Juventus crashed out of the Champions League after going down 1-0 to Galatasaray thanks to a late Wesley Sneijder goal.
After a severe hail and snow storm saw the match abandoned on Tuesday evening, the team re-emerged this afternoon at the Turk Telecom Arena to play out the remaining 58 minutes. The Bianconeri knew that a draw would see them into the Last 16, whilst Roberto Mancini’s team were going all-out for the three points that would guide them into the knockout round.
The pitch, after a full-scale operation to clear the snow, was in a terrible condition, with the ball constantly stopping in the slush. The players were coping admirably, but in the conditions, both teams resorted to long balls.
It was Antonio Conte’s men who got off to the brighter start though, almost opening the scoring after 36 minutes, only for Stephan Lichtsteiner’s deflected cross to just clip the side-netting.
It was Carlos Tevez though, who went closest to breaking the deadlock with just four minutes of the half remaining – the Argentine forward broke past Aurelien Chedjou inside the area, but slipped before he could get a clean shot away on goal.
After the break, the Old Lady were once again quickest out of the blocks, but the pitch was playing havoc with the intensity of the game. Thick mud was stopping the ball in its tracks, and neither side could properly build up a head of steam and dominate the match.
Paul Pogba fired from long-range, as did Leonardo Bonucci, but both efforts were easily dealt with by Fernando Muslera.
Roberto Mancini’s men weren’t ready to just roll over however. Sneijder tried his luck from distance on 55 minutes, but Gianluigi Buffon saw the shot go well wide of his right-hand post, and just moments later, Didier Drogba fired from the edge of the area, but the Italy international got down well to push the ball away.
Despite Tevez’s best efforts, neither team really looked like breaking the deadlock, as the quagmire-like surface forced the game to become an attritional, midfield battle. The Argentine’s jinking runs and clever movement weren’t paying dividends in the mud, and it was just a solitary backheel for a Claudio Marchisio shot that lit up the final stages.
Amazingly though, seemingly out of nowhere, the Turkish side got their noses in front. Drogba headed a long ball down to Sniejder on the edge of the area, who shot low across Buffon and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
The Bianconeri couldn’t get themselves back into the game, ending the group stage in third place and exiting the competition.
Galatasaray 1-0 Juventus
Scorers: Sneijder 85 (G)
Galatasaray: Muslera; Chedjou, Semih Kaya, Gokhan Zan; Eboue (Bulut 80), Felipe Melo, Selcuk Inan, Riera; Sneijder (Ceyhun 92); Drogba, Burak Yilmaz
Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci (Giovinco 90), Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pogba, Marchisio (Quagliarella 87), Asamoah; Tevez, Llorente