A magnificent performance from Gert Verheyen inspired Club Brugge KV to a 3-1 win over Galatasaray SK at the Jan Breydel stadium, lifting the Belgian champions above their opponents and into second spot in UEFA Champions League Group H.
Earning a draw
Galatasaray arrived intent on maintaining possession and earning a draw that would have kept them two points clear of their opponents, but they were undone in first-half added time. The Turkish champions looked to have cleared the danger from a corner, but Peter Van Der Heyden, a constant threat down the left, hoisted the ball back across the box to Sandy Martens, who stole in behind the advancing Turkish line, controlled well, and smashed a low shot past Faryd Mondragon.
Although the goal was fully deserved, it was harsh on Mondragon, who just moments earlier had made a splendid tip-over to deny Verheyen as he latched on to a long diagonal pass from Birger Maertens.
Yet it was Galatasaray who had begun the better, as they frustrated the Belgians. Hakan Ünsal and Elvir Baljic linked up well down the left, and it was from their partnership that Galatasaray almost took the lead on eight minutes, Hakan Ünsal's cross being nicked off the foot of Arif Erdem by a brave save from Dany Verlinden.
Two minutes later, Verlinden was called into action again, scrambling to his right to save a Fabio Pinto volley as Baljic's cross was only half-cleared. Gradually Brugge began to work their way into the game, but with Galatasaray's offside trap working well, the Turkish champions still looked the more likely to score.
The more Alin Stoica got involved, though, the more dangerous Brugge looked. The Romanian suddenly burst into life just after the half-hour, winning the ball in centre-field and evading four challenges before getting in a cross from the right. Gaëtan Englebert, though, fired his shot wide.
Galatasaray hardly seemed a threat at the beginning of the second half, but eleven minutes in, they levelled. Again it was Baljic who was the key, cutting in from the right and hitting a cross-shot beyond Verlinden for Fabio Pinto to tap the ball home.
Brugge, to their credit, refused to panic, and with substitute Bengt Sæternes full of running, they continued to look the better side. Martens struck a post with a diagonal shot from 12 metres on 71 minutes, and only Sæternes will know how he managed to scoop the rebound over the crossbar.
A minute later, though, Brugge were back in front. Verheyen closed down Emre Asik by the corner flag and, having shrugged him off the ball, cut in from the left and fired a shot into the corner via Mondragon’s shoulder.
Still Galatasaray struggled to create chances, and a flashing effort from Ergün Penbe that flew just wide on 78 minutes was as close as they came to an equaliser. Sæternes finally made the game safe in added time, as he capitalised on some fine work from Martens to flash a powerful left-foot shot beyond Mondragon into the top corner.