Istanbul: Real Madrid came away from Istanbul with three crucial Champions League points Tuesday with a 1-0 away win at Galatasaray thanks to a first-half Toni Kroos goal and Eden Hazard’s threatening creativity.
Pressure on coach Zinedine Zidane will be alleviated after Madrid had been beaten in their first European game by PSG, before they had to fight back from 2-0 down at home to Club Brugge to snatch a point in their second match of the campaign.
The thirteen-time European champions arrived in Istanbul needing a win against motivated opponents backed by passionate and noisy supporters.
Zidane saidMonday he was ‘bothered’ by rumours of his imminent replacement in the Madrid hot-seat, and he paced the touchline with a haunted look at times in the Turkish capital.
Belgian star Hazard shone and it was a clever cut-back from him that provided Kroos with a shot on goal, and his snap-shot was deflected past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, who kept the visitors at bay for the rest of the proceedings.
Karim Benzema was also busy but curled two shots wide when he might have done better.
Captain Sergio Ramos was colossal at the heart of the Real defence with an ever present contribution despite his every touch being roundly booed.
Behind him Belgium ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois kept a cool head when stopping several Turkish attempts on his goal notably with efforts from Florin Andone and Younes Belhanda.
Hazard hit the crossbar after cutting round Muslera late on and was swiftly subbed by Zidane.
PSG thrashed Club Brugge 5-0 in the other Group A game and have nine points to Madrid’s four while Brugge have two and Galatasaray one after three games.