Belhanda’s Galatasaray brighten European ambition with Goztepe win

Younes Belhanda Galatasaray vs Real Madrid substitution
Depo Photos
The Morocco international missed from the penalty spot, nevertheless, the Yellow-Reds hit three past İlhan Palut's men on Saturday night

Galatasaray continued their push for a place in Europe on Saturday, defeating Goztepe 3-1 in a Turkish Super Lig clash at the Turk Telekom Stadium.

Having suffered defeats in their last three encounters, Fatih Terim’s men returned to winning ways thanks to second-half goals from Marcelo Saracchi, Emre Akbaba and Yunus Akgun, while Stefano Napoleoni’s effort served as a mere consolation for the visitors.

In a game characterised by several misses from the hosts, it was Sofiane Feghouli who was presented with the chance to put Gala ahead in the 18th minute, however, his shot went off target.

Six minutes later, Adem Buyuk rounded goalkeeper Beto to poke into an empty net, however, a VAR replay showed that the Turkish forward had received the ball from an offside position.

Marcio Mossoro blew away Goztepe’s biggest chance in the first half as his strike went wide after finding his way in the Yellow-Reds’ goal area with a minute to go before the half-time break.

In dire need of a win, Terim’s team continued their push for a goal, and luckily for them, they were rewarded with a penalty kick after VAR ruled that Beto had fouled one of Gala’s forwards.

Sadly, Younes Belhanda missed as the Morocco international’s kick kissed the upright despite sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Ten minutes later, left-back Saracchi saved the 30-year-old’s blushes after drilling home an unstoppable long-range effort.

In the 77th minute, Napoleoni levelled matters for the visitors after profiting from a defensive mishap from the hosts to head home a Murat Paluli cross.

With nine minutes left to play, Akbaba restored the lead with a well-taken freekick from the edge of Goz Goz box before substitute Akgun sealed the win in the 90th minute.

Belhanda saw every minute of action as did Cote d’Ivoire’s Jean Seri who is on loan from Fulham, while Taylan Antalyali came on for Algeria’s Feghouli with a minute left to play.

Gabon's Mario Lemina, Nigeria's Jesse Sekidika and DR Congo defender Christian Luyindama were unused substitutes.

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With this win, Galatasaray climbed to fifth having accrued 55 points from 33 games – a point behind Besiktas who occupy the last Europa League spot.

They travel to Antalyaspor on Saturday for their last game of the season.