Kovacevic kick-starts Real

Galatasaray SK 1-2 Real Sociedad de Fútbol Darko Kovacevic sets Real on winning way.

An early strike from Darko Kovacevic put Real Sociedad de Fútbol into a lead they never relinquished against Galatasaray SK when the sides met in UEFA Champions League Group D.

Plenty created
Defeat was cruel for ten-man Galatasaray who enjoyed much of the possession and created plenty of chances. Real's second goal, scored by Xabi Alonso on 72 minutes, finished off the Turkish side, who had Hasan Sas sent off eight minutes from time.

Quieter atmosphere
Playing for the first time in Turkey, Real benefited from a quieter atmosphere than teams have come to expect as the game took place in the Atatürk Olympic stadium while Galatasaray’s own stadium undergoes refurbishment. Those Turkish fans who had travelled to see their team were stunned when Real grabbed the early lead.

First touch
Former Besiktas JK striker Nihat Kahveci charged down the left wing and rounded Galatasaray's Columbian goalkeeper Faryd Móndragon. He then squared the ball across the goal to the oncoming Kovacevic and the striker's first touch of the game was a deft flick into the right-hand corner of the net.

Galatasaray galvanised
The goal galvanised Galatasaray and they began to threaten Sander Westerveld's goal. The greatest danger came from the forward bursts of the Brazilian right-back César Prates. His speed embarrassed Mikel Aranburu more than once and the third time he was shown the back of Prates' heels, he kicked out and was cautioned for his troubles.

Prates sublime
And it was not just speed that Prates offered. His curling free-kick forced the first of many saves from Westerveld, and his corners provided Hasan Sas and Hakan Sükür with plenty of service - but they struggled to make the most of the opportunities.

Batista impact
When Prates limped off injured, João Batista took his place and his presence was felt immediately, as he contrived to get in the way of a goalbound shot from Hasan Sas.

Waves of attack
Real were unable to get into the game and were forced to soak up waves of attack form the home side. But they were dangerous on the break with Nihat in his groove and Kovacevic the perfect foil for his runs. Bülent Korkmaz and Frank de Boer had to snuff out the danger on more than one occasion.

Failure impossible
However, for all their possession Galatasaray struggled to convert, until finally Hakan Sükür found some space between the centre-halves. This time he could not fail to score - and from that point on it seemed luck would turn in the Turkish side's favour. However, when Xabi Alonso scored for Real from one of their rare chances, it looked like being the visitors' day.

Kind bounce
Xabi Alonso jumped high to meet Valeri Karpin's cross and the ball hit the underside of the bar, before bouncing behind the line. Then came Hasan Sas's moment of petulance, after being tripped by two players he lunged at Real substitute Bittor Alziki and bundled him to the ground. The red card was the referee's only option as the game quickly slipped from Galatasaray's grasp.