Chelsea vs Galatasaray: Takeaways from the match

Created on Feb. 26, 2014 7:06 PM EST

Galatasaray managed to put themselves on equal terms with a 1-1 draw against Chelsea FC in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League match after center back Aurelian Chedjou volleyed in an equalizer off of Wesley Sneijder’s corner. The Turkish side had trouble in the first half as Chelsea overwhelmed their midfield for the first 31 minutes. Nine minutes into the match, Cesar Azpilicueta found space to move down the wing and fed a low cross to Fernando Torres for the first goal. After 31 minutes, Galatasaray manager Roberto Mancini saw enough and switched out winger Izek Hajrovic for another midfielder, Yekta Kurtuluş, to control the center of the pitch. The Aslan gained control of the game and played in fine form until the end. Here are the takeaway from the match.

Risk well taken
Mancini made a shocking switch in the 31st minute, taking Izek Hajrovic off the field and putting in Yekta Kurtuluş. Mancini’s move was risky since he should have saved that substitution for a fresh leg or injured player, but it paid off as the Aslan managed to find more stability in their midfield and create opportunities for a shot. The Cim Bom managed to dominate Chelsea in possession, holding the ball a shocking 58% of the time.

Kurtuluş is Turkish for “Salvation”
Galatasaray was getting dominated in the possession game in the first half that saw Felipe Melo chase down dribblers despite being outnumbered by the number of players moving forward. With Hajrovic already proven to be ineffective on the offensive end, Yekta Kurtuluş came in to solve the issue. Applaud Mancini for making the substitution all you want, I would have considered naming Kurtuluş Man of the Match for his hard work and killing Chelsea’s momentum.

Positive result for both sides
Chelsea FC is relieved to come away from Istanbul with a draw despite having just played a match two days ago. It definitely takes a lot of pressure off their back when they play the second leg at their home. Galatasaray on the other hand can look at the draw as a morale booster and devise a strategy to shock the Blue Devils at their home ground. With the Turkish Super Lig near impossible to reach, the Aslan might as well put all their chips in making a run for the Champions League title.

Hakan Balta looked lost
Usually not a member of the starting eleven, Turkish International Hakan Balta kept the fans biting their nails whenever Chelsea unleashed a counter-attack. Once Semih Kaya came in stability was restored.  

Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel
Emmanuel Eboue is far from the savior Galatasaray needs at the right back position. Age has definitely caught up to him and Eboue’s ineffectiveness in attack has killed the momentum of some possessions. It doesn’t help the fact that he was out of position when Chelsea scored their first and only goal. It also doesn’t help the Lion’s defense when left back Alex Telles plays with the same kind of carelessness too.

Unable to Move Forward
Despite having a talented midfield and blessed by the presence of Eden Hazard, Chelsea squandered some quality build up at the net due to the limited Fernando Torres. The rest of their striking platoon, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba, do not provide a significant upgrade.  Aside from John Terry’s gaf on Wesley Sneijder’s corner, the offense inability to finish is at fault for the draw. The team had the potential to put away the Aslan, but they didn’t.  Should Chelsea keep playing as they did and hope that the sole striker up top manages to score or adjust their style to the striker’s liking?

A Stable Back line
If there’s a finger to point for the draw, it’s not the Chelsea defense. Despite the fact that John Terry let Aurelian Chedjou slip a volley into the net, the back line managed to contain Galatasaray’s attempts at goal with comfortable ease. Maybe Burak Yilmaz’s inability to put a finishing touch on his teammate’s delivery is something to be thankful for as well.

A Bit too Haphazard
Hazard proved to be one of the best wingers in the Barclays Premier League by his ability to move past defenders with the ball. However, in tonight’s match Hazard played a bit too cautiously. When facing the likes of Eboue or Chedjou, Hazard shouldn’t hesitate to beat them off the dribble and find space in the box to shoot and feed an easy outlet to a runner. In other words, Eden Hazards needs to realize he’s Eden Hazard when playing against a team like Galatasaray.

Welcome to Hell
It’s been a while since I’ve watched a Turkish football match on television and heard the deafening symphony of whistles and screams from the passionate Galatasaray fans. I doubt the Chelsea players were able to hear anything on the pitch.

Best Postgame quote:
"Didier Drogba is still Didier flippin Drogba." - Trevor Pryce (Crowd Goes Wild)
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