Melo saves penalty, win for Lions

Melo saves penalty, win for Lions

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Melo saves penalty, win for Lions

Galatasaray’s Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo dives into his right to save a penalty shot in the dying minutes of a Spor Toto Super League game against Elazığspor. The Istanbul won the game on Nov 24 1-0 with a goal from Yekta Kurtuluş. Hürriyet photo

Galatasaray’s Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo saved a penalty shot in the dying minutes of a Spor Toto Super League game at Elazığspor, securing a crucial 1-0 victory for his side.

The Istanbul club’s coach, Fatih Terim, had already substituted three players when goalkeeper Fernando Muslera downed Elazığspor’s Serdar Gürler inside the penalty box in the 89th minute of the game on Nov 24. Referee Özgür Yankaya ruled a penalty shot and sent off Muslera. With no chance of substitution, Muslera left his gloves to Melo when leaving the field.

Elazığspor was almost certain to tie the game with the penalty shot, however, Melo made a dive and miraculously saved the ball, kicked to the right side of the goal.

The Brazilian said God helped him with the decision. “God is the only reason I made that decision, I did it with the power God gave me,” Melo told reporters after the game. “I waited until the last second and looked the kicker in the eyes. He was not sure where to kick. Waiting for the shot was an advantage for me.”

Melo also praised Galatasaray’s goalkeeping coach Claudio Taffarel, who was behind the goal to motivate him and provide tactics. “He has a great personality and he is a great coach,” Melo said of the former Galatasaray and Brazilian national team goalkeeper. “He helped me not only with the penalty shot but also with the last few minutes of the game. Taffarel himself saved many penalty shots similar to this.”

Yekta scores the winner

With Melo’s save, the game’s only goal came from Galatasaray midfielder Yekta Kurtuluş in the 50th minute.

Terim said his side should have clinched an easier victory. “The first half was tough for us, but we had many scoring chances in the second,” Terim said at a post-game press conference. “1-0 is a score that gives hope to the trailing side; we should have scored the second.”

The coach also praised Melo for his save. “We use Sabri [Sarıoğlu] as a goalkeeper in training sessions, but that was not training and we decided Melo should guard the goal,” Terim said. “And he made a great save. Everything is possible in football but we should be cautious not to rely on such miracles.”
Elazığspor coach Yılmaz Vural lamented their inability to gather at least one point. “We played for a victory and we conceded a weird goal. As the spectators saw, we played well. I congratulate my boys, it could not have been better than this.”

The other two league games on Nov. 24 ended in 1-1 draws; Bursaspor was held at home by Antalyaspor and Orduspor enjoyed a point at high-flying Kasımpaşa.

In the Nov. 23 games, Beşiktaş maintained its good run with a 3-1 victory against Akhisar at home and Mersin İdman Yurdu beat visiting Karbükspor 2-1.