Galatasaray's Drogba blamed the poor conditions of the pitch after missing the penalty in the 83rd minute. AA photo
Ivorian star Dider Drogba missed a penalty and Hamit Altintop hit twice the crossbar as Galatasaray
lost 0-1 tonight in a home game against Gençlerbirliği ahead of their crucial Champions League match against Schalke 04 for a quarterfinals spot on March 12.
The Lions’ coach, Fatih Terim, was not on the sidelines for the match due to a three-game ban for dissent during an earlier game against Orduspor. Terim will be forced to sit out one more game to fulfill the ban.
Galatasaray players were looking to extend their comfortable five point lead in the Turkish Super League and seemed to take the field with the intention of quickly gaining the advantage and sealing the game. Burak Yılmaz found the net as early as the second minute after a pass from Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder, but the assistant referee disallowed the goal for an offside.
The defending champions continued to put pressure on their rivals and came close to scoring a minute later when former Bayern and Real Madrid player, Hamit Altıntop, kicked the ball wide in a one-in-one with Gençlerbirliği’s goalkeeper Ramazan Köse. Despite the miss, Altıntop was once again an inspiration for Galatasaray
and tallied a strike outside the penalty area in the 12th minute. The shot floated past Köse, but bounced off the crossbar.
Galatasaray kept a strong attacking display against their rivals, keeping them from finding their rhythm and continued to try and create opportunities to score in front of Gençlerbirliği’s goal. In the 34th minute, Burak missed the target, sending the ball over the crossbar after receiving a perfect pass from Selçuk İnan.
The Turkish international nearly put his side in the lead in the 44th minute. Spanish international Albert Riera sliced a rolling pass to Burak that was then passed to the goalkeeper, but the striker, who only had to push the ball into the empty net, clumsily let the ball slip between his legs, failing to make contact.
With the beginning of the second half the visiting team enjoyed more possession of the ball and started to challenge Galatasaray’s goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. In the 55th minute, the Uruguayan goalkeeper managed to block Özgür İleri’s header.
A minute later, Altintop was unlucky again as his strike was deflected by Köse into the crossbar. With this missed opportunity, Alintop has accumulated a total of seven shots that hit the crossbar but has yet to score since joining Galatasaray
in the beginning of the season.
Despite Galatasaray’s domination of the ball, Gençlerbirliği scored the only goal of the game in the 60th minute thanks to its Belgian striker, Bjorn Fleminicx, who headed the ball past Muslera after a center pass from Nemenja Tomic.
With Drogba substituting for Altintop, Galatasaray
renewed its zeal in finding a way to level the score. The turning point of the game came at the 83rd minute as the referee signaled for a penalty spot following a controversially-called foul on Drogba. However, the Ivorian, who took the penalty himself, missed the target, sending the ball wide of Köse’s goal.
Following the penalty, the Ankara
side managed to hold off Galatasaray, who played with 10 men the last minutes of the game after Gökhan Zan was ejected with a direct red card in the 86th minute.
Despite the loss Galatasaray
remains leader in the Turkish Super League with 47 points. Second-place Beşiktaş
follows with 42 points and will have an opportunity to narrow the gap tomorrow against archrivals Trabzonspor. Fenerbahçe, who ranks third with 40 points, will face against Bursa, who is ranked fourth, in a March 10 clash.