Galatasaray wins Istanbul derby on Sneijder’s debut

Galatasaray wins Istanbul derby on Sneijder’s debut

Galatasaray wins Istanbul derby on Sneijder’s debut

Galatasaray mantained its leader in the Spor Toto Super League with a win over Istanbul rival Beşiktaş. Wesley Sneijder entered the pitch in the 59th minute of the game to cheers from the supporters. DHA photo

Galatasaray won the much-anticipated Istanbul derby 2-1 against Beşiktaş in Dutch superstar Wesley Sneijder’s debut tonight.

The Turkish Super League leaders earned an important win at home against their closest rival, who came into the match just two points behind. The Black Eagles were looking to finally overtake Galatasaray and assume first place, but the Lions had other ideas, forging an early lead through the young Emre Çolak in the third minute. Spanish international Albert Riera made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time.

Beşiktaş's players, who left dejected at the interval, had their hopes renewed by immediately grabbing a goal back when play restarted through Czech defender Tomas Sivok, who headed in from a corner in the 46th minute.

The following minutes saw the entries of last week's signings onto the pitch, with Sneijder replacing Çolak in minute 57 for Galatasaray and Brazilian midfielder Dentinho entering for Olcay Şahan two minutes later. Felipe Melo was sent off for Galatasaray in the 61st minute, but the Lions held on to secure a precious three points.  

With the victory, Galatasaray consolidated first place with 36 points while Beşiktaş remained second with 31 points, edging out Fenerbahçe -- 2-1 winners the previous night against Gaziantepspor -- for the final Champions League spot on goal difference.