SK Sturm Graz held off a concerted second-half fightback from Galatasaray AŞ as they got off the mark in Group F.
Defeated at home by FC Dinamo 1948 Bucureşti on UEFA Europa League Matchday 1, Sturm surprisingly forged ahead through Daniel Beichler on the stroke of half-time. Milan Baroš had already been denied more than once when he levelled in the 63rd minute, sparking concerted Galatasaray pressure but the visitors held on.
Galatasaray started the brighter and Elano had an effort blocked by defender Gordon Schildenfeld. Sturm grew stronger as the half went on and Haris Bukva turned a Jakob Jantscher corner just wide. That pair were proving a handful and when Leo Franco could only parry a Jantscher drive, Hakan Balta did well to beat Bukva to the rebound.
Arda Turan had a goal disallowed late in the half, sparking a Galatasaray flurry as Baroš fired wide then had an effort brilliantly turned over by Sturm goalkeeper Christian Gratzei. That proved a vital moment as just before the interval Jantscher strode down the left and centred for the in-form Beichler to strike past Franco.
Baroš so nearly equalised on 59 minutes when the ball bounced for him just in front of goal but somehow Gratzei diverted the shot just enough to hit the crossbar. Beichler nearly exploited the let-off again but Franco dived to save. Soon play was at the other end and Baroš was sent clear by Elano, rounded Gratzei, and equalised.
Sturm responded well and Manuel Weber was denied by Franco while at the other end Arda slipped through Sabri Sarıoğlu, whose angled effort rebounded off the bar. Galatasaray kept pushing, but Franco had to make another vital save from Jantscher as his side moved one point clear at the top of Group F.
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