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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 22:20 GMT
Galatasaray 3-2 Liverpool
By Phil McNulty

Liverpool's joy did not last after Robbie Fowler's opener
Liverpool's joy did not last after Robbie Fowler's opener
Liverpool's Champions League group phase ended with a tame defeat against Galatasaray in Istanbul.

Robbie Fowler gave Liverpool, who already topped Group C, the lead after 21 minutes when he bundled home Craig Bellamy's left-wing cross.

But Necati Ates slid home an equaliser two minutes later and Okan Buruk's 25-yard volley made it 2-1.

Sasa Ilic punished poor Liverpool defending to score 12 minutes from time before Fowler snatched a late second.

The game was effectively a dead rubber, and it showed as Liverpool failed to muster the inspiration to trouble a Galatasaray side playing only for pride.

Liverpool returned to the scene of their famous Champions League triumph against AC Milan in 2005 with several influential stars, such as Sami Hyypia and Steven Gerrard, rested.

606: DEBATE
GP

Youngsters Lee Peltier and Danny Guthrie were given European debuts and Jerzy Dudek was recalled in goal.

Liverpool started well and took the lead after 21 minutes, Bellamy working an opportunity on the left flank and providing the cross for Fowler to bundle home from close range.

But the lead lasted only two minutes, when Xabi Alonso's misplaced pass allowed Necati to race clear and slip a cool finish past Dudek.

And Liverpool were behind after 27 minutes when Liverpool failed to clear a corner and Okan fired a crisp 25-yard volley beyond Dudek.

Galatasaray were on top in a game with nothing riding on it, and could have added a third just after the interval when Erguen Penbe's header bounced to safety off the upright.

But Liverpool were pressing themselves, and Fowler almost got his second after 58 minutes when he saw a volley from Alonso's clever free-kick saved by Farid Mondragon.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez made changes in an attempt to inject some attacking impetus, with Guthrie removed in favour of Luis Garcia and the lively Bellamy replaced by Peter Crouch.

But it was Galatasaray who deservedly added a third with 12 minutes left, substitute Ilic escaping the attentions of the Liverpool defence - in which Argentine Gabriel Paletta was desperately uncertain - to slide home a simple finish.

Fowler got on to the end of Jermaine Pennant's cross to head home his second at the far post, but Liverpool's under-strength side was very much second best and Galatasaray deserved the win.


Galatasaray: Mondragon, Haspolatli, Tomas, Asik (Seyhan 45), Penbe, Sarioglu, Inamoto, Buruk, Carrusca (Guven 75), Karan, Ates (Ilic 45).
Subs Not Used: Ercetin, Sas, Topal, Kabze.

Booked: Inamoto.

Goals: Ates 24, Buruk 28, Ilic 79.

Liverpool: Dudek, Peltier, Carragher, Agger, Riise, Pennant, Alonso (Roque 84), Paletta, Guthrie (Luis Garcia 66), Bellamy (Crouch 74), Fowler.
Subs Not Used: Martin, Kuyt, Anderson, Darby.

Booked: Pennant.

Goals: Fowler 22, 90.

Att: 23,000

Ref: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal).

SEE ALSO
Tuesday's football photos
05 Dec 06 |  Photo Galleries


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