FC Barcelona 2-2 Galatasaray SK. Two goals from Javier Saviola spared FC Barcelona’s blushes as they fought back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Galatasaray SK.
The Argentinian forward’s contribution at the Camp Nou stadium was crucial in preserving Barcelona’s position at the top of Group B, but the Catalan side were far from impressive against aggressive and determined opponents who finished the game with nine men.
With regular forward Hasan Sas suspended, Galatasaray coach Mircea Lucescu started with Ümit Karan as a lone striker with three midfield players in behind encouraged to join him whenever possible. And these tactics paid rich dividends in the first half with Galatasaray going into the break with a two-goal lead.
Ümit nipped in front of Patrik Andersson to connect with Ergün Penbe’s clever cross to open the scoring in the fifth minute. The same player played in key part in his side’s second goal four minutes before half-time. Barcelona goalkeeper Roberto Bonano could only parry Ümit’s bullet header from Hakan Ünsal’s centre and Andres Fleurquin was on hand to convert the rebound.
Barcelona had their fair share of chances in between the two goals, the best of which fell to Rivaldo who headed over from six metres when it seemed easier to score. Coach Carles Rexach was clearly unhappy with his side’s display and made two changes for the second half, bringing on Marc Overmars and Gerard López and the pair made a dramatic impact.
Less than five minutes after the restart Gerard’s cross was helped back into the danger area by Overmars for Saviola to score from close range. This signalled an intense period of Barcelona pressure as they poured forward in search of an equaliser.
Their task was made easier in the 62nd minute when Galatasaray’s Brazilian defender Capone was dismissed for a hefty challenge on Rivaldo. Four minutes later Barcelona were level. Overmars’s cross was delightfully chested into the path of Saviola by Rivaldo and the diminutive striker made no mistake with a precise finish.
A long-range shot from Cocu and a sliced volley Overmars were the closest the hosts came to snatching a dramatic winner. The game ended on a sour note for Galatasaray with Hakan becoming their second player to see red. He was shown a second yellow card for kicking the ball away in injury time.