Galatasaray beats Lokomotiv on return to Champions League
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 19, 2018 08:31 AM
Galatasaray's forward Garry Rodrigues celebrates after scoring against Lokomotiv Moscow during the Champions League Group D soccer match between Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow in Istanbul, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo)
ISTANBUL (AP) — Galatasaray returned to the Champions League in style on Tuesday, beating Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0.
After spending two seasons outside Europe's premier club competition, the Turkish champion beat its Russian counterpart with high-tempo tactics and swift counterattacks in the Group D game.
Garry Rodrigues gave Galatasaray the lead in the ninth minute with a low hard shot from just outside the penalty area. In a stadium famously hostile to visiting teams, with the crowd roaring, Lokomotiv 'keeper Guilherme got a hand to the ball, but couldn't stop it.
Eren Derdiyok doubled Galatasaray's lead in the 67th when he curled a free kick around the Lokomotiv wall. Only Guilherme's outstretched hand stopped Rodrigues making it 3-0 on a breakaway in the 75th.
Galatasaray midfielder Badou Ndiaye was sent off in the 87th after earning a second yellow card for a late tackle on Anton Miranchuk.
Selcuk Inan scored Galatasaray's third from the penalty spot in stoppage time after Guilherme brought down Emre Akbaba on a counterattack. It was Galatasaray's first home win over a Russian club, and its first Champions League victory since beating Benfica in October 2015.
Lokomotiv is back in the Champions League group stage for the first time in 15 seasons. In the other Group D game, Porto and Schalke drew 1-1.
"We were probably too nervous in the beginning," Lokomotiv left back Bryan Idowu said. "Their goals came out of nowhere. We managed to take the game under our control for some time but it didn't last long."
There were some positives for the Railwaymen, especially in the first half. Lokomotiv pressed Galatasaray high up the field and especially in the first half forced errors to exploit with its smart set-piece routines. Lokomotiv's costliest summer signing, forward Fyodor Smolov, was suspended for the game.
The Russian team came closest in the 20th when Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera needed lightning reactions to keep out Jefferson Farfan's header off a cross from Alexei Miranchuk, who also tested Muslera with a hard shot from distance in the 50th.