RACHEL – Lions play for pride, Gunners for top spot in CL Group D

Lions play for pride, Gunners for top spot in CL Group DBrand-new coach Hamza HamzaoIlu just will not be able to save the doomed Lions from crashing out of the UEFA Champions League after their match against Arsenal on Tuesday night.After earning just one point in five matches, Galatasaray has secured its spot at the very bottom of Group D, after Belgian side Anderlecht.

Even if the team does manage to win some points in the final group stage match, it will count for nothing but pride.andldquoWe have a match against Arsenal.

It is important for [our] prestige and for our self-confidence. If we can win, we will be happy,andrdquo HamzaoIlu said.

Arsenal is currently in second place with 10 points. The English Premier League team has secured a berth in the knockout rounds, but if Arsenal takes three points home from Istanbul and if leader Borussia Dortmund loses at home to Anderlecht, the club will be in even better shape.

Arsene Wengerandrsquos side pummeled the Lions 4-1 in their London encounter in October But that was under Galatasarayandrsquos previous coach Cesare Prandelli, who was off-loaded after the Lionsandrsquo 2-0 loss to Anderlecht two weeks ago. The loss sealed Galatasarayandrsquos fate, eliminating even a long-shot chance to continue in the lower-level Europa League.

Hat tricks and injuriesDanny Welbeck scored a hat trick against Galatasaray in their first match, and after he rested half of the Gunnersandrsquo most recent — a loss to Stoke City — he should be in top shape to take on the Lions once again. Wenger noted that he had a very mild groin injury that prevented him from starting against Stoke.

The Arsenal coach said he would rest Chile striker Alexis Sanchez during the Istanbul match, which may give Galatasarayandrsquos defense a leg up.andldquoLetandrsquos not forget that last year they knocked Juventus out when they qualified from the group stage, so it is a surprise [that Galatasaray was eliminated],andrdquo Arsenalandrsquos website reported Wenger as saying.

andldquoTurkish people are very proud and they will try to finish this campaign with a convincing performance, but we have played many games and some players are close to getting an injury,andrdquo he added.Arsenal has an extensive injury list, including goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, midfielder Mikel Arteta, forward Theo Walcott, Germany midfielder Mesut zil, France defender Mathieu Debuchy, Colombia keeper David Ospina and England midfielder Jack Wilshere, while Nacho Monreal is doubtful.

Galatasarayandrsquos doubtfuls include Turkey defenders Semih Kaya and Hakan Balta and Switzerland midfielder Blerim Dzemaili.Lions and their prideGalatasaray has struggled this year But the Lions have won both of their domestic matches since HamzaoIlu took over in Prandelliandrsquos wake.

The Istanbul club first defeated EskiIehirspor 4-2 for the Ziraat Turkish Cup and then Akhisar Belediye Genlik ve Spor 2-1 with a brace by striker Burak YIlmaz, which helped them keep second place in the Spor Toto Super League.Burak also scored the Lionsandrsquo penalty goal in the first Arsenal match.

He may be Galatasarayandrsquos main hope for goals yet again. HamzaoIlu will be missing the services of Seluk Inan, the Turkey playmaker who was shown red in Galatasarayandrsquos last match.

The Lions may be regaining their confidence, but that will not save them from dropping out of Europe. At least Galatasaray has nothing to lose on Tuesday.

And the only thing to gain is a bit of pride before bidding farewell to the Champions League and focusing exclusively on the domestic front.The Lions last UEFA match this season kicks off at 9:45 pm at Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul.

It will be officiated by Spainandrsquos David Fernandez Borbalan, and assisted on the sidelines by Raul Cabanero Martinez and Jose Miranda.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman