Game in a sentence

Despite a short-lived scare in the second half, Real Madrid advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League thanks to two goals by Ronaldo.


  • There were no upsets or miracles on a cloudy Tuesday night in Istanbul’s Turk Telekom Arena. But in the second half, Galatasaray came quite close to creating magic.
  • Gala was without Burak Yilmaz, the Champions League top scorer alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who had received a questionable yellow in the first leg. Fortunately, the club’s big winter signings stepped up to the plate today.
  • Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso were missing for Real Madrid. Pepe replaced the former in centre back. Michael Essien started but was substituted for Alvaro Arbeloa after a hamstring injury half hour into the game.
  • The Spanish side dominated the first half whereas the second had Galatasaray written all over it. The pressure nearly paid off for the Turkish side, but at the end Madrid composed themselves. Plus, overcoming such a huge deficit proved insurmountable for Gala.
  • Within seconds Los Blancos made their presence felt. Cristiano Ronaldo found Sami Khedira’s bullet cross from the right flank to give his team the lead in the 8th minute. CR7 has now scored a goal in each of his last 47 matches and 11 in his last 10 CL matches.
  • While Ronaldo was the goal-getter, Khedira was the driving force for Madrid. He was very effective throughout the match. He drove his team forward several times and was fearless in attack.
  • Gala intensified their game a quarter into the first half. In the 14th minute Wesley Sneijder, Hamit Altintop, Didier Drogba and Umut Bulut were all involved in what appeared to be a wonderful attempt, but the finish was poor. That chance was followed by a few others. Sneijder’s had a decent chance but was stopped by Diego Lopez, who was in a good position to make the save.
  • Initially, Gala had trouble finishing. Inan, Drogba and Sneijder created shots, but most went wide or missed the target. Bulut too had a nifty attempt. He beautifully controlled the ball around Madrid’s defenders, but when he turned to take the shot it went high.
  • That despair and wastefulness characterized Fatih Terim’s side until the 57th minute. Lopez was quite solid until then, but Madrid went on to concede three goals in 15 minutes.
  • The goals were the result of Gala’s continued pressure. Emmanuel Eboue ended his team’s dry spell against Madrid when he scored on the break in the 57th minute.
  • Madrid, of course, also had plenty more opportunities, especially a missed chance by Ronaldo that could have easily given his side a two-goal lead a minute before Eboue drilled it into the top corner.
  • In contrast to last week, Sneijder had a very strong game today. He was involved in most of his team’s forward runs and was constantly steering them towards the net.
  • While he missed a clear opportunity inside the penalty box with roughly 30 minutes remaining (his expression said it all), he would soon make up for it. The Dutch man provided his team with the second goal in the 70th minute when he dodged at least three RM’s defenders and drilled the ball right through Raphael Varane’s legs and into net.
  • It was a superb finish for a side that struggled terribly against Madrid’s back four in the first leg. Gala also managed to position themselves into more dangerous areas on the pitch.
  • Two minutes later, Drogba’s third goal injected even more confidence and hope into the team.
  • What started as a comfortable match for Los Blancos slowly started showing signs of collapse.
  • But Ronaldo’s stoppage time goal secured the victory for the Spanish side.
  • Before the match, Jose Mourinho said he’d be very unhappy with a draw or a 1-0 loss. While his team came away with the win, this was another one of Madrid’s more forgettable performances. He was correct when he said Madrid can’t get too complacent with a three-goal lead…because they nearly did.
  • Although Gala lost, the Turkish side can at least take satisfaction in their performance. They played a much better game today than in the first leg, and enjoyed several long spells of domination.

Three Stars