Cluj 1-3 Galatasaray: Burak treble claims crucial first win for Turkish champions
The Super Lig giants produced a classy display in Romania to keep their hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League alive
By Harry Slavin
The Turkish giants had frontman Burak Yilmaz to thank for their victory as he completing a perfect hat-trick, nodding home his first before adding a second and third with his right and left foot respectively.
As ever, Cluj started brightly on their home patch and should have been ahead within four minutes when a raking long ball caught out Cris and Emmanuel Eboue in the visitors defence.
Pantelis Kapetanos capitalised and went through on goal but the attacker could only find the side netting after rounding Fernando Muslera in the Galatasaray goal.
Fatih Terim’s side responded by mounting their first meaningful attack and they too squandered a gilt-edged opportunity when Emre Colak could only poke wide past an on- rushing Mario Felgueiras after latching on to Burak's flick-on.
Galatasaray fed off the confidence instilled by their early opportunity and began to take a hold of the game, with wide man Emre looking especially dangerous with the ball at his feet.
The confidence almost led to complacency at the back however as Cris’s back-pass was almost seized upon by Kapetanos and only quick reactions of Muslera denied Cluj the easiest of opportunities.
The defensive lapse had been forgotten moments later however as Cluj conceded the opening goal for the first time at Dr. Constantin Radulescu Stadium thanks to a moment of areal genius from Burak.
The ball was worked to the right by Galatasaray and Hamit Altintop had the space to whip in a ball with pace which Burak met with his head to steer into the far corner from almost the edge of the area.
The visitors continued to dominate possession, but sloppy play threatened their dominance and Alberto Riera was another guilty party as his misplaced pass led to a fantastic chance for Modou Sougou to draw his side level.
Luckily for the Spaniard the attacker could only find the side netting on this occasion, steering wide when the ball eventually broke to him in the area.
The first half drew to a close with a number of clumsy challenges and a ill-timed challenge from Laszlo Sepsi on Hamit saw the Romanian come off worse and he had to make way for Rafael Bastos just before the break.
Bastos’ introduction, and the arrival of Sasa Bjelanovic at half time, seemed to renew Cluj’s attacking threat and the home side started the first half by grabbing a well-worked equaliser.
Bastos drove from midfield and carved open the Galatasaray defence with a cutting through ball which Sougou managed to latch onto and fire past Muslera via the post.
Despite clawing their way back to level terms, the home side failed to create a serious chance to take the lead and parity was short-lived as Galatasaray restored their advantage with their next noteworthy foray forward.
Ivo Pinto got caught in possession at right-back by Burak and when the defence failed to clear fully, Hamit slipped his way past Cadu and once again provided the cross for the former Trabzonspor striker to grab his second of the evening, adjusting well to lash home from six yards.
Burak was presented with a glorious chance to complete his hat-trick a few moments later but the Turkey forward was thwarted by Felgueiras as he got down well to stop Burak’s shot after Umut had unselfishly squared to his strike partner.
Burak however was not to be denied and he completed the perfect hat-trick as he finished off a devastating counter-attack by the visitors. Emre brought the ball out of defence and when the ball was eventually played through to the 27-year-old, the striker turned the last defender inside out before coolly slotting home past the Cluj keeper.
The win reignites Galatasaray’s Champions League campaign and they are now back in with a shout of getting out of Group H as they leap-frog Cluj in the race for second spot behind Manchester United.
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