Galatasaray hosts Cluj in game for survival in Euro cup
Galatasaray winger Albert Riera (R) tries to dribble past Braga’s Alan in a European Champions League match.Galatasaray hopes to remember its winning ways as it hosts Cluj in a do-or-die game in the Champions League tonight. The Turkish champion has to get nothing less than a win from the game against the Romanians if it is to advance to the knockout stages of the top-level competition in European football.
Galatasaray is sitting on the bottom of the Group H with no points after two match days. Manchester United is setting the pace with six points, while Cluj and Braga are both on three points. After a brave display and a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford, Galatasaray lost 2-0 to Braga in the Champions League. The Istanbul team has also lost one match and drew two games in the domestic competition, and is on a four-match run without a win.
“Obviously we have some problems,” coach Fatih Terim said after a 3-3 draw at Gençlerbirliği on Oct. 19. “We need a win quickly.”
Speaking at the press conference before the Cluj game yesterday, Galatasaray forward Umut Bulut was optimistic.
“We want to advance to the next stage, so we are aiming for a win,” he said. “Hopefully, we can do better than what we did in the first two games, minimize the mistakes and win.
“This game will be pivotal for us to show how much we want to make it to the next round.”
United meets Braga
In the other game of the group, Manchester United will try to make it to the brink of qualification for the knockout stage when it hosts Braga tonight.
Having quickly gelled as a strike partnership, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie will look to supply United’s goals against the Portuguese side. United has scored nine goals in the three games Rooney and Van Persie have started together, the most recent being a 4-2 victory over Stoke when both players were on target.
“Things are going well and our understanding is getting better all the time,” said Van Persie. “Everyone could see from day one that we were working well together. We like to play together and we help each other.”
United won its first two Group H games and two more victories from the upcoming double-header against Braga will see the team advance with two matches to spare, leaving it to concentrate on the domestic campaign.
“It helps the league form if you can get through early,” United’s Michael Carrick said. “The manager can change things
around. He can use the squad and give players game time. The pressure is off.”