By Greg Robertson
Hello and welcome to Turk Telekom Arena where we have Turkey’s Galatasaray SK hosting Spain’s Real Madird CF in second leg UEFA Champions League 2013 quarter-final action. Football, at its finest.
Real Madrid were ruthless in the first leg encounter and if we’re honest, Galatasaray need a dead-set footballing miracle to come back from the 3-0 deficit. It would need to be much like a past football miracle, one of Liverpudlian proportions (see Pregame banter).
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LIVE COMMENTARY... Galatasaray 3 – 2 Real Madrid (agg. 3-5)
FULLTIME: Galatasaray wins 3-2 but Real Madrid advances to the semi-finals! ALL VIDEO UP! Thanks for coming.
90 MINS+2: Shots flying in from Galatasaray but they are hopeful... Madrid will hang on here... GOAL RONALDO! A late strike there, it coming back to Ronaldo on the angle and he just side footed it low and hard and into the bottom corner.
90 MINS: Dangerous free kick with Sneijder over it for Galatasaray - he can bend this in... what's happneed her?Arbeloa is SENT OFF for MADRID! Two yellows and he's gone, that was all very strange. Anyway, REAL MADRID DOWN TOP 10 MEN! Three added minutes.
85 MINS: Galatasaray hunting the two goals they need... I'm picking their will be a few added minutes at the end of this too.
83 MINS: Real Madrid doing all they can to evaporate the minutes. They're under some pressure and the home crowd is demanding more of their team.
80 MINS: Here's another chance for Galatasaray with a free kick 35 yards out and it's bent in for Lopez to call and claim it emphatically. The home side fire it back in and Drogba puts it into the back of the net but he was well offside.
75 MINS: Ronaldo with a great volley but he hits it too cleanly - if there is such a thing. This game has sparked into life in a big, big way.
72 MINS: GOAL GALATASARAY! Didier Drogba with a back heel flick and it rockets into the net! Game on now... game on.
71 MINS: GOAL GALATASARAY! Well constructed goal... Sneijder gets the ball and his first ball takes it by Varane, then he drills it low and hard past Lopez for his side to lead 2-1 on the night.
69 MINS: Geat ball in what a touch by Di Maria who glances it away for a corner. Sneijder was lurking at the back post
66 MINS: Great ball in is headed high and then falls to Drogba who is under plenty of pressure and doesn't get the clean strike.
61 MINS: Sneijder somehow misses. He had the goal at his mercy and I have no idea how he missed. Just a total miss. Galatasaray on the up.
57 MINS: GOAL GALATASARAY! it's a thunderbolt from Eboue... Emmanuel strike it first time and it rocked into the top corner. Sneijder had laid the ball off.
55 MINS: Madrid just allowing Galatasaray to play a bit but it's all pretty comfortable for Real Madrid. It's like a training ground routine. Real getting set to make more changes. Ronaldo with a direct run before cutting it off on his outside to Ozil. Then the visiting side spreads it left, just playing it about... OHHH big miss from Ronaldo. Di Maria was found out on the right and then played it to Ronaldo's feet... he gets it trapped and it goes wide.
52 MINS: The match drifting a bit... Kheidira down grabbing at a kidney after being bundled over He hit the turf face-first after being upended... it was a heavy fall.
48 MINS: Ohhh the ungamely challenges are continuing in the middle and there may be a bit of frustration creeping into the Galatasaray play. Inan cracks one from distance - the captain a long way off when given a lot of room and time 10 yards outside the penalty area.
46 MINS: Galatasaray makes a halftime change and it's Altintop off and Ambrabat on. Lopez gets lucky with the whistle as the keeper gets some protection from the ref when Drogba challenges for a high ball./p>
HALFTIME: Ronaldo scored to give Real Madrid a 0-1 lead.
45 MINS: Galatasaray and Real Madrid both having opportunities to fire a through ball into the mix... and both suffered from the speed of the ball off the pitch. It hits, it's gone... Eboue gets a booking for a challenge that knocked Ronaldo off his stride. Hardly worth yellow. TWO ADDED MINUTES.
41 MINS: Galatasaray's Umut Bulut twists, turns and gets a shot on it despite little room to work it. The strike was always rising and it posed no issues for Lopez.
39 MINS: Sneijder gets the shot away amidst a white curtain closing around him. It was a short corner, Sneijder possibly able to strike it first time but takes a touch and then mis-times his connection to the ball a little, still, causing Lopez top go to ground to his right to make the save.
36 MINS: An awareness by Muslera to 'get there' first some 28 yards from the safety of his line cuts the chances of Di Maria to zilch as he gets a thick right boot to the ball to half clear. That was good from the Galatasaray keeper, with Madrid sharp in the lead up and quick to see the chance to slide Di Maria through.
33 MINS: Sneijder crumbles under the pressure of Arbeloa on his make and that gives Galatasaray a real chance 25 yards out and a four-man wall in front of them. We're in Sneijder territory right here. Sneijder runs over it and Inan takes it instead, clipping the top of the wall and off for a corner. Nothing comes of it.
30 MINS: Essien down clutching at a thigh. He’s replaced by Arbeloa.
28 MINS: Galatasaray aren't without their ventures forward but that last ball is what they're struggling with. Drogba involved as they again string, three, four, five passes together up front to work the ball into a good position but the last ball in is the undoing again.
25 MINS: Oh what play from Ronaldo! That was sublime. A little back heel flick from Ronaldo put Di Maria on goal with just Muslera to beat, the keeper getting a touch. Great save, magnificent football from Real Madrid.
22 MINS: Coentrao is fouled and again Galatasaray is unlucky as Melo didn't do a great deal wrong. A deep cross to no one in particular ends Madrid's raid.
20 MINS: Drogba dribbling and it's the second time he's had the ball in the danger area and had the ball trapped under his feet, struggling to dig it out while he's on the run. A late free kick gets the bee-geezies from the home crowd but Madrid have no interest in delivering it into the penalty area and instead play short and look to keep the ball for a while. Booking for Sneijder who has talked himself into a book after not agreeing with the ref.
16 MINS: Mele with a good ball that Sneijder now just can't reach. It would have been beautifully weighted but not on this surface, the ball hits it and it takes off like Usain Bolt on the gun.
14 MINS: Galatasaray with their best period of possession but Rel Madrid are defending in numbers and the holes aren't there yet. Didier Drogba getting more and ore involved.... ohhh just out of Drogba's range. Sneijder bent in a fizzer that was cleared by Madrid's defence but there wasn't much in that as Drogba stretched.
11 MINS: It's been all real Madrid. Any thoughts of just playing this one out are out the window as Essien scoots down the right flank, looks up and sees three white shirts in the middle. Of which, Essien can't pick out any, too deep.
7 MINS: GOAL REAL MADRID! RONALDO SCORES. Ozil slips Khedira through and he gets to the byline before whipping it square, Ronaldo getting in front of his marker to bang it home from close range.
6 MINS: The surface seems to very slick... heavily watered in the lead up as the ball skips over it again. Ronaldo on the ball and the whistles are deafening. His work leads to a corner. Muslera solid with the punch away.
4 MINS: Ohhh close, Ronaldo brilliant and there's an effort on goal that is just wide. Muslera came and was caught out in no man's land once he'd partially cleared it. Madrid fired back in but defender bodies had got between the ball and the goal to save Muslera the red face.
2 MINS: Spain's Real Madrid in white and the Turks in red. Galatasaray dicing with death when playing it close and tight in their defensive third. They do manage to work the ball forward and Sneidjer lets loose from a mile out and Lopez in the Madrid goal just eyes it as it passes.
Pepe and Modric will be enjoying being back in the side but I'm sure they'd rather be first picks rather than yellow card deputies. Early goal for Galatasaray will change this one - the game needs it.
This stadium doesn't hold the fear it once did, but you sure can see how it was once. Champions League anthem playing - last time in 2013 for Galatasaray? Likely.>/p>
What an atmosphere at Turk Telekom. The teams are in the tunnel - rather dark tunnel I might add - great to see the arena's management saving the planet and turning off light bulbs. Enough of that, here they come to screams, whistles, jaunts and jibes.
Kick off is at quarter to the hour and I think we may just see goals galore here today in Instanbul - Galatasaray needs them, Real Madrid just likes to score them.
Your teams are in... (see below)
Kick off is not far away so in the meantime watch highlights of the first leg match.
Galatasaray: Muslera, Gokhan Zan, Semin Kaya, Eboue, Altintop, Selcuk Inan, Melo, Riera, Sneijder, Umut Bulut, Drogba.
Real Madrid: Lopez, Essien, Pepe, Varane, Coentrao, Khedira, Modric, Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo, Higuain
Cristiano Ronaldo aims to polish off Galatasaray and ease Real Madrid into the Champions League semifinals, holding a commanding 3-0 advantage heading into today’s meeting in Istanbul.
Ronaldo leads Europe's top-tier competition with nine goals in nine outings. And with Galatasaray needing to score early and often, the prolific Portugal forward will likely enjoy ample chances to add to his tally.
"If we go with the ambition to score a goal, we will go through fine," he said.
Ronaldo opened last week's first leg with a delicate chip shot, and he needed just 45 minutes on Saturday to net his 46th goal this season in all competitions and set up another in Madrid's 5-1 rout of Levante in the Spanish league.
The last time Madrid lost by three goals or more in the Champions League was in 2008-09, when it fell 4-0 at Liverpool. Barring a similar upset by the hosts, nine-time champion Madrid is on course to reach its 24th semifinal.
"After our first meeting I told my players that a team who won the first match 3-0 may lose the second by the same result," said Madrid coach Jose Mourinho. "I said anything is possible and we must be very careful against Galatasaray. We have worked on the different defensive formations of Galatasaray.
"In the first game, they started the match with a four-man defence and switched to three in the second half. We worked on measures against both styles."
Madrid will be without midfielder Xabi Alonso and centre back Sergio Ramos, who will be serving a one-match suspension for accumulation of yellow cards. Backup playmaker Kaka was left out of the squad for health reasons, and Pepe is in doubt with a pulled hamstring.
Young France defender Raphael Varane will likely replace Ramos, and Mourinho said Raul Albiol will play if Pepe isn't fit, while Alonso's absence could be filled by Luka Modric.
Mourinho has designated Diego Lopez as his starting goalkeeper, meaning Spain captain Iker Casillas will watch from the dugout for the second straight match since recovering from a broken hand.
Galatasaray will be without suspended striker Burak Yilmaz and his team-high eight goals in the tournament. Turkish leaders' hopes will largely rest on former Mourinho charges Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder.
Coach Fatih Terim's attack-minded game plan backfired for Galatasaray in the first game, as Madrid's scoring trio of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Gonzalo Higuain all took full advantage of its exposed defence.
Terim said his team would be more focused on having a good showing than pulling off an epic comeback.
"Anything is possible in football, but when you are playing against Real Madrid things are not so easy," said Terim. "Galatasaray will try everything. I am sure about the ambition and enthusiasm of my players. We have prepared ourselves for any kind of result.
"We will play an entertaining game for our fans. The result will not be important."