Galatasaray’s CL hopes fading after 3-0 loss against Real Madrid
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Real Madrid's French defender Raphael Varane vies with Galatasaray's Ivorian forward Didier Drogba (front) during their teams' Champions League quarterfinal first leg match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. AFP photoGalatasaray has a mountain to climb if it is to advance to the Champions League semifinals for the first time ever after it dropped a 3-0 first-leg decision to Spanish aristocrats Real Madrid on April 3 at the Santiago Bernebeu.
Galatasaray made good on coach Fatih Terim’s promise to attack the Spanish champions when possible, and the Lions – buoyed on by thousands of boisterous supporters who often outsang their Spanish counterparts – frequently tried to pour forward but were ultimately undone by defensive frailties as the Turkish side’s back line failed to deal with Real’s potent attack.
Real, who are looking to win Europe’s top club competition for a record 10th time, stretched the Galatasaray defense as early as the third minute, with a long pass from Xabi Alonso finding Angel Di Maria, but the Karim Benzema header that resulted from his pass failed to trouble the Lions’ Uruguayan goalkeeper, Fernando Muslera.
Alonso’s searching ball was a harbinger of things to come, as German-born Turk Mesut Özil cut open the Galatasaray defense just six minutes later, putting through the most famous man on the pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo, who deployed an adroit chip to put los Blancos up 1-0.
Galatasaray had a chance to equalize almost immediately, but winter signing Didier Drogba flashed high when he created space for himself on the edge of the penalty area. Cim Bom continued to search for a tying goal but was restricted to firing wide from outside the area.
Galatasaray’s openness, however, left them constantly exposed to Real’s potent counterattack, and the Lions had Muslera to thank when he saved Mesut’s stinging shot in the 18th minute.
The Lions began to find their range in the 26th minute, with Drogba’s long-range shot forcing Lopez to punch behind for a corner. Another Galatasaray attack brought another corner, but the team saw a legitimate shout for a penalty turned down despite suggestions that Real’s German international Sami Khedira handled in the box.
For all the Lions’ pressure, however, it was Real that scored again in the 29th minute, as three Galatasaray defenders failed to deal with Michael Essien’s cross, allowing Benzema to side-foot passed Muslera.
Though blessed with attack talent, Galatasaray’s best chance to score was through Ivorian defender Emmanuel Eboue, who saw his shot saved by Lopez from about 10 yards out late in the first half.
Terim shocked most in attendance by substituting Sneijder for defender Gökhan Zan at the beginning of the second half, perhaps in the interests of limiting the damage being inflicted by the Real attack pending next week’s second leg.
Benzema was substituted in the 65th minute, but his replacement, Gonzalo Higuain, continued to pose problems for the Lions’ defense, getting himself onto the end of an Alonso free-kick to head passed Muslera in the 73rd minute to round out the scoring.
Galatasaray defender Dany Nounkeu and Real counterpart Sergio Ramos will both miss the April 9 return leg in Istanbul after picking up bookings during the match.
In the evening’s other Champions League tie, German champions Borussia Dortmund played out a 0-0 draw away to Spanish debutants Malaga.