Galatasaray 0-1 Real Madrid: Five players who impressed | UEFA Champions League 2019/20
Galatasaray hosted Real Madrid at the Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul where the Group A Champions League tie saw Madrid win the game by a slim margin of one goal. While there were no real expectations for the Turkish giants to cause an upset, the Lions will still feel frustrated as this result puts them at the bottom of Group A.
Zinedine Zidane had a number of issues to resolve in getting his starting XI prepared for the match, but he will be glad that his choices have handed Los Blancos their first win of the Champions League this season.
With right-wing forwards Gareth Bale and Lucas Vasquez both out due to injury, Zizou had to bring Rodrygo into the starting XI. His decision not to start Luka Jovic is perhaps due to the striker's poor form as Jovic is yet to score for Madrid this season. Isco and James Rodriguez were also left on the bench for this fixture, with Rodriguez making a short 20-minute appearance.
The back four, however, provided no surprises as Sergio Ramos took his place in the centre of the defence with Raphael Varane, while Marcelo and Dani Carvajal sat in their usual maurauding positions.
Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim was also in a fix when choosing his starting XI. While he had more players to pick from, unlike Zidane, a number of key Galatasaray players were very unfit ahead of the game. Players like Radamel Falcao and Sofiane Feghouli had worrying fitness levels, and while Feghouli started the game from the bench, Falcao was left out entirely, with Florin Andone taking his place once more.
The game began in earnest as Galatasaray picked up important chances in the first ten minutes. However, Thibaut Courtois, who hasn't been in top form recently, saved a sloppy Madrid defence by saving two certain goals. Sloppy defending, ironically, cost Galatasaray the game as a poor back pass was picked up by Eden Hazard. The former Chelsea man played a quick one-two with Karim Benzema and then squared the ball for Toni Kroos to curl into the top-right corner of the net. The goal had a hint of good fortune to it, thanks to a deflection, but it was all Madrid needed to surge into second position in the group.
Chances came along for both sides throughout the rest of the game, but both goalkeepers were on their toes and kept every shot away from their posts, save Kroos' goal. Madrid had many more chances than the home side, but quite a few were from beyond the 18-yard-box and never amounted to much. Courtois may have saved his team's neck a few times, but the Madrid defence were rarely troubled, save those moments of sloppiness. Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, on the other hand, made quite a number of saves in a bid to keep his team in the game after Kroos' goal, but his attacking teammates could not find the equalizer.
Both sides were unable to choose their preferred starting XI, especially for such an important fixture, but Madrid will be glad that luck was on their side. They were expected to win this game, especially after their inability to beat 10-man Club Brugge in the last matchday.
Without further ado, let's take a look at five players who impressed during the clash.
#5 Florin Andone was the focal point of attack for Galatasaray
The 26-year-old striker had a wonderful game that was marred by Galatasaray's loss, as well as their current position at the bottom of Group A. While he had a number of chances fly beyond the goalpost, two important shots on target were well taken but saved by Courtois, who was at hand to prevent him from driving his team forward.
He was clearly the focal point of Galatasaray's attack, evident from this seven shots at goal. This was more shots from a single player than any other player on the field. Aside from his efforts in front of goal, he managed to win three aerial challenges while searching for chances to add to the scoreline.
Terim will be glad with Andone's involvement, particularly because he has stepped up quite well to fill the shoes of Falcao who was unavailable for the game.