Aurélien Chedjou struck a 65th-minute equaliser as Galatasaray AŞ turned the tables on Chelsea FC with a second-half performance as dominant as their opponents had been in the first.
The west London club looked to be cruising towards the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after Fernando Torres's early opener and plenty of chances to add to their advantage. Indeed, José Mourinho could have been forgiven for pondering the margin of victory rather than whether or not they would win, but the hosts were a different proposition after the restart. Chedjou turned the ball in following a corner to earn parity and leave this round of 16 tie wide open.
A sold-out Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi is daunting to many but clearly not to Chelsea as they immediately took a firm grip on proceedings in Istanbul – if not subduing the home crowd then at least taking the edge off it. They forged ahead inside nine minutes as Torres converted César Azpilicueta's squared ball from the left. It was Cimbom who appeared to be struggling to come to terms with the occasion, with muscular Chelsea ever a threat on the break.
Wesley Sneijder and Selçuk İnan, Galatasaray's creative fulcrum, were forced to do more defending than they would have hoped to combat the visitors. It was fully 30 minutes before a hint of threat on Petr Čech's goal, with John Terry and his defensive colleagues seemingly at ease repelling the advances of a man they knew so well: Didier Drogba. As the teams went in for half-time the biggest question was how it was only 1-0.
Roberto Mancini worked wonders. His charges emerged from the interval with a spring in their step and suddenly it was Chelsea on the back foot. Selçuk hit the post in a goalmouth melee and the crowd rose in unison, in expectation. Chedjou duly satisfied them as he peeled off Terry to meet Sneijder's excellent corner from the left with a skewed effort that evaded Čech on the way in.
This was definitely not part of Mourinho's game plan. The Portuguese sought to halt Galatasaray's momentum, withdrawing the industrious Torres for the opportunistic Samuel Eto'o; soon afterwards he applauded Drogba off as he made way for Umut Bulut. Fresh legs did not bring fresh opportunities, though, the last 20 minutes witnessing some hard-fought battles in midfield – setting the agenda, perhaps, for the second leg at Stamford Bridge in three weeks.
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