While qualification for the last four now seems beyond Galatasaray following their 0-3 first leg loss to Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu last week, midfielder Felipe Melo is determined to round-off what has been a highly successful campaign for the Turkish champions with a famous victory tonight.
“The return game will be just as hard. Being three goals behind means we must go all out and that will mean leaving spaces in which they can play,” he told Uefa.com. “Nothing is impossible in football though. As long as there is a chance, I will always believe. Prior to the first-leg we had a 50% chance of getting through. That’s down to 10% now. If we are to go out at home, let’s look to do it with our heads held high,” he added.
However, Fatih Terim’s side are hampered by suspensions as their top-scorer Burak Yilmaz and defender Dany Nounkeu also saw yellow cards at the Bernabeu that will keep them out of the return. On the other hand, the Spanish champions will travel to Turkey without the suspended Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso as they picked up cautions late on in the first-leg to ensure they would not risk suspension for the semi-finals.
Luka Modric and Pepe therefore look set to deputise for the Spanish international duo, whilst Kaka has also been left out of the squad after coming off with a slight injury problem in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Levante. Meanwhile, Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez has said scoring will be the key for his side. Despite goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain putting Los Blancos within touching distance of their third consecutive Champions League semi-final, Lopez insists they have to maintain their attacking instinct for the second-leg.
“The tie is not decided because we know what football is like and we are going to a difficult ground to play a team that is better than they showed in the first-leg,” he told the club’s website. “It is obvious that 3-0 is a very good result for us, but I think the key will be to score a goal there and then that will practically put us through.
“Our mentality has to be to be to go there and score. To rely on the 3-0 would be an error,” he added. Hostile atmosphere Despite the deficit facing their side, the Galatasaray fans are still sure to create a hostile atmosphere at the Turk Telekom Arena, but Lopez is confident Madrid’s players have the experience to cope with such surroundings.
“Although the players here are very young, they have a lot of experience. They are all internationals and have played in championships worldwide with their national teams and other teams. “In this sense I don’t think age influences anything, it is the team that influences matters. The intention we have to show is to go there and try to stop the atmosphere that is going to be in their favour,” he said.