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Galatasaray comeback claims last-16 place

SC Braga 1-2 Galatasaray AŞ
Aydın Yılmaz came off the bench to score the 78th-minute goal that took the Turkish team into the last 16 for the first time in 11 seasons.

Galatasaray comeback claims last-16 place
Galatasaray comeback claims last-16 place ©UEFA.com

Galatasaray AŞ are among the last 16 teams in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2001/02 after coming from behind to inflict a third successive home defeat on SC Braga and claim second place in Group H.

Knowing they had to match the result CFR 1907 Cluj gained at Manchester United FC, Fatih Terim's side began slowly and fell behind to Mossoró's first-half strike. The Turkish champions came back strongly after the interval, however, and drew level through Burak Yılmaz's sixth goal of the group stage – making him the tournament's top scorer – before substitute Aydın Yılmaz sent the away supporters into raptures with the winner 12 minutes from time.

Despite Braga's elimination from European competition already being confirmed, coach José Peseiro had asked his team to "show their class" and his players responded in a bright opening. Having passed a late fitness test to start, Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera misplaced an early pass that led to Alan setting up Mossoró, who scooped harmlessly over the crossbar when well positioned.

Terim predicted his players would leave "body and soul on the pitch" as they sought to guarantee their place the last 16 yet it was their opponents who were doing all the running in the first 45 minutes. Braga came close again when Albert Riera inadvertently headed Mossoró's pass into the path of Paulo Vinícius, whose poke goalwards was deflected narrowly wide by Dany Nounkeu.

The Arsenalistas did break through in the 32nd minute when Leandro Salino's left-wing cross caused problems for first Nounkeu and then Felipe Melo, who knocked it on to Mossoró. The midfielder took a touch before rifling into the corner from the edge of the area.

Needing a spark, the visitors introduced Aydın and Nordin Amrabat at the restart and the changes produced the desired effect. Within 13 minutes it was 1-1, Amrabat whipping in a cross from the left that was met by a deft Burak header into the corner. Braga rallied and twice in quick succession threatened to regain the lead through Ismaily. With CFR going in front in Manchester, however, the away side knew they had to score and their efforts were rewarded in the 78th minute.

Burak had registered all six of Galatasaray's Group H goals so far, but the most important came from another player. Braga's Elderson nodded Riera's centre to Melo and, though Quim blocked the shot, Aydın prodded in the loose ball. Burak hit the crossbar late on, yet it only briefly delayed the celebrations of Galatasaray and their jubilant fans.

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