Galatasaray prevails in five-goal thriller

Galatasaray prevails in five-goal thriller

Galatasaray prevails in five-goal thriller

Galatasaray players celebrate winning the Super Cup after beating Fenerbahçe 3-2 at the Yeni Erzurum Stadium to open the new season on a high note. The Lions had claimed the Super League title over Fenerbahçe in the last game of the previous season. DHA Photo

A late penalty helped Galatasaray claim the Turkish Super Cup, the curtain-raising contest for the new season, over Fenerbahçe on Aug. 12 in a typically tense match between the two archrivals.

Selçuk İnan converted the penalty in the last minute as Galatasaray beat Fenerbahçe 3-2 at the Yeni Erzurum Stadium. The game brought together the two Istanbul rivals to kick-start the new Turkish football season with the traditional Super Cup, which pit the Super League winner, Galatasaray, and the Turkish Cup winner, Fenerbahçe, against each other.

The first of many dramatic turning points in the game occurred in the 15th minute when Fenerbahçe’s Turkish international goalkeeper, Volkan Demirel, had to be replaced after he dislocated a shoulder.

Mert Günok filled in, but the young goalkeeper had a poor start to his match; just three minutes after taking the field, he was caught in no-man’s land on a cross, allowing Umut Bulut to comfortably head home.

The goal precipitated the lighting of fireworks by Galatasaray fans, forcing an interruption to the game.
Galatasaray had a chance to double its lead in the 33rd minute, but Johan Elmander failed to find the net when he had a clear one-on-one chance against Mert.

Fenerbahçe found its equalizer through its captain Alex de Souza in the second minute of additional time in the first half. Alex fired a free kick, and the ball deflected off the wall past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Galatasaray took the lead again in the second half, when midfielder Selçuk sent a long ball to Umut like the first goal. Umut, who came on a loan deal from Toulouse, scored his second goal in his debut for the Istanbul club in the 58th minute.

Fireworks were lit again and thrown on the pitch, causing the game to be interrupted a second time and prompting experienced referee Cüneyt Çakır to issue a warning that he would not tolerate such incidents if they occurred a third time.

Second comeback

Controversy prevailed again in the 66th minute, when new Fenerbahçe signing Dirk Kuyt scored on a rebound despite replays showing that the ball had struck Fener midfielder Cristian Baroni’s hand in the run-up to the goal. Galatasaray players surrounded Çakır to protest the goal, leading to the sending off of the temperamental Engin Baytar for verbal attacks against the match official.

But after almost 25 minutes of playing with 10 men, the Lions hit Fener on the counter. Umut was fouled in the box in the 90th minute and Selçuk converted from the spot, providing the winning goal for Galatasaray.

“It was an important test for us,” Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim said. “It was a really serious game even before the start of the league. It could go either way.”

Terim also praised his players for not bowing down after the red card. “My players fought on with 10 men,” he said before criticizing Engin. “I could not see what Engin did there, but it was not nice. He left us with 10 men, so there should be no excuses.”