Galatasaray SK 0-1 FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona won 1-0 at Galatasaray SK on Tuesday night to qualify for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals as Group B winners. Luis Enrique's 58th-minute goal secured a hard-earned victory for Carles Rexach's side.
Luis Enrique strikes
The Spanish international struck from close range after Galatasaray goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon had spilled a shot by Fabio Rochemback. If the goal was against the run of play, it was not untypical of Barcelona's performance. The willing Rochemback became an extra attacker whenever the Catalans broke through Patrick Kluivert and Marc Overmars. And, in the final reckoning, the Azulgrana should have had more than one goal. Kluivert saw one shot punched over the crossbar by Mondragon, and both he and Philippe Christanval passed up the chance of a second from close range in the second half.
Against that, though, Galatasaray had their share of near misses as the game became stretched in the closing stages. Indeed, Mircea Lucescu's side created more in the last 20 minutes than in the rest of a game they dominated in terms of possession. Moments after Luis Enrique's goal, Ümit Karan took advantage of a slip by Carlos Puyol to lift a shot over goalkeeper Roberto Bonano which Francesco Coco headed off the line.
Puyol made amends soon after, getting a block on to Horia Niculescu's close-range effort from an Ümit knockdown. And Bonano had to make a fingertip save to keep out a free-kick by the lively, if ultimately disappointing, Berkant Göktan.
Stemming the flow
These incidents apart, the Turkish league leaders struggled to break down well-organised opponents despite a bright first half from Hasan Sas, their most creative influence. Indeed, Rexach's team coped well with the loss through illness of defensive lynchpin Frank de Boer. The veteran Abelardo Fernández replaced the Dutchman and his presence helped stem the early flow of Galatasaray attacks.
Twenty-eight year itch
But the reality was that Lucescu's men never looked like achieving the win they needed to reach the last eight. So it was Barcelona who took their place among Europe's elite after becoming the first Spanish side to beat Galatasaray in 28 years. An itch well worth scratching.