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Burak sets up Galatasaray for three-way battle

Published: Thursday 8 November 2012, 8.30CET
Burak Yılmaz took a while to find his feet in the UEFA Champions League but his hat-trick at CFR 1907 Cluj showed that he and Galatasaray AŞ are truly up and running in Group H.
by Paul-Daniel Zaharia
from Dr. Constantin Rădulescu Stadium

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Published: Thursday 8 November 2012, 8.30CET

Burak sets up Galatasaray for three-way battle

Burak Yılmaz took a while to find his feet in the UEFA Champions League but his hat-trick at CFR 1907 Cluj showed that he and Galatasaray AŞ are truly up and running in Group H.

It took Galatasaray AŞ striker Burak Yılmaz 17 games to get off the mark in the UEFA Champions League but, when he finally broke through, the floodgates opened at CFR 1907 Cluj. He bagged a hat-trick in Romania to add to his goal in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago and suddenly second spot in Group H looks the Turkish side's for the taking – with one point separating them, CFR and SC Braga. Burak insisted it may not have been his finest night, yet Hamit Altıntop reckoned his team-mate's treble may well tip the balance in Galatasaray's favour.

Burak Yilmaz, Galatasaray forward
There was huge pressure on us given our situation, which we scarcely merited, but we have an experienced squad and a great coach. That makes it so much easier to deal with the pressure and it is what enabled us to pick up three very important and deserved points against Cluj.

It's the first time I have scored three goals in a European match, and while I don't know if it's the best game I have ever had – I have had many matches for the national team – it's a big achievement and a confidence-booster. The games in Istanbul and Cluj were two different matches, two different results.

Hamit Altıntop, Galatasaray midfielder
The only difference between Istanbul and Cluj was the pitch and the weather conditions, which affected our style of play – our intention was to play short passes and move the ball forward. We did not do it at home, but we managed it alright today. I respect CFR Cluj, but we we are the better team. Actually, we were the better team in Istanbul as well.

Now we are second in the group and we are at home to Manchester United, which is a slight advantage for us because they have already qualified. We want to win at home. We could have won at Old Trafford, but this time we want to transform this dream into reality.

Modou Sougou, CFR forward
We cannot compare the match in Istanbul with this one in Cluj – you cannot draw conclusions from the one over there because of the conditions. Today the weather was good, which allowed us to play our own game. The victory was decided by small details – Galatasaray had more possession but we had more chances.

Then they opened the scoring following a mistake. We could have come back into the game after the equaliser, but against the run of play we conceded again. Qualification remains a possibility, though. We have a decisive match at home to Braga. Manchester United are a long way ahead, so three teams will fight for one place.

I don't think Galatasaray are a better team than us. CFR, Galatasaray and Braga are on a par – the chances are even for us all, but we will have to win at home to Braga.

Camora, CFR midfielder
Overall, Galatasaray's win was well deserved. In the first half, they dictated the pace and dominated. We started the second half well, scored our goal, but we made too many mistakes. I know Braga lost today and it is very important to beat them next time out.

Last updated: 04/12/13 19.05CET

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