a 3-1 home defeat to Borussia Dortmund. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fikayo Tomori, Christian Pulisic, and Olivier Giroud all started, but the latter missed an early penalty.)