Galatasaray snatch a draw in debut night for Mancini
TURIN - Reuters
Galatasaray's Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring against Juventus with teammates Weslej Sneijder and Selçuk İnan, Oct. 2. REUTERS photoRoberto Mancini, in charge of Galatasaray for two days, saw his new club snatch a late equalizer to stun Juventus and leave opposite number Antonio Conte fuming after a 2-2 Champions League draw on Wednesday.
Former Manchester City manager Mancini barely had time to meet his players before the Group B game, but led the Turkish titleholder to its first point in the Champions League.
“At the moment, I don’t even know the names of my players,” Mancini, appointed to replace Fatih Terim who was sacked last week by the Turkish champions, told reporters.
“I couldn’t do much in two days apart from giving some logic to the team. Now I need to get to know them.”
Mancini watched the Turkish side take a shock lead when Didier Drogba took advantage of a comedy of errors in the Juve defense in the 36th minute.
Juve rarely looked like scoring until Arturo Vidal equalized from a controversial penalty in the 78th minute and then Fabio Quagliarella headed the Serie A champions in front three minutes from time.
But the hosts relaxed a minute later and allowed Drogba to outjump the defence and head the ball into the path of substitute Umut Bulut who silenced the crowd by firing into the net.
Conte, visibly angry with his players, shook his head in disbelief after his normally reliable defence were caught out again but a win would have been flattering for his side who were painfully short of inspiration in attack.
Galatasaray, beaten 6-1 at home by Real Madrid in their opening Group B game, comfortably held a toothless Juve at bay until the dramatic finale.
Juve have two points from two games, four behind rampant leaders Real Madrid, but are still second as Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen have one apiece.
“That’s football,” Conte told reporters. “It will be a long and uphill battle but we mustn’t get discouraged.
“We must play the next Champions League matches with the knife between our teeth ... it is not pleasing to concede a goal after going 2-1 ahead and we need to pay greater attention.
“It’s something I will talk to the players about face to face.”
Juve forward Carlos Tevez, who spectacularly fell out with Mancini when the pair were at City, made little impact against a resolute Galatasaray defence, given the added protection of Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo, a former player with the Turin club.
Juventus started slowly and lost striker Mirko Vucinic in the first half to a thigh injury and he was replaced by Quagliarella.
It went badly wrong for the hosts when Leonardo Bonucci made a hash of a back pass which Drogba intercepted, then keeper Gianluigi Buffon rushed prematurely out of his area allowing the Ivorian to slip the ball through his legs and into the net.
Juve were reduced to long-range shots until Quagliarella’s legs crumpled under the softest of challenges and Vidal fired the ball into the roof of the net.
It was the sort of decision which causes endless discussion as there was clearly some contact but not enough to merit the dramatic way in which Quagliarella slumped to the ground.
Mancini said he was knocked back by the performance of 35-year-old forward Didier Drogba, who scored the first goal and set up the late equaliser.
“Drogba has been incredible,” he said. “I didn’t expect a performance like that. He played alone in attack, in the home of Juventus; extraordinary.”
He added: “In the first half we played well, but physically we struggled in the second. I don’t think Juventus are at their best at the moment, although they could be soon, it’s not unusual.”
Mancini had been out of a job since being dismissed by the English club in May.