The introduction of substitute Marc Overmars was the turning point in FC Barcelona’s comeback from 2-0 down against Galatasaray SK, according to the Catalan side's coach Carles Rexach.
Two goals from Javier Saviola tied things up at 2-2 at the Camp Nou stadium, but Rexach says it was the flying Dutch winger who made the real difference. He said: “I think Saviola was great and when Overmars came on all three forwards became very dangerous.” Goalscorer Saviola was also full of praise for his team-mate, saying: “When Overmars appeared we opened up spaces and it was the key to the match.”
‘Prisoners on the pitch’
Rexach credited Galatasaray for their impressive first-half display, but, in the light of AS Roma’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool FC in the other Group B game, he stressed Barcelona are still on track for a quarter-final place, saying: “We were prisoners on the pitch and our analysis of the match will show that a draw is satisfactory, especially with Liverpool and Roma drawing too.
“We started well but then it was 0-1 and just when it looked like we were picking up - boom! - it was 0-2. At half-time I told my players we had to take risks and that it was all or nothing,” added Rexach.
And Rexach was delighted with their response, adding: “We pressurised and the crowd was excellent. They realised how important it was to change the result. Our changes worked well, sometimes you make the right choices and other times you do not.”
Despite losing a 2-0 lead, Galatasaray coach Mircea Lucescu was pleased with the way his players performed. He said: “I was very proud, 2-2 is a good result for us. We are modest compared to the history and tradition of Barcelona.”
He agreed that Overmars changed the game, adding: “When we were 2-0 up I told my players at half-time to maintain the result, but Overmars is a great player. We did not have a solution to him and it threw our game off balance.”
The 62nd-minute dismissal of Brazilian defender Capone for a challenge on Rivaldo angered Lucescu who said: “The referee overreacted with the sending off. It created a big problem for us because we were left with ten men. Barcelona made the most of it and scored the second goal.”
Barcelona now lead the group on four points ahead of Galatasaray, who are level with Roma on two. In the next round of games on 20 February, Barcelona host Roma while Galatasaray travel to Liverpool.
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