RACHEL – Lions end CL campaign with repeat 4-1 loss to Arsenal

Lions end CL campaign with repeat 4-1 loss to ArsenalWesley Sneijder’s goal in the final minutes helped Galatasaray finish its match against Arsenal in Istanbul on a positive note, even if the Istanbul club failed to end its UEFA Champions League campaign with a consolation win in front of its home crowd. The Lions of Galatasaray ended their UEFA Champions League group stage with a 4-1 loss to the Gunners after falling three behind in the first half.

Dutch national Sneijder scored in the 88th minute from a dead ball just outside the box. Despite having sealed their fate as group D’s bottom team with losses to every other team in the group — the Lions drew one match with Belgian champion Anderlecht, but lost the other — Hamza HamzaoIlu’s men were still trying to score into the dying minutes.

Germany defender Per Mertesacker had blocked a shot with his hands, resulting in the kick that would finally win Galatasaray some dignity. Sneijder wound up and sent the ball left past Poland keeper Wojciech Szczesny to score Galatasaray’s 100th Champions League goal.

Falling far behind Minutes later Germany’s Lukas Podolski set himself up for another shot, which he blew by Galatasaray keeper Sinan Bolat with ease. It was the German forward’s second of the match.

Podolski first put the English Premier League side ahead with an assist by Aaron Ramsey in the third minute to start Arsenal off on the right foot. Ramsey scored one of his own in the 11th minute and made it three for Arsenal in the 29th in a first half completely dominated by the rampaging Gunners.

“We lost with a final score of 4-1. We did not play like we wanted to in the first half,” HamzaoIlu said after the match.

“Today, what I expected of my players were things I wanted to see on the pitch, more than a result,” he added. Arsene Wenger’s side was assured a position in the knockout round even before the match, but the fixture meant more to them than to Galatasaray.

If Borussia Dortmund had lost to Anderlecht, then the Gunners would have finished top of the group. It was close and Anderlecht held the German side to a 1-1 draw.

Arsenal and Dortmund both finished with 13 points, but the Germans led the group on goal difference. Bad habits Galatasaray did come back from halftime with some desire to end on a positive note.

The Lions held Arsenal to their three first-half goals until the very last minute of injury time, when Podolski scored his second goal. “We were the dominant team in the second half, but we were hard pressed to find a goal.

We may have lost the match, but we gained many things. It was a productive match for us,” HamzaoIlu said.

It had been a hard match for HamzaoIlu as the Lions’ new coach. By the time he took over for Cesare Prandelli just a few weeks ago, Galatasaray was already down and out of the Champions League.

At least there was no pressure on his team during the Arsenal match, since nothing could save the Lions from an ignominious exit from UEFA competition. The Lions under Prandelli had recorded the same 4-1 score when they met Arsenal in London on Oct.

1 That is no doubt a result HamzaoIlu would have wished to improve upon, if only to avoid being placed in the same category as Prandelli, who is widely considered a failure in Istanbul. But this meaningless match is unlikely to cause a big stir for the new coach, so he will be able to put the Champions League behind him It was good practice and experience.

Luckily, that is all it counted for.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman