Didier Drogba and his Galatasaray team-mates face the toughest of tasks tonight when they try to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Drogba, who won the Champions League last season with Chelsea, will take some cheer from his performance in Saturday’s domestic championship game against Mersin Idman Yurdu when he scored two second-half goals in a 3-1 win.
However, the mood at Galatasaray was soured at that game by coach Fatih Terim’s anger at refereeing decisions in a row which led to him and his two assistants being sent to the stands, overshadowing preparations for Tuesday’s return leg in Istanbul.
In Madrid last week, Galatasaray were taught “a good lesson” by the Spanish side, according to Drogba.
“We’re not at their level but I think it’s a lack of experience more than anything else,” said Drogba. “We’re learning, we’re a young team. There are things that need improving. It’s a good lesson, and one we have to show we’ve learned well in the return leg. We wanted to contain Madrid but we could have done it in a different way, with more audacity and aggression.”
One of Galatasaray’s biggest headaches is the absence of key striker Burak Yilmaz, who is suspended after picking up a yellow card in Madrid. Turkish media reported on Friday that the Istanbul side had applied to Uefa to have the yellow card annulled.
Galatasaray will also be missing central defender Dany Nounkeu after his booking in Madrid ruled him out. Real romped to a 5-1 victory at home to mid-table Levante on Saturday as coach Jose Mourinho left several top performers, including forward Cristiano Ronaldo, out of his starting line-up. Ronaldo came off the bench at halftime with Real leading 2-1 and netted his 29th goal of the La Liga campaign before setting up fellow substitute Mesut Ozil.
Centre back Sergio Ramos and midfielder Xabi Alonso both played the full 90 minutes as they are suspended for tonight’s game.
“It could be that we are in our best form of the season,” said Ronaldo, top scorer in the Champions League this season with nine goals. “We have a complete squad with all the players available and that is very positive news.”
On tonight’s game in Istanbul, he added: “Three goals is a big lead but our passage is not yet assured.”