Fri, Oct 04, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Galatasaray shock Juve, Real destroy Copenhagen

AFP and Reuters, MADRID and TURIN, Italy

Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria, front, celebrates a goal with teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in their UEFA Champions League match against FC Copenhagen at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Roberto Mancini, in charge of Galatasaray for two days, saw his new club snatch a late equalizer to stun Juventus and leave counterpart Antonio Conte fuming after a 2-2 Champions League Group B draw on Wednesday.

Former Manchester City manager Mancini, who barely had time to meet his players before the game, watched the Turkish side take the lead when Didier Drogba took advantage of a comedy of errors in the Juve defense in the 36th minute.

Juve rarely looked like scoring until Arturo Vidal equalized from a controversial penalty in the 78th minute, before Fabio Quagliarella headed the Serie A champions in front three minutes from time.

However, the hosts relaxed a minute later and let Drogba outjump the defense and head the ball to substitute Umut Bulut, who silenced the Juventus Stadium.

Conte, visibly angry with his players, shook his head in disbelief after his normally reliable defense were caught out again, but a win would have been flattering for a side who were painfully short of inspiration in attack.

Galatasaray, beaten 6-1 at home by Real Madrid in the group opener, comfortably held a toothless Juve at bay until the dramatic finale.

Juve have two points from two games, four behind leaders Real, but are still second as Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen have one apiece.

“That’s football,” Conte told reporters. “It will be a long and uphill battle, but we mustn’t get discouraged. We must play the next Champions League matches with the knife between our teeth.”

Juventus started slowly and lost striker Mirko Vucinic in the first half to a thigh injury and he was replaced by Quagliarella.

It went badly wrong for the hosts when Leonardo Bonucci made a hash of a back pass which Drogba intercepted. ’Keeper Gianluigi Buffon then rushed prematurely out of his area, allowing the Ivorian to slip the ball through his legs.

Juve were reduced to long-range shots until Quagliarella’s legs crumpled under the softest of challenges and Vidal fired the ball into the net.

Mancini was left shaking his head by the decision and Quagliarella added insult to injury by heading in with three minutes left.

In the group’s other game, Cristiano Ronaldo’s hot form continued with a double in Real’s 4-0 rout of Copenhagen, raising his tally to 55 in the competition and 26 in his past 21 Champions League appearances.

Angel Di Maria also struck twice at the Santiago Bernabeu and set up Ronaldo’s second to boost manager Carlo Ancelotti after a weekend derby defeat to Atletico Madrid.

Ancelotti said he is not concerned about Gareth Bale’s fitness after the Welshman missed Wednesday’s game due to a thigh strain.

It is the second time in two weeks that Bale has been sidelined, as he also missed La Liga matches against Getafe and Elche.

Ancelotti hinted that he will also miss tomorrow’s game away to UD Levante, as well as Wales’ World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Belgium.

When Bale recovers, Di Maria will almost certainly lose his place in the starting lineup, but the Argentina international’s performance on Wednesday showed he is not going down without a fight.

Aside from scoring two, Di Maria also set up Ronaldo’s second with an eye-catching piece of skill.

Known as fideo (noodle), the whippet-like Di Maria has won over Real’s demanding fans and been cited by Ancelotti as an example for the rest of the squad to follow.

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