Champions League: Galatasaray 3 Real Madrid 2 (agg 3-5)
By Football News
Real Madrid were made to sweat in Istanbul but held on to qualify for the final four despite a 3-2 defeat.
The 5-3 aggregate win ensured the Spanish side reached the semi-finals of the Champions League but a spirited Galatasaray made sure they did not have it all their own way.
The Spanish side looked set to cruise through when Cristiano Ronaldo opened up a four-goal lead in the opening minutes, but a timid response by the visitors encouraged the Turkish giants to chase the impossible.
They almost achieved it as Emmanuel Eboue, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba scored in the second half. Ronaldo finally ended their hopes with a late goal that sealed victory.
Virtually assured of a place in the semi-finals thanks to a dominant 3-0 win in the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid nevertheless began the second leg in belligerent fashion.
Their fans did not have to wait long, as after just seven minutes they got the goal that seemed likely to put the tie beyond doubt.
An overlapping Sami Khedira streaked past on the right-hand side, and put a teasing ball into the middle.
As the Turkish backline failed to react, Ronaldo was on hand to gleefully tap home, recording his 49th Champions League goal and drawing level with the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano in the historical charts.
Galatasaray continued to fight in the second half, and were rewarded with their first goal of the tie 57 minutes in - and it was one worth waiting for.
A speculative ball across the Madrid area was not picked up by anyone, which allowed Emmanuel Eboue to meet it just on the edge of the area.
The right-back had been disappointing during the opening hour, but atoned with a stunning power shot which left Lopez no chance to save, and put Galatasaray on the board.
The hosts were now buoyant, and could have reduced the deficit to 'just' three goals if Sneijder had converted a golden chance.
The Netherlands star found himself in the right place at the back post after a low cross was deflected into his path but he fluffed a left-footed shot to save Madrid from falling behind on the night.
The midfielder was not done, however. Cutting inside his marker from deep, Sneijder went to release a bullet of a shot that put his side ahead, at least for the second leg.
The Turkish crowd, from a position of despair, could not believe their eyes. Drogba set up an unthinkable last 20 minutes with a wonderful backheel into the net, putting Galatasaray 3-1 up and leaving just two goals for the comeback.
Drogba thought he had levelled the tie before being pulled back for an offside and Madrid lived to breathe another day, Ronaldo confirming their passage with a goal in the final minute.