2015-16 UEFA Champions League, Group Stage
  • Selcuk Inan (64')
  • Patrick Twumasi (62')

Galatasaray book Europa League spot after Astana draw

Galatasaray secured themselves a Europa League spot with a 1-1 Champions League Group C draw against Astana.

The Turkish champions got the point when skipper Selcuk Inan's fine strike cancelled out Patrick Twumasi's second-half opener for Astana.

Both sides had chances to win the match, but it ended all-square meaning Galatasaray are guaranteed a place in Europe's second-tier competition after Christmas.

The visitors, who knew a win would seal a third-place finish in their maiden Champions League group campaign, started brightly and Twumasi hit the post after 15 minutes when the Astana winger's low cross from the edge of the area evaded everyone and almost snuck in.

Galatasaray's best moment of the first half came just before the break when Yasin Oztekin sent Burak Yilmaz clean through, but the midfielder saw his effort rattle the woodwork when he should have found the net.

The hosts were buoyed by their strong finish to the opening period and came out strongly after the interval, attacking down the right-hand side and Astana goalkeeper Nenad Eric did well to tip Wesley Sneijder's header round the post.

Just after the hour mark Astana went ahead through 21-year-old Ghanaian Twumasi, who had been a constant threat throughout the match.

The winger was first to Dmitri Shomko's cross and tucked the ball home with a goal which could have seen Galatasaray heading out of Europe.

It was also the Kazakhstani side's first away goal in the Champions League.

However, their joy was short-lived as it took less than 60 seconds for the home side to level the game when Inan fired home a fierce drive after a loose ball fell to him.

Both sides continued to press and Galatasaray almost went ahead after 73 minutes when Inan and Lukas Podolski played through the defence but the former could not get a decent shot away and fired straight at Eric.

The dangerous Twumasi had the chance to get his second of the night when Semih Kaya's miscued clearance landed at his feet but he could not get the ball on target.

There was no way back for Astana, meaning they now concentrate on domestic matters while Galatasaray head into the hat for Monday's Europa League round of 32 draw.