Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Liverpool failed in Istanbul

The Champions League night saw Liverpool Football Club make an unsuccessful return to Istanbul as they lost 3-2 to Galatasaray despite two goals from veteran frontman Robbie Fowler.

Spanish coach Rafa Benitez opted to rest a number of first-team regulars, with the Reds already safely through to the knockout stages of the competition.

As we saw, the opening minutes of the clash saw little action in either goalmouth, with neither side having much to play for.

But the encounter burst into life after 22 minutes as Craig Bellamy found space down the left and his ball into the area was bundled home from close range by Fowler.

And within two minutes it was 1-1 as Xabi Alonso's poor pass was intercepted by Necati Ates, who raced clear to beat Jerzy Dudek with a low shot.

It's important to see that three minutes later Gala were 2-1 in front as a corner from the right was only half-cleared and Okan Buruk volleyed home superbly from 25 yards out with his right foot.

The home team almost got a third right on half-time as Dudek blocked Sabri's shot with his legs after some sloppy play in defence.

Furthermore, Gala went close again eight minutes into the second half as Ergun's free-kick in from the left was headed against the far post by Umit Karan, with Dudek well beaten.

And eleven minutes from time it was 3-1 to the home side as substitute Mehmet Guvan got clear on the right and his cutback into the area gave fellow replacement Sasa Ilic an easy finish.

That was game over for Liverpool, but they at least kept fighting until the final minute, when Jermaine Pennant found space on the right flank and his stand-up cross was headed home at the far post by Fowler.

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