Real hold off Gala’s brave fightback

Galatasaray 3 Real Madrid 2 (Real Madrid win 3-5 on aggregate)

Real hold off Gala’s brave fightback

Already three goals up from the first leg at the Bernabeu, the tie was seemingly put to bed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s seventh-minute strike. But an Emmanuel Eboue thunderbolt after 57 minutes brought Gala back level on the night, before Wesley Sneijder put the home side ahead after 70 minutes.

Seconds later Didier Drogba reduced the aggregate deficit further and although Real sub Alvaro Arbeloa saw red late on, Ronaldo notched his second in injury time, as Madrid’s quest for a 10th European Cup continued.

“We tried our best. I am so proud of the fans. Thank you for your support,” tweeted Gala goalscorer Eboue last night. It was not to be though.

Just seven minutes in Real were on the scoresheet. Sami Khedira was allowed to cross from the right and in came Ronaldo, who got to the ball before the home defender to shoot past a helpless Muslera from three yards out.

Drogba went close to converting a Sneijder shot after 20 minutes in Gala’s first meaningful attack, before Madrid almost went two-up.

A delicious back-heel pass from Ronaldo played in Di Maria, but his angled effort was well tipped over by the Gala stopper.

Sneijder forced Diego Lopez into a save after 38 minutes in a lacklustre first-half display from the hosts.

Madrid missed another chance to go two up 11 minutes after the restart as Ronaldo scuffed his effort from eight yards. And moments later the home side were level thanks to a tremendous goal from an unlikely source. Sneijder’s hopeful cutback found a sprinting Eboue and from the edge of the box the former Arsenal man powered an unstoppable shot to the top corner.

Three minutes later Gala should have gone ahead. Drogba’s caused all sorts of problems before the ball falling to Sneijder. However with just Lopez to beat he screwed his shot wide.

Eboue’s goal had, however, galvanised the home side and with the Ataturk Stadium firmly behind their side Gala took a deserved lead.

Sneijder nutmegged Rafael Varane before side-footing into the corner.

Moments later it was 3-1 as Drogba got in front of his defender to flick a cross into the corner of the net.

Real played the final moments with 10 men after Arbeloa received a second yellow card for dissent. But there was still time for a fifth goal on the night when Ronaldo scored in injury time.

GALATASARAY: Muslera, Eboue (Elmander 80), Zan, Kaya, Riera, Altintop (Amrabat 46), Felipe Melo, Inan, Sneijder, Bulut (Sarioglu 63), Drogba.

REAL MADRID: Diego Lopez, Essien (Arbeloa 31), Pepe, Varane, Fabio Coentrao, Khedira, Modric, Di Maria, Ozil (Albiol 81), Ronaldo, Higuain (Benzema 73).

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France).

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