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Sarp stays sharp for Galatasaray

Galatasaray AŞ 1-0 Panathinaikos FC
Mustafa Sarp pressured Gilberto into putting through his own net as Frank Rijkaard's side sealed last-32 seeding as group winners.

Sarp stays sharp for Galatasaray
Sarp stays sharp for Galatasaray ©UEFA.com

Mustafa Sarp prompted Gilberto to put through his own net as Galatasaray AŞ completed a UEFA Europa League double over Panathinaikos FC and guaranteed themselves a seeded place in the round of 32 draw as Group F winners.

Sarp strike
Already sure of a place in the next round going into Matchday 5, Frank Rijkaard's side recovered from having an early strike ruled out for offside as Sarp made the breakthrough early in the second half. That goal proved to be enough for the coach to overcome his old FC Barcelona assistant Henk ten Cate for a second time, with the Istanbul side having beaten Panathinaikos 3-1 in Athens on Matchday 1.

Midfield action
With both sides wrestling for control, the first half was dominated by midfield exchanges, though the home crowd at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium were frustrated as Sarp found the net in the opening minutes only for his effort to be chalked off. Home goalkeeper Leo Franco later had to be alert to keep a Djibril Cissé effort out, while Panathinaikos's Alexandros Tzorvas produced a fine save to deny Harry Kewell two minutes before the interval.

Home breakthrough
Five minutes after the break, Galatasaray took the lead. Arda Turan's slick ball from the right found Mehmet Topal who headed the ball down for Sarp. Facing a pack of Panathinaikos defenders, the 29-year-old managed to thread a shot through defender Josu Sarriegi's legs which was then deflected into the net off the unfortunate Gilberto. Galatasaray looked to add to their lead, and Shabani Nonda and substitute Kader Keita passed up further chances, though the Greens created some late pressure, with Leo Franco twice called upon to keep out free-kicks by Nikos Spiropoulos.