Turkey's Galatasaray takes tough Copenhagen test
MADRID - Reuters
Galatasaray will be relying on the scoring touch and powerful presence of experienced striker Didier Drogba against a solid FC Copenhagen side. AA photoGalatasaray hosts FC Copenhagen on Oct. 23 in search of its debut Champions League victory this season.
The Lions made a disastrous start with a 6-1 defeat to Real Madrid last month, but found some hope with a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Juventus.
The draw was Roberto Mancini’s first game as the Galatasaray coach and now the Italian aims to clinch a maiden win that would give hope of advancing for the Turkish titleholder.
After the Juventus game, Mancini saw his team suffer a 2-0 defeat to Akhisar before a 2-1 win over Karabük in the domestic league.
But the real test will be the first of back-to-back fixtures against the Danish champions.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid eyes punching the round of 16 ticket early with a win over Juventus.
Depending on the outcome of the Galatasaray vs. Copenhagen game, Real Madrid can virtually be guaranteed a place in the last 16. For Antonio Conte’s men, who have dug themselves a hole with two draws in as many games, the Real matches are coming with increased importance.
Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon admitted it will be a tough task for the Italian giants.
“If we can play our game, we are a team who plays at a high tempo, which pressures high up the pitch, very well organised,” Buffon said.
“But all that can go out the window the moment Cristiano Ronaldo ... gets the ball, beats three players and scores.”
Troubled Juve hopes to overcome Seria A woes
Juve coach Antonio Conte, who also played under Ancelotti for the Italian champions, needs to lift his players after they crashed to a first defeat of the Serie A season on Oct. 20.
Conte’s men conceded four goals in the final 14 minutes to lose 4-2 at Fiorentina, the first time they had four put past them under the 44-year-old.
Buffon said the experience Italian Carlo Ancelotti has gained as a twice Champions League winner with AC Milan and from his stints in England and France would help him cope with the Real job, one of the most demanding in football.
Buffon: Ancelotti the man to drive Real to success
“I don’t think anyone knows better how to deal with tense situations and the challenges of winning,” he told Marca.
“No club in ts obliged to win more than Real Madrid but I think Ancelotti is someone who always finds solutions,” he added.
However, he suggested luring the world’s top players like record signings Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, who alone cost almost 200 million euros, to the Spanish capital was not enough to guarantee success in the modern game.
“The philosophy of 10 years ago remains the same, buy great champions, entertain the fans and maintain the historic prestige of Real Madrid,” Buffon said in an interview with Spanish sports daily Marca published on Monday.
“But the reality is that in football, above all now, that’s not enough to win,” he added.
Real closed to within three points of La Liga leaders Barcelona thanks to Saturday’s 2-0 win at home to Malaga, when Bale came off the bench in the second half and won a penalty to mark his return from injury.
Ronaldo converted the spot kick, his eighth goal of the domestic campaign, and the Portuguese forward, Champions League top scorer last season, already has five to his name in two appearances in Europe this term.
Real are a work in progress under Ancelotti, who replaced Jose Mourinho at the end of last season, and face a challenging week with Wednesday’s game against the Italian champions followed by Saturday’s La Liga ‘Clasico’ at Barcelona.
Ancelotti promised attacking, entertaining football at his presentation but has yet to get the best from his expensively assembled squad and their domestic campaign has begun in stuttering fashion.
They are flying in Europe, however, following thrashings of Group B rivals Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen in their opening two matches, and victory against Juve will put them seven points clear of the Turin-based side with three games remaining.