What a way to start the Champions League game day. The early game featured Group C action between Galatasaray of the Turkish Süper Lig and FC Astana of the Kazakhstan Premier League.
This game was not televised on the major FOX or ESPN channels, and honestly, why would it be? Galatasaray is usually not a big draw by themselves and really, if I wouldn’t have told you where Astana was from, would you have known?
So you can understand why this game was pushed aside by the major networks, but such is the magic of the Champions League which is so unpredictable, and this happened to be the match that had a fantastic finish.
After an early goal by Galatasaray, thanks to Bilal Kilsa in the 31st minute, put them up 1-0, one would think that Gala would run amok on the newcomers to the Champions League. However, Astana was able to contain their deficit to one until a series of own goals decided the fate of this game.
The first came in the 77th minute as the Kazakh team made their way to the attacking zone and desperately crossed a ball into the box that unfortunately bounced off Galatasaray defender Hakan Balta and into his own net. The game was level at one-all, but the craziness wouldn’t end there.
Semih Kaya’nın büyük hatası ve Hakan Balta’nın (k.k) skoru 1-1’e getiren golü pic.twitter.com/ifMr1JsUKJ
— Spor Gündemi (@sporgundemi01) 30 setembro 2015
In the 86th minute, in an eerily similar play as Astana’s, Galatasaray attempted a cross in the zone and Astana’s Nenad Eric got a touch with his head, the ball bounced around in the six-yard box before eventually ending up crossing the goal line for the 2-1 Galatasaray lead.
— Witty Futty (@WiFutty) September 30, 2015
Right before the final whistle, a miracle for the team from Kazakhstan when a last ditch effort for the equalizer paid off when the Astana team pushed forward and attempted a cross that was headed away by the Galatasaray defense. In the ensuing rebound, Astana’s Roger Cañas tried to head the ball back towards goal, but Lionel Carole got a boot on it to try and clear it away. But, in the attempt Carole kicked the ball right into the back of his net for the tying goal.
The game would end on that note and both teams would split points for their first of the group stages. Unfortunately for both squads, their next games will not be so easy as Astana takes on Atlético Madrid and Galatasaray will battle Benfica in October’s matches.