Galatasaray SK ensured a first appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage in three years by ending the run of competition newcomers FK Mladá Boleslav in the third qualifying round, drawing 1-1 in the Czech Republic to go through 6-3 on aggregate.
The task ahead of Mladá Boleslav before the second-leg encounter was always going to be a difficult one following their 5-2 reverse in Turkey two weeks ago, and it was made even more so with star striker Marek Kulič ruled out through suspension.
Hasan Şaş breakthrough
Without Kulič they failed to threaten Galatasaray goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón until the 66th minute when Adrian Rolko put the ball in the net only for his effort to be disallowed for a foul moments earlier. Just six minutes later Mladá Boleslav conceded the goal that effectively ended their already slim hopes as Hasan Şaş got on the end of a cross by Arda Turan.
Although Galatasaray's tenth UEFA Champions League campaign was all-but secure they did have Mondragón to thank for preventing a nervy ending as he twice came to their rescue saving from Tomáš Sedláček and František Ševinský. Marián Palát finally did find the net for the home side with a deflected shot three minutes before the end, but it was too late for the Czech side who will now aim for success in the UEFA Cup.