FC Barcelona became only the fourth team to win all six games in a UEFA Champions League group as they beat Galatasaray SK 3-1 to end the Turkish side's European campaign.
Both teams had rung the changes since Matchday Five, Barça making five alterations, Galatasaray four, but the lineups gelled well, the visitors needing a win to gain a last 16 place, as long as Club Brugge KV did not win at FC Lokomotiv Moskva.
Dani García burst
The first goal came ten minutes in with Barcelona having already worried the visitors with their attacking pace. Geovanni side-footed the ball to Dani García 30 metres from goal, and he burst through the Galatasaray defence, leaving João Batista and Bülent Korkmaz trailing in his wake before shooting under Faryd Mondragon's dive.
Not long afterwards, Galatasaray went close to equalising. Elvir Baljic's free-kick on the right beat the Barcelona defence, surprising goalkeeper Robert Enke, who could only touch the ball on to the post. Hasan Sas was first to the deflection, but could not get full contact four metres out with the goal unguarded.
Still, on 20 minutes the visitors were level. Michael Reiziger seemed to have cut out the danger from a Galatasaray break with a fine sliding tackle, but Fabio Pinto crossed back in, and Cihan Haspolatli rose unmarked to head in.
Fatih Terim's team took heart from this, and for much of the rest of the half looked the more likely to score. Four minutes from the break, they spurned a golden opportunity as Frank de Boer slipped in his own area with the ball at his feet allowing the chasing Baljic a shot at goal from ten metres with only Enke to beat, only for his effort to spin over the bar.
And Barcelona took full advantage on 44 minutes, as Gerard López headed them back in front from Thiago Motta's corner. It was a harsh blow for Galatasaray, not least as they then learned that Lokomotiv were ahead, leaving them needing to win just to avoid finishing fourth in the group.
However, Barcelona looked even stronger in the second half, and took control of the match as their opponents' attacks became increasingly rare. In the 56th minute the home side emphasised their control by adding to their lead, although the goal came out of the blue somewhat as Geovanni's 25-metre shot beat Mondragon at his right-hand post.
Christian forces save
It almost got worse for the visitors when Saviola headed a Gaizka Mendieta cross on to a post with 15 minutes left. But the arrival of Christian up front gave Galatasaray hope, as he first forced Enke to make an excellent save from a 20-metre effort, and then headed the resulting corner on to the inside of the post with the Barcelona goalkeeper beaten. But is was too late for Galatasaray, as Barcelona claimed a joint-record group-winning margin of eleven points.
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