Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs remembers his first trip to Galatasaray well, and believes the experience should stand him in good stead ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League group game.
The Red Devils made their first trip to the Ali Sami Yen Stadium back in 1993, and were sent crashing out of Europe’s premier club competition on away goals during a hostile night in Turkey.
It wasn’t just the game that left its mark on the former Welsh international however, with Giggs admitting it was chaos from start to finish as the Gala fans made it a tough trip from start to finish.
“I remember it vividly. It will always stick with me. I was 19 and, when we arrived at the airport, there were all the banners and fans. Thousands of fans screaming at you," Giggs recalls in The Daily Mail.
“There were things being thrown at us when we were driving away on the coach. Outside the hotel their fans were chanting all night, making sure we didn't get any sleep. People were phoning the hotel room.
“Prior to the game, the manager told us to go on the pitch and sample the atmosphere. The fans had been in the ground for hours and hours. The atmosphere was buzzing 90 minutes before kick-off. We were stood in the middle of the pitch watching the fans chant. It was one stand to another.”
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side could only muster a 0-0 draw, and after the first leg at Old Trafford had finished 3-3, it meant the English champions were sent crashing out of the tournament.
It’s Galatasaray who need the win in Group H tomorrow night however, with United already assured of qualification on 12 points. Their Turkish rivals sit second on four points, tied with Club Cluj, whilst Braga are just another point behind.
Giggs knows it will be a strong side that United come up against, but the 38-year-old must be hoping for a slightly less chaotic clash to the one 19-years ago.
“When we came off the pitch, it was chaos. Eric (Cantona) had already been sent off and the way back to the dressing room was underneath the pitch. There were armed police either side - not the kind of people you would ever mess with. They had helmets, batons, were all ready. And it just kicked off," he concludes.
“I was just trying to get back to the safety of the dressing room as quickly as possible. Obviously not at the time because we lost and went out, but it was a great experience for us. They were a good team then and they will be a good team now.”
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