Friday, 24 May 2013
In the final week of the Turkish Süper Lig Galatasaray won their final game of the season against Trabzonspor in front of a packed crowd at the Türk Telekom Arena, beating the Trabzon side 2-0.
The Parçalı side were immediately on the attack, Felipe Melo attempting a long range effort, however, Trabzonspor keeper Tolga Zengin comfortably saved the Brazilian's shot. Moments later, the Lions went on the attack yet again with Reira coming from the left hand side and passing to Drogba who then beat one of the Trabzonspor defenders and hitting the ball venomously at
Tolga Zengin who acrobatically parried the Ivorian's shot.
Again, the Lions continued to cause havoc in the Trabzonspor half of the pitch, Drogba testing Zengin from outside of the box, however, his shot didn't trouble the Trabzonspor keeper. The Istanbul side finally beat Zengin in the thirty fourth minute, Hamit passing to Eboué who had pushed up the field and ran into space to then find Burak open, Burak hit his shot rather weakly at Zengin, the ball rebounded off Zengin's clearance and Reira drilled the ball into the back of the net to give Galatasaray their well deserved lead.
The Spaniard got his second goal of the season (one more than last season) and has been a threat when he has been in the opposition's half, however, his position as left back has been a bit of problem for the Lions this season with either him or Hakan Balta at times having issues with positioning and letting teams (such as Madrid and Schalke in the Champions League run riot on the left wing).
The Lions sealed their victory in the fifty second minute of the game when Amrabrat broke free and passed to Burak who then ran into in the Trabzonspor box and slotted the ball into the right hand corner of the goal. The former Trabzonspor striker has scored twenty four goals in this season's Süper Lig, on top of that he scored nine goals in the Champions League and has already attracted an interest from Premier League clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea.
The Turkish champions refused to sit on their laurels, and continued to attack, Amrabat decided to have a go at beating Zengin from outside of the area, his effort unfortunately sailing over, however, it was a decent effort by the Moroccan international.
It has been another great season for the Istanbul club who have been crowned Süper Lig Champions for the second consecutive season, with the likes of Muslera who helped Galatasaray concede the least amount of goals in this domestic season (35 goals) and Burak who contributed to a third of all of the goals scored this season, things are really looking up for Galatasaray. Key partnerships such as Selçuk and Felipe Melo in the middle of the park and Burak and Drogba have played important roles this season. At the back however, there needs improvement (as mentioned on countless posts this season) and I am sure that Terim will be looking at bolstering the left side of defence and possibly looking to bring in another centre back as cover. Eboué has been great at right back by making darting runs into the opponents' half and creating chances, he has been a huge asset at the back.
The club has confirmed that Cameroon international Aurélien Chedjou has been in talks with the club, Newcastle have also been interested in the Cameroonian to add to their list of Francophone players. Liverpool too have shown an interest in the twenty six year old defender. The Les Lions Indomptables player has fourteen caps with Cameroon and has lifted the French title with Lille during the 2010-2011 season.
At the end of the match the party celebrations started, the team who were wearing their new kit for next season in the traditional Parçalı colours went up individually and received their winners medals on the podium, Sabri was the last player up, before the he lifted the cup, he participated with the fans as they sang Cim bom bom! The likes of Taffarel and Hasan Şaş followed and they saved the best for last, the mighty İmparator (emperor) Fatih Terim joined the proceedings.
Sabri lifted the trophy and the celebrations officially started with Queen's 'we are the champions' playing in the background. The players were then interviewed individually by many of the press, Drogba mentioned to a spokesperson that he is very happy and it is fantastic for the club and the fans, he also mentioned that winning the title was special as the club has now nineteen titles and he said although he has only played half of this season he is already looking forward to next season already. He was asked on his opinion on who he thought should be player of the season, as predicted he said that his striking partner Burak should be crowned player of the season as he as has scored a lot of goals and was fantastic in the Champions League.
Other players such as Dany (who was seen putting his baby in the cup!), he revealed to the interviewer that his son was born when he signed for Galatasaray and that was partly the reason for putting Dany junior in the cup. He said that this was also an important part in his life as his family were now settled in Istanbul, he also mentioned that this was his first league title and that he was also won the African Cup of Nations with his native Cameroon.
It has been another amazing season for the Lions of Istanbul and hopefully next season will be the same, I would like to thank all the people have read this blog this season and I will continue to cover every single Galatasaray game. Teşekkür ederim! Cim bom bom!
GALATASARAY: Muslera, Eboué, Dany, Semih, Riera, Hamit (Umut 82nd min), Selçuk, Melo, (Amrabat 40th min), Emre, Burak, Drogba (Elmander 82nd min)
Posted by Aslan Tourist at 14:13
Sunday, 19 May 2013
In Week thirty three of the Turkish Süper Lig the famous Istanbul derby was at Fenerbahçe's Şükrü Saracoğlu stadium on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.
Last time these two sides met was back in December when the Lions came out victorious with Selçuk scored one of his trademark free kicks to put the Parçalı side in front on the day.
Terim went for a slightly different approach and decided to play Swedish international Johan Elamander who has not featured in the Galatasaray starting eleven in months and replaced Wesley Sneijder who is currently injured.
The home side dominated in the early minutes with the likes of Moussa Sow having two great chances to put the Yellow Canaries ahead, luckily for Galatasaray the Senegalese international put his efforts wide.
The European side of the city went ahead in the twenty fifth minute of the game, Selçuk sent a long ball to Didier Drogba who then chested down the ball, Fenerbahçe defender Gökhan Gönül mistimed what looked like a header and ended up touching the ball with his hand. Referee Halis Özkahya pointed to the spot and gave the away side a penalty.
Burak stepped up and put the ball into the left hand corner of the net sending Fenerbahçe keeper Volkan Demirel the wrong way to make it one nil to Galatasaray.
Seven minutes later the Yellow Canaries pulled one back, Gökhan Gönül crossing in the from the right hand side and Pierre Webo converting from a diving header, the former İstanbul BB striker has now scored seven goals for Fenerbahçe since joining the club in January.
Four minutes later Webo scored again for the home side, Emre slotted in a through ball to the Cameroonian who then slipped the ball past Muslera to make to 2-1.
In the second half the Lions didn't really look like a side that had just won the Süper Lig as there seemed to be a lack of flair and creativity, Burak had an opportunity to level the score when he had a one on one effort with Volkan Demirel which the Turkish international saved.
The Yellow Canaries had better chances with Dirk Kuyt making runs down the right flank and creating chances for the likes Moussa Sow, he almost scored when Sow had his shot rebound off the post, however, Muslera pulled off an amazing acrobatic save to deny the former Liverpool player.
It has been in situations like that when Muslera has been a key member of the Galatasaray team and has saved the club on numerous occasions this season, particularly when the back four have been weak at times.
The scrappy affair in the game turned into a fiery affair when Fenerbahçe keeper Volkan Demirel and Galatasaray defender Sabri clashed near the end of the game. Both exchanged words with one another and the Turkish number one strangled Sabri and was immediately sent off, Sabri was also shown the red card for provoking the keeper.
The whistle blew and both teams celebrated for different reasons, Galatasaray for becoming this season's champions (and also beating Fener's title record) and Fenerbahçe for beating their rivals and being unbeaten at their stadium for fourteen consecutive seasons.
GALATASARAY: Muslera, Eboué (Aydın 81 mins), Semih, Gökhan, Riera, Melo, Hamit (Sabri mins), Selçuk, Elmander (Amrabat 46 mins), Drogba, Burak Yılmaz
Posted by Aslan Tourist at 05:46
Thursday, 9 May 2013
In week thirty two of the Süper Lig the Lions of Istanbul clenched their nineteenth title by beating Sivasspor 4-2 at home.
Brazilian goalkeeping legend Cláudio Taffarel was again in charge of the team as Terim is still serving his ban [for misconduct against the referee back in week twenty eight against Mersin İdmanyurdu].
Galatasaray got off to a brilliant start when in the eighth minute of the match Selçuk scored from one of his trademark swinging free-kicks, which we also saw back in December in the Istanbul derby against Fenerbahçe.
The Lions could of doubled their lead in the first half when Drogba crossed into Burak from the right, however, the Turkish international put his effort over. Although they didn't get their second goal in the first half, it was a good example of how the Drogba and Burak partnership is working, with Drogba whipping balls into Burak who has a great tendency to get himself into space and convert chances.
The Istanbul side finally got their second goal within eight minutes of the second half, Eboué played a lovely through ball to Burak who then powerfully struck the ball past the helpless Sivasspor keeper Milan Borjan.
Seven minutes later the Lions increased their lead once again and [in my opinion] the best Galatasaray goal of the season, Eboué once again claiming an assist from launching a long ball to Selçuk who then cheekily flicked the ball over Czech defender Jan Rajnoch and blasted the ball into the top right hand corner of the goal to get his sixth goal of the season.
Fifteen minuter later the goal fest continued at the Türk Telekom Arena, Felipe Melo chipped the ball to Umut who then found Burak who again was in space to get into the Sivasspor box and put the ball past Milan Borjan for the second time on the evening.
Sivasspor claimed two consolation goals near the end of the game, Belgium born Turk Kadir Bekmezci hitting the ball from about twenty yards out and putting the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. Even the home fans were clapping when the team from the Sivas Province scored their first consolation goal.
Fernando Muslera was later substituted and second choice keeper Eray İşcan stepped in for the last remaining minutes of the game. The second choice keeper conceded with only being on the pitch for about nine minutes, Azerbaijan striker Cihan Özkara giving the Yiğidolar their second consolation goal.
City rivals Fenerbahçe lost to struggling side İstanbul BB two nil at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, which mathematically gave Galatasaray a ten point lead and they were therefore crowned Turkish champions.
It has been a phenomenal year for the Lions who not long ago finished mid table and were having one of their worst seasons in their footballing history. With the introduction of monumental signings such as Drogba and Sneijder and reaching the quarter finals of this season's Champions League, the future looks bright for the parçalı side.
GALATASARAY: Muslera (Eray 81 mins), Eboué, Semih, Gökhan, Riera, Hamit (Umut 70 mins), Melo, Selçuk, Sneijder (Amrabat 58 mins), Burak, Drogba
Posted by Aslan Tourist at 06:02
Saturday, 4 May 2013
Last weekend Galatasaray travelled to the southern city of Gaziantep to face Gaziantepspor at the Kamil Ocak Stadium, the Lions narrowly extended their lead at the top of the Süper Lig by beating the Falcons one nil.
The game from a Galatasaray fan's perspective was not the most thrilling compared with other matches from this season, at times they were playing like a team who had already been crowned Süper Lig champions and sat back and let Gaziantepspor run riot into their half of the pitch.
The Falcons went close when Cameroonian striker Dorge Kouemaha's long range shot hit the post, the home side had a few more efforts, however, they were denied by Fernando Muslera who made some essential saves to keep the Istanbul side in the game.
Galatasaray were gifted a golden opportunity in the sixty second minute of the game when Gilles Binya failed to clear Felipe Melo's cross and slipped over in the process. Burak was at the right place at the right time to then latch onto the ball from Binya's calamitous defending and put the ball past Gaziantepspor keeper Žydrūnas Karčemarskas to make it one nil.
The camera zoomed into Fatih Terim who looked relieved to see his side go one nil up as their performance on the pitch did not reflect on where they are currently sitting in the league. Despite this narrow win in Gaziantep, the Lions maintained their lead in the Turkish Süper Lig and are seven points clear.
City rivals Fenerbahçe remain in second place after they beat Kayserispor 2-1 at home, fellow Istanbul side Beşiktaş also won beating Orduspor two nil at the İnönü Stadium.
In week thirty two of the Süper Lig, Galatasaray face eleventh placed Sivasspor tomorrow at the Türk Telekom Arena. The last time both side met was back in December, on the day the Lions left the Sivas 4 Eylül Stadium victorious with Umut Bulut scoring within a minute of the game kicking off and scoring later in the game to make it 3-1 to the away side. Burak also scored on the day when Amrabat played a through ball to set up the Galatasaray fan favourite just before half time.
The Lions will again be on the hunt to extend their lead at the top and become even more closer to becoming this season's Turkish champions for the second consecutive year and over take Fenerbahçe's record of winning domestic titles (both have currently won eighteen).
Galatasaray: Muslera, Eboué, Semih, Dany, Riera, Melo, Selçuk, Yekta (Emre 46 mins), Hamit, Burak, Drogba (Sabri 83 mins)
Posted by Aslan Tourist at 12:00
Monday, 22 April 2013
Last Friday evening Galatasaray edged closer to their nineteenth Turkish Süper Lig title by beating Elazığspor 3-1 at the Türk Telekom Arena.
Semih this week was replaced by Gökhan Zan due to an injury problem and Wesley Sneijder started on the bench due to injury concerns. Brazilian goalkeeping legend Cláudio Taffarel was again in charge of the team for the second consecutive week as Fatih Terim had to watch the game from the stands having been punished for his outbursts against Mersin İdmanyurdu by the Turkish Football Federation.
It took the Lions only two minutes to go ahead, Felipe Melo's long range effort was punched away by Elazığspor goalkeeper Vanja Iveša, Burak was at at the right place at the right time and slotted the ball passed the Croatian to make it one nil.
The home side got their second eighteen minutes later when Fábio Bilica chested the ball from Fernando Muslera's goal kick, the ball landed straight to Hamit who then delivered a through ball to Didier Drogba. The Ivorian calmly drilled the ball past Iveša to give Galatasaray their second goal on the night.
Minutes later, the team from the Eastern Anatolia region pulled one back, Serdar Gürler receiving a lofted pass into the Galatasaray box and beating Muslera by firing in a low shot into the left hand corner of the goal. The goal could have been prevented by Dany who failed to close down the former Sochaux player.
Three minutes later the game changed once more, Drogba getting his second goal on the night, Burak headed the ball onto Yekta who fought off both Murat Akyüz and Fábio Bilica and found Drogba in space who beat Vanja Iveša in the Elazığspor goal for the second consecutive time.
The Gakgoşlar (as Elazığspor are nicknamed) didn't really cause a threat for Galatasaray in the second half, the home side had quite a few chances to increase their lead with a debatable penalty decision when Murat Akyüz brought down Burak. Aydın Yılmaz had two golden opportunities to score, however, he scuffed both his efforts.
The win on Friday evening keeps the Lions in first place and they are now seven points clear, city rivals Fenerbahçe lost two nil in Ankara against Gençlerbirliği which has now made their title hopes slip even more. Bursaspor move into third place after beating bottom side Mersin İdmanyurdu one nil at the Tevfik Sırrı Gür Stadium in Mersin, Pablo Batalla scoring for the Green Crocodiles.
Galatasaray travel to the southern city of Gaziantep in week thirty one of the Süper Lig and face eleventh placed Gaziantepspor. Last time both side played was back in November at the Türk Telekom Arena which finished 1-1, Burak saved the Lions on the day as they went one nil down when Senijad Ibričić (now at Kasımpaşa) scored for the Falcons back in week fourteen of the Süper Lig.
A win in Gaziantep would put the Istanbul side ten points clear (if Fenerbahçe lose to Kayserispor at home) and would further their chances of being crowned league champions for the second consecutive season.
GALATASARAY: Muslera, Eboué, Gökhan, Dany, Riera, Melo, Selçuk,Yekta (Aydın Yılmaz 76 mins), Hamit (Sabri 88 mins), Drogba (Amrabat 83 mins), Burak
Posted by Aslan Tourist at 14:08
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
In week twenty nine of the Turkish Süper Lig Galatasaray travelled to Karabük and faced struggling side Karabükspor at the Dr. Necmettin Şeyhoğlu Stadium. Last time both sides met was back in November when Karabükspor beat the lions 3-1 in Istanbul. Former Galatasaray and Brazil goalkeeper Taffarel managed the team as Terim and his two assistants Hasan Şaş and Ümit Davala were suspended and had to watch the game from the stands due to their outbursts during the Mersin İdman Yurdu game.
The result this time was very different with away side winning one nil, Galatasaray played a similar team that featured against Real Madrid last week, Burak Yılmaz was back in the squad after missing the Champions League quarter final leg due to a suspension.
The Istanbul side had a few chances in the first half but failed to test Karabükspor keeper Bora Körk, Sneijder had a decent effort on goal from trying to beat Körk from about twenty yards away, however his shot skimmed the crossbar.
Galatasaray finally went ahead in the fifty second minute, Albert Reira passing to sneijder from the left hand side who then played a one two with Didier Drogba, the Dutch international ran passed Karabükspor defender Erdem Özgenç and slotted the ball past Bora Körk to give the visitors the lead.
Moments later the Mavi Ateş (Blue Flames) had an opportunity to equalise when they were awarded a freekick, fortunatley for Galatasaray Karabükspor forward İlhan Parlak failed to get his headed effort on target.
The Lions had a few more chances soon after, including a few chances from Burak, however his shots caused no threat for keeper Bora Körk. Minutes later the home side again tried to make it level, again fortunately for Galatasaray, Ahmet Özek mistimed his sliding effort.
The Istanbul club again extend their lead at the top of the Süper Lig and remain four points clear. On Sunday second placed side Fenerbahçe beat Eskişehirspor one nil at home, Brazilian midfielder Cristian Baroni scoring for the Canaries. Third place side Beşiktaş also won beating Medical Park Antalyaspor 1-0 at the İnönü Stadium in Istanbul.
In week thirty of the Turkish Süper Lig, Galatasaray face thirteenth placed Elazığspor at the Türk Telekom Arena. The last time both sides met was back in November when Felipe Melo took Muslera's place after the Uruguayan was sent off for bringing down Serdar Gürler and injuring himself in the process. Melo saved the Lions on the day when he saved Göksu Türkdoğan's penalty. The Lions won one nil on the day with Yekta scoring in the early minutes of the second half.
GALATASARAY: Muslera, Eboué, Semih, Gökhan, Riera, Hamit, Melo, Selçuk, Sneijder (Bulut 85 mins), Drogba (Yekta 90 mins), Burak (Çolak 74 mins).
Posted by Aslan Tourist at 14:01
Thursday, 11 April 2013
On Tuesday evening Galatasaray played their second leg quarter final clash against Real Madrid, the home side gave the nine times Champions League winners a fright when they came back from losing 1-0 to going in front with three goals. Los Blancos booked their semi final place when Ronaldo scored in the remaining minutes of the game to win 5-3 on aggregate.
The ironic thing is that in the 2000/2001 season when these two sides met, the result was exactly same at Galatasaray's old Ali Sami Yen stadium when on the day Davala, Hasan Şaş, and Jardel scored for the Istanbul side, Helguera and Claude Makélelé scoring for Madrid twelve years ago.
The Lions started the game badly, seven minutes into the game the side from the Spanish capital went ahead when Cristiano Ronaldo scored from close range. It was kind of similar situation when both sides met in Madrid, Galatasaray were sloppy at the back and let Madrid's deadly counter attack break through.
Near the end of the first half the home side started to pick up the pace and play better, Terim's half time team talk must have definitely helped motivate his side who had a huge mountain to climb going into the second half. Amrabat came on for Hamit who didn't really shine in the first half, Terim slightly pushed his defense up, which was totally different in the first leg, as he changed the team at half time to be more defensive having brought off Sneijder and bringing on Zan to put five at the back.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, Galatasaray pulled one back, Emmanuel Eboué's venomous strike beating Madrid keeper Diego López, it was the Ivorian's first goal of the season and what a goal to claim in what turned out to be a nail biting quarter final.
Eboué's goal definitely gave the Lions confidence he also was a nuisance on the wing for Real from making darting runs forward and creating space (something Galatasaray fans see from him when he plays at right back in the Süper Lig). Sabri (who Terim had a phase of selecting at right back instead of Eboué this season) came on for Umut Bulut, both right backs worked well together and it was definitely a tactical decision that Terim got right this week.
Sabri assisted the Lion's second goal by dribbling the ball past Luka Modrić and passing to Sneijder who then beat the remaining Madrid defence and the slotted the ball into the right hand corner of the goal to make it 2-1.
Remarkably Galatasaray went ahead again two minutes later, Amrabat took the ball past Portuguese international Pepe and passed to Drogba who cheekily back heeled Amrabat's pass into the back of the net to make it 3-1 to the Lions. The tv camera zoomed to Mourinho who looked very nervous indeed, I think he even knew that Galatasaray with their new found form in the second half could beat his Madrid side.
The crowd were really getting behind the team, or what Mourinho described after the game as "Galatasaray don't play with 11 players, they play with 50,000 plus 11." Having a 'twelfth man' definitely helped the Lions feel confident and constantly attack in Madrid's half, it was very unfortunate that Drogba's effort was ruled for offside by referee Stéphane Lannoy. That goal could have again completely changed the game once more for the Istanbul side.
Madrid scored in the dying minutes of the game, Benzema coming in from the right and setting up Ronaldo who again scored from close range for the second time on the night. The goal was a bitter pill for Galatasaray who had completely stepped up their game in the second half, it was a shame that their poor defending in the first leg cost them dearly.
Players such as Eboué had definitely improved since the previous leg, as it is fair to say that he was definitely one of the defenders who was switched off at the back and poorly closed down Madrid's devastating counter attacks.
'The year of the lion' as I had dubbed in January when both Sneijder and Drogba arrived on Turkish soil still looks promising, although they won't be lifting the Champions League trophy in Wembley, they are still in reach of being crowned Süper Lig champions for the second consecutive season and beating arch rivals Fenerbahçe to nineteen league titles (both clubs at present have equally won eighteen titles).
As mentioned in my 'Could this be the year of the lion' post, this new era with club president Ünal Aysal and 'The Emperor' Fatih Terim at the helm, the Istanbul club are clearly going places, matches such as the first leg in Madrid show that in the summer the club must strengthen the back four if they want to progress in major tournaments.
GALATASARAY: Muslera, Eboué (Elmander 80 mins), Zan, Semih, Riera, Hamit (Amrabat 46 mins), Selçuk, Melo, Sneijder, Umut Bulut (Sabri 46 mins), Drogba
Posted by Aslan Tourist at 14:17