Burak hat-trick inspires Galatasaray victory
Champions League Group H, Stadionul Dr. Constantin Radulescu - Cluj 1 (Sougou 53) Galatasaray 3 (Burak 18, 61, 74)
Burak Yilmaz scored a perfect hat-trick to help Galatasaray to their first Champions League away victory in a decade with a 3-1 victory over CFR Cluj.
The Turkish striker opened the scoring with a header after 18 minutes to give Galatasaray the lead before Modou Sougou drew Cluj level eight minutes after the break.
But Burak fired Galatasaray back in front with a right-footed shot after 61 minutes before making the result certain with 16 minutes remaining to earn the match ball with a left-footed strike and consign new Cluj manager Paulo Sergio to defeat in his first Champions League match in charge.
The result blows the fight for second place in Group H wide open, with Galatasaray now level with Cluj on four points with two matches remaining.
Galatasaray went into game having not won in six European matches at home or away and the Turkish outfit started like a side short of confidence.
Pantelis Kapetanos ghosted behind the visitors defence after five minutes but could only put his shot wide after bringing down a lofted through-ball.
Fatih Terim’s side began to find their feet, however, and Emre Colak poked his shot wide after bursting into the box.
And Galatasaray took the lead on 18 minutes, with Burak executing a superb backwards header to guide Hamit Altintop’s cross over Mario Felgueiras and into the top corner.
Galatasaray dictated the pace of the game from there but Sougou squandered a good opportunity to draw Cluj level before the break.
Conceding only revitalised Galatasaray, however, and Terim’s troops deservedly went back in front after Cluj failed to clear their lines, allowing Altintop to fire in a low cross which Burak converted from close range.
The goal took the wind out of Cluj’s sail and Galatasaray bossed possession from there, with the visitors knocking the ball around with ease and the home side rarely afforded the chance to break out of their own half.
And Burak completed his perfect evening when Galatasaray broke quickly, working the ball to the striker, who turned his man inside out before burying a low shot past Felgueiras to become only the second Turkish player to score a hat-trick in Champions League history.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Burak Yilmaz - Galatasaray: The Turkish international produced the perfect hat-trick - scoring with a header, his right foot and his left foot - to inspire Galatasaray to their first Champions League victory on the road for a decade.
CLUJ: Felgueiras 5, Pinto 5, Sepsi 4, Piccolo 5, Cadu 5, Camora 6, Muresan 5, Godemeche 4, Alberto 4, Kapetanos 5, Sougou 7. Subs: Bastos 7, Bjelanovic 6, Valente 6.