Real Madrid beat Galatasaray thanks to Kroos and Courtois
Galatasaray vs Real Madrid: match report; as it happened
Real Madrid got their Champions League campaign back on track on Tuesday night, beating Galatasaray in Istanbul thanks to a lone goal by Toni Kroos that lifted them off the bottom of Group A.
The German international was back in Zinedine Zidane’s starting XI after missing last weekend’s defeat to Mallorca through injury and only took 18 minutes to open the scoring, latching onto a well worked pass by Eden Hazard to drive the ball into the top right corner from 16 yards with the help of the boot of a Galatasaray defender.
Minutes earlier, Thibaut Courtois had made two fantastic saves to keep out Galatasaray striker Florin Andone on both occasions, which proved to be the home side’s best chances of the night.
With a staggering 27 attempts on goal, Los Blancos made chance after chance, but could not find the second goal to kill off the game, which will come as somewhat of a concern to their French coach. Eden Hazard, who had plenty of involvement and set up the aforementioned Kroos goal, will perhaps dwell on some of the chances he had to put the game past the home side, particularly one open-goal opportunity he managed to smash against the cross bar in the second half.
Nonetheless, Madrid were able to hang on with a one-goal lead and take the vital three points to put themselves second in Group A with four points after three games (1L, 1D, 1W). However they remain five points behind leaders PSG, who maintained their 100-percent record after their 5-0 drubbing of Club Brugge at home.
Peep, peep, peep!!! All over. Madrid have secured a vital three points to keep their last-16 hopes alive. Galatasaray, meanwhile, are now effectively out of running for the knockout stages.
Courtois now goes in the book for time wasting.
Yellow for Kroos for a late challenge on Mor. Four minutes added on here.
Weak effort from Vinicius, who found himself in a decent shooting position just right of the six yard area. He gets no power into his side-footed strike with his right boot and it's easily collected by Muslera. Benzema yet again setting up a team mate.
Galatasaray were almost in there, but Marcelo sticks out a leg to deny Nzonzi the the chance to strike from 8 yards out.
Jovic on for Rodrygo as Zidane makes his final change.
Two changes for Madrid: Hazard makes way for Vinicius; James comes on Valverde, who has been very quiet tonight. Hazard has been active in front of goal, but lacked that killer final touch. He'll be disappointed with himself, although he does go down for the assist for Kroos' goal.
Change for Galatasaray: Seri makes way for Mor. Still no changes made by Zidane.
Chance Madrid! Benzema plays Marcelo in down the left. The Brazilian squares the ball back to Benzema, who hits it first time towards the near post. But Muslera gets low to collect.
Madrid comfortably in control here, but they really need that second goal to put their minds more at ease. Galatasaray look more than capable of nicking a cheeky equaliser against the run of play.
Yellow card for Nzonzi for a trailing leg on Casemiro inside Madrid's third.
Hazard smashes the crossbar after doing all the hardwork! Benzema plays a clever little ball to put him one on one with Muslera, whom he rounds with ease to leave himself with an open goal. But the Belgian winger hits the bar when it would have been easier to score. He'll be kicking himself!
One Galatasaray player who knows all about Madrid is former Atléti striker Radamel Falcao. However the Colombian is currently sidelined through injury. How much the home side could do with him on the field right now.
Hazard shoots inside the box but it's straight at the keeper. Benzema again involved with the assist for the Belgian, who should have done more to trouble Muslera.
Kroos and Benzema link up well, working the German into a scoring position in the box. But he's bundled over by the Galatasaray defenders before he can get a shot off.
Chance Madrid! Kroos plays a beautiful through ball to release Benzema. The Frenchman fends off the big centre back Luyindama before launching a shot at Muslera, which the keeper bundles out for a corner.
A prolonged period of Galatasaray possession ends with the ball in the hands of Courtois - the home side unable to work anything noteworthy.
Galatasaray controlling possession in these opening minutes. Their central defender Luyindama Nekadio, by the way, wouldn't look out of place at the Rugby World Cup. He's a big lad.
Galatasaray have made one change: midfielder Donk has made way for Algeria's Feghouli.
Peep! Second half underway!
If there is one Galatasaray player that Real Madrid don't want to spoil their night it's full back Mariano. Just think of the headlines! The other Mariano, by the way, didn't make the Madrid squad for this trip to Istanbul.
Peep, peep!! Half-time. Both sides have had their fair share of chances. Madrid are ahead but the scoreboard could easily read 1-1 had it not been for three fantastic saves from almost point-blank range by Courtois. After all the negative press he's gotten of late, he's been excellent tonight. So too has Benzema. Meanwhile for Galatasaray: Babel has looked bright down the left flank, while Anodone, who had those three shooting opportunities, has looked threatening throughout. Zidane will no doubt be talking about how to contain those two in his half time team talk.
Benzema works himself into a shooting position outside the box. He tries to curl the ball into the top corner with the side of his foot but he's dragged it well wide of the right upright.
Great save again from Courtois to deny Andone's first time strike from 12 yards out. Babel did brilliantly to beat Valverde down the left flank and then pick out his team mate with a pin-point pass.
Hazard goes tumbling after a challenge by Galatasaray central defender Luyindama Nekadio. He's a big unit! He also flattened Ramos a few minutes ago as the two battled in the air from a Madrid set piece.
Chance for Galatasaray, but the ball's gone loose in the box and Marcelo is on hand to clear the danger.
Last time Madrid played here, back in 2013, they won 6-1. Can you guess who got a hat-trick? Clue: his current side are currently losing 1-0 to Lokomotiv Moscow at home.
Hazard twists, turns and does well to carve himself out a shooting opportunity on the left side of the box, but he's hit it straight at the keeper.
Benzema has been very lively so far. This time he takes the sweetest of touches to set up Rodrygo, but the young Brazilian has dragged his shot well wide of the far post.
Hazard will go down for the assist: great vision from the Belgian winger in the box to pick out the on-rushing and unmarked Kroos, who hits the ball first time from 15 yards. The ball takes a rather significant deflection off a Galatasaray defender and ends up in the top corner. 1-0 Madrid!
15 minutes gone here and both sides have had their fair share of chances at this point, with Galatasaray coming closest on two occassions, only to be denied by Courtois' heroics.
Chance Mardrid! Benzema draws the last defender and pushes the ball into the path of the unmarked Rodrygo on the right, who launches a first-time strike that fails to trouble Muslera in goal.
Again Courtois does brilliantly to deny Andone! This time the Romanian gets on the end of a free kick and launches a first time shot towards the left corner from eight yards out. But Courtois stretches and saves. Two fanstastic stops from the Belgian keeper in quick succession.
What a save from Courtois to deny Andone! The Galatasaray striker found himself one on one with the keeper, who did well to stop an almost-certain goal.
Benzema drops deep to pick up the ball and comes rushing towards the Galatasaray box. He squares a pass to Hazard, who tries a one-two, but only puts the ball as far as two Galatasaray defenders. That's poor again from the Belgium, whose back in the team after sitting out the Mallorca game at the weekend, due to the birth of his fourth child.
Casemiro lets one fly! But it's over the bar. Good work from Rodrgyo to dispossess the Galatasaray defender and tee up his compatriot.
Frantic start here! Madrid have a free kick after a foul on Hazard by Mariano (not that Mariano). They take it short and try to build something down the left, but Marcelo's cross is to nobody.
Hazard, umarked and 8 yards out, has an immediate chance to score and he's absolutely fluffed the opportunity after Madrid quickly dispossesed the hosts from the kick off.
Peeep!!! Galatasaray get the game underway.
And the teams are out and going through the usual protocol ("The Chaaaampioooons...")
Here's how they line out:
Galatasaray: Muslera, Seri, Belhanda, Babel, Donk, Mariano, Andone, Luyindama, Marcao, Nagatomo, Nzonzi
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Kroos, Valverde, Hazard, Rodrygo, Benzema
Teams are in the tunnel. Almost ready to go in Istanbul!
Here is that Real Madrid starting XI again: Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Kroos, Valverde, Hazard, Rodrygo, Benzema
What an opportunity for young Rodrygo!
Back in Madrid, Atletico have just taken a 1-0 lead against Leverkusen through Morata. They are looking to keep their unbeaten record in tact and are 10 minutes away from doing so. Simeone has gone crazy, but has refrained from making ball-grabbing gestures.
Real Madrid have arrived! Looks like Marcelo is the only player not to have made the switch to wireless headphones. The Brazilian is keeping it old skool with the cable.
Galatasaray haven't had the best start to their domestic league campaign: they currently sit in sixth place after eight games played, but are just four points behind leaders Alanyaspor. Their current leading scorer is Ryan Babel, who joined from Fulham for 5 million euros this summer. The Dutch winger starts tonight alongside his former Fulham team mate, Ivorian midfielder Jean Michaël Seri, who is on loan from the London club.
The last time these two met in Istanbul was back in 2013/14 in Group B of the Champions League. Madrid thrashed the home side 6-1 following before going on to win the return tie 4-1. Ronaldo got a hat trick on the night, Benzema bagged a brace, with the opener coming from Isco.
Galatasaray's starting XI
Zidane's teamsheet is in: Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Kroos, Valverde, Hazard, Rodrygo, Benzema.
Italian referee Daniele Orsato will officiate tonight's game. He has directed Real Madrid in the Champions League just once before: the 8-0 win over Swedish side Malmo at the Santiago Bernabéu back in December, 2015. Madrid fans will no doubt be hoping the Serie A official will oversee another emphatic victory for Los Blancos tonight.
"The rumours bother me; I want to be here forever": under-fire Zidane responded to speculation about his possible dismissal as Real Madrid coach in his pre-match conference. You can read more here.
After two games played, Real Madrid sit bottom of the table following their embarrassing 3-0 loss to PSG and disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Club Brugge. A loss tonight will put the club's progression to the last 16 in serious jeopardy - a situation which would have been unthinkable for the 13-time European cup winners at the start of the season. In short: it's a must-win game for Zidane, who has question marks hanging heavily over his head again after his side¡s 1-0 loss to newly promoted Mallorca on Saturday.
Hello and welcome to our coverage of the Champions League Group F clash between Galatasaray and Real Madrid at Istanbul's Türk Telekom Arena. It's 90 minutes until kick off, and in the meantime you can follow the build-up with us here. We'll bring you the team news as soon as we have it.