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Manchester United have a must-win Champions League fixture on the horizon as they travel to Turkey to face Galatasaray on 28 November.
The Reds trail the Turkish giants by a point in Group A and know that only a win would be enough to leapfrog them and FC Copenhagen into second place in the group.
If you're a United fan making the trip over to Istanbul, here's everything you need to know about the city, Rams Park and the Galatasaray away section.
What is Istanbul like for away fans?
Over the years, Istanbul has built a reputation of being an intimidating city to visit for away fans. While that may have been the case twenty years ago, the city is now a lot more welcoming and there is plenty to do as a visiting fan from drinking and eating in local bars and restaurants to checking out local tourist attractions such as the Hagia Sophia Mosque and the Cisterna Basilica.
Istanbul is a huge city so it is quite easy to get lost if you aren't careful. The best way to navigate the city is to make use of public transport – there is a modern overground tram system and a subway which you should utilise to get around Istanbul quickly and efficiently.
Where to drink for Manchester United fans in Istanbul?
Istanbul is a large city so there are countless bar and pub options for Manchester United fans. Here are three of the best:
- Corner Irish Pub – Asmalı Mescit Meşrutiyet Cd. No:11/A Galatasaray, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
- The United Pub – Sinanpaşa, Şht. Asım Cd. No:26, 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
- Red River Pub – Hoca Paşa, Hüdavendigar Cd. No:44, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul
Where to watch football in Istanbul
For fans travelling over to Istanbul earlier in the week, there are plenty of sports bars in the city that will be showing all the Champions League action on Tuesday night. Some of the best options include Rounders Bar (Cankurtaran, Akbıyık Cd., 34122 Fatih/İstanbul) and the U2 Istanbul Irish Pub (Şehit Muhtar, Bekar Sk. No:21, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbu). Both pubs are located in the city centre and are easy to get to via public transport.
If you are staying in Istanbul for a few days after the Galatasaray vs Manchester United match then you could see another live match on Thursday 30 November. Besiktas are set to host Club Brugge in the Europa Conference League with the home side needing a win to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
What will the Galatasaray away section be like for Manchester United fans?
Manchester United fans will be tucked away in the upper tier of the south-east corner of Rams Park on Wednesday 29 November. Visiting supporters enter the stadium via gates 418, 419, 420 and 421 and United fans will be urged to get to the Galatasaray away section early to avoid lengthy queues at the turnstiles as security checks will be stringent.
Once inside the stadium, the away fans can expect a hostile welcome from the home fans around them and the segregation will be heavy. Despite United being famed for having an impressive travelling support, it's unlikely they will be heard during the match with the atmosphere at the stadium expected to be off the scale given the magnitude of the occasion.
As a modern stadium (built in 2011), the view from the away section is good meaning fans won't have a problem following the action particularly when United are kicking towards that end of the pitch. There is a comfortable amount of space between each seat although it is anticipated that all away fans will be standing throughout the match.
How many Manchester United fans are going to Istanbul?
Manchester United were given an allocation of 2,523 tickets in the Galatasaray away section and all tickets were sold out through the initial sales process. Some fans will travel without tickets meaning there could be as many as 3,000 United fans in Istanbul on the day of the game.
How Manchester United fans can get to Rams Park
Getting to Rams Park isn't the most straightforward of tasks as it is situated 12km away from Istanbul City Centre. As a result, the prospect of walking to the stadium is a no-go unless you set off three hours before kick off.
The easiest way to get to the stadium is to get on the metro from the City Centre to a stop called “Seyrantepe”. This stop is on metro line 2 and is accessible directly from popular central stops such as “Sishane” and “Taksim”. Many fans will choose to spend matchday close to these metro stations so they can get to the stadium with minimal fuss when kick off approaches.
If you are really stuck, then you can always get a taxi to the stadium. However, expect delays as traffic in Istanbul on a matchday is significant, to say the least.
Rams Park tickets: How to watch a Galatasaray game
If you planning on having an extended stay in Istanbul then you will have an easier job finding ticket for Galatasaray's match against Alanyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig on 25 November. The match takes place on the Saturday before the match with Manchester United and also takes place at Rams Park. Tickets are still available to purchase via StubHub with some available for as little as £27.
Aside from Rams Park, Istanbul is a hotbed for football. Fenerbahce play against Fatih Karagümrük in the Super Lig on Sunday 27 November at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium while Besiktas play against Club Brugge in the Europa League at Tupras Stadyumu on Thursday 30 November. Tickets for both matches are available to purchase via both clubs' respective websites.
How to get Galatasaray vs Manchester United tickets
All tickets in the Manchester United section for this match have been sold out. Supporters needed to have been to one previous European away match in the past three years to qualify for a ticket and any returns will be offered to supporters who match this criteria.
Fans can attempt to purchase tickets in the home end online but should be wary of scams and black market prices. Should you be successful in your attempts to purchase a ticket in the home section, behave appropriately and don't wear colours.