Galatasaray advances in Europa League, Fenerbahçe out
Galatasaray reached the Europa League knockout stages with a 4-2 home win over Olympique Marseille on Nov. 25 night, while Fenerbahçe lost 1-0 at Olympiacos and will continue in the Conference League playoffs.
Roared on by a fervent home crowd, Galatasaray took a 12th-minute lead as Alexandru Cicaldau rifled in a shot from 15 meters before Duje Caleta-Car turned the Romanian’s low cross into his own net.
Sofiane Feghouli made it 3-0 with a tap-in before Arkadiusz Milik pulled one back when he scored on the rebound after Mulsera parried the Polish striker’s penalty.
Ryan Babel netted Galatasaray’s fourth with a sublime finish and Milik’s late header was scant consolation for Marseille.
Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim was delighted with the victory.
“We beat one of the best teams in Europe,” the experienced coach said after the game.
“I’m very happy to have won against a team with a very strong squad that has conceded four goals for the first time this season,” he said.
Lazio and Galatasaray will face off in two weeks’ time for the top spot in Group E after securing qualification in style.
The Italians were 3-0 winners over Lokomotiv Moscow, who are set to lose head of sports and development Ralf Rangnick to Manchester United according to reports.
Ciro Immobile scored two second half penalties before Pedro Rodriguez rounded off the scoring.
Galatasaray holds a three-point lead at the top of the group after ending Marseille’s chances of progress.
In Athens, Greek forward Tiquinho scored in the dying minutes to give the home side the victory.
Elsewhere in the Europa League, Moussa Diaby volleyed in a late winner as Bayer Leverkusen punched its last 16 ticket as the group winner with a dramatic 3-2 win at home to Celtic.
Goals by midfielder Robert Andrich, his second of the night, and winger Diaby in a five-minute burst late in the game swung the result for hosts Leverkusen.
“We were shocked to be 2-1 down and needed a bit of time to regain control,” admitted Leverkusen’s double goal-scorer Andrich. “We had to remain patient and deserved to get the result.”
While the Germans reach the knock-out stages as Group G winners, the away defeat means Celtic will finish in the third spot after second-placed Real Betis won 2-0 at Ferencvaros Budapest.
“[Conceding] two late goals was disappointing and we came up short,” lamented Celtic’s Australian coach Ange Postecoglou. “We lost some composure at the end and didn’t make good decisions.”