Wesley Sneijder struck five minutes from time to send Galatasaray AŞ through to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 as Group B runners-up, with Juventus finishing third and moving into the UEFA Europa League.
The Dutchman held his nerve to apply the finishing touch with a low shot, but credit must also go to Didier Drogba who had set him up with a brilliantly cushioned header. The game had originally been suspended last night after 32 minutes because of heavy snow in Istanbul, and resumed in similarly challenging conditions, with Galatasaray – knowing only a win would send them through – carving out the better chances.
With a round of 16 place at stake, it was a massive encounter for both clubs, but the weather added a whole new dimension to the match. A tense midfield battle was evolving when the fixture was suspended on Tuesday night, and it was to be similarly tight when play began again on Wednesday, with neither side being given time or space to create. Galatasaray saw more of the ball, but the Juventus defence seemed to have the measure of them.
Carlos Tévez scuffed a shot wide for Juventus just before the break, and it was his backheel that set up Claudio Marchisio midway through the second half, but Marchisio's low shot was held by Fernando Muslera. At the other end, the impressive Drogba surged into the area just before the hour mark but Gianluigi Buffon got down quickly to block his powerful shot.
With a heavy pitch proving to be a challenge to both sides, Galatasaray pushed on, hemming their opponents in more and more as the second half went on, but there had been few clear-cut opportunities until Sneijder sent the hardy 20,000 home fans into raptures with his goal.
Victory means Galatasaray finish second in Group B behind Real Madrid CF. Third place means a transfer to the UEFA Europa League for Juventus, and a chance of playing in the final at their home stadium on Wednesday 14 May.
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