Anything is possible in Champions League football but when you are 3-0 down to Real Madrid it makes matters harder.
Real Madrid have one foot in the Champions League semi-final when they take on Galatasaray at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Jose Mourinho’s men are 3-0 up going into the second leg, thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Despite a comfortable lead, it won’t be easy for the Spaniards, with key players Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos both suspended for the match.
Playmaker Kaka is also out of the squad with an injury he picked up against Levante at the weekend, whilst defensive enforcer Pepe is a doubt with a pulled hamstring.
If Madrid see off Galatasaray, they will reach their 24th European Cup semi-final and would be on course to add to their tally of nine European cups.
Los Blancos have scored in all 16 Champions League away fixtures under Jose Mourinho, but the Portuguese manager remains wary of the Turkish side.
“If we score a goal in Istanbul they have got to score five so the result is very good,” the former Chelsea boss told Sky Sports.
“But I’ve seen a lot of things in football so nothing can surprise me. Istanbul is a difficult place to go.
“The Spanish press were not quite so respectful towards Galatasaray [before the last tie] but we were very respectful towards them. We knew they have a fantastic team and good strikers.”
If progression to the semi-final wasn’t hard enough, the Turkish champions also have to deal with the loss of suspended duo – centre-back Dany Nounkeu and striker Burak Yilmaz.
Yilmaz’s absence is a big loss for Fatih Terim’s men, the Turkish international is their top goal scorer in the competition with eight goals in nine appearances.
The Turks are capable to score goals in his absence, however, with European Champion Didier Drogba sure to start, and former Inter Milan and Real Madrid player Wesley Sneijder an attacking threat from midfield.
Their ranks are also bolstered by the return of former Bolton striker Johan Elmander, who has recovered from a foot injury that has kept him out of action since January of this year.
If Galatasaray do find the result they need on Tuesday, they will progress to the semi-finals of the competition for the first time in 24 years.
Terim is staying positive about his team’s chances and won’t give up hope of a drastic turnaround.
“We will play an entertaining game for our fans; the result will not be important. Galatasaray’s targets never change. If there is a target to be achieved, then Galatasaray try to achieve it, ” he told reporters at the pre-match press conference.
“Anything is possible in football but when you are playing against Real Madrid things are not so easy. Galatasaray will try everything. I am sure about the ambition and enthusiasm of my players.”
(Originally published on the aljazeera.com 09/04/13 – Link to original article http://aje.me/YzmmW5 )