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Madrid survive Galatasaray fightback

Published: Tuesday 9 April 2013, 22.50CET
Galatasaray AŞ 3-2 Real Madrid CF (agg: 3-5)
The hosts produced a stirring second half to win on the night but Madrid held on to reach a record 24th semi-final thanks to their first-leg victory.
by Simon Hart
from Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi

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Published: Tuesday 9 April 2013, 22.50CET

Madrid survive Galatasaray fightback

Galatasaray AŞ 3-2 Real Madrid CF (agg: 3-5)
The hosts produced a stirring second half to win on the night but Madrid held on to reach a record 24th semi-final thanks to their first-leg victory.

There was no surprise in Istanbul as Real Madrid CF confirmed their progress to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, but at least Galatasaray AŞ exited the competition with their heads held high.

Cristiano Ronaldo's early goal appeared to have doused any lingering chance of an improbable home comeback, extending Madrid's aggregate lead to 4-0, but Fatih Terim's team made a real fight of it in a thrilling second half when Emmanuel Eboué, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba all found the net. Briefly Galatasaray had hope but Madrid regrouped and Ronaldo's late second goal ensured a 5-3 aggregate win – a direct repeat of the sides' 2001 quarter-final encounter.

"This is Ali Sami Yen, there is no way out" was the chant from the impressively loud home crowd before kick-off but it seemed it was their own team lacking the escape route when Madrid struck after seven minutes. When Galatasaray only half-cleared a corner, Madrid recycled the threat, Mesut Özil slipped in Sami Khedira on the right side of the box and he crossed low for Ronaldo to get in front of Eboué and score.

The deafening whistles that had greeted every Madrid touch in the opening minutes now subsided slightly and Ángel Di María would have added a second but for a brilliant save by Fernando Muslera after Ronaldo's back-heel had put the Argentinian in on goal.

At this stage Galatasaray appeared to be missing Burak Yılmaz, their suspended top scorer. Not until the 39th minute did Madrid's Diego López have a save to make, smothering a low shot from Sneijder.

Nordin Amrabat replaced Hamit Altıntop at half-time as Terim looked for an improvement yet things almost got worse for the hosts as Di María teed up Ronaldo. Instead the Portuguese showed he is human after all, scuffing his attempt wide.

That reprieve proved the cue for a Galatasaray revival. They drew level on the night after 57 minutes when Sneijder's centre from the byline was met in the most emphatic fashion by Eboué, the Ivorian thumping a brilliant first-time effort high into the net from the edge of the area. Some way to score his first goal of the season.

Sneijder then missed a golden opportunity, pulling a shot wide when Fábio Coentrão inadvertently set him up, but made amends with a fine strike in the 70th minute, outwitting Raphaël Varane on the edge of the box before drilling a low finish past López. When Drogba back-heeled Amrabat's cross into the far corner 120 seconds later, the ground was rocking, yet that was as good as it got for the Turkish champions.

Drogba had an effort ruled offside and Madrid then lost Álvaro Arbeloa to a second booking, but in the closing seconds Ronaldo picked up Karim Benzema's ball and beat Muslera at his near post for his 11th goal of the competition. Madrid's pursuit of a tenth European Cup goes on.

Last updated: 04/12/13 5.56CET

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