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Galatasaray advance at Juventus' expense

For Galatasaray, it was worth the wait.

Wesley Sneijder, left, celebrates the decisive goal with his Galatasaray team-mates
Wesley Sneijder, left, celebrates the decisive goal with his Galatasaray team-mates

Wesley Sneijder's winning goal against Juventus came just five minutes from the end of a contest that began on Tuesday evening but only finished yesterday after play was suspended because of a snow storm. The 1-0 victory earned the Turkish side second place in their Champions League group behind Real Madrid a last-16 place ahead of their feted Italian opponents.

The rearranged game in Istanbul restarted in the 32nd minute yesterday and both teams struggled on a muddy pitch which made passing a challenge, forcing them to hit long balls. Sneijder, though, broke the deadlock in the 85th minute after being set up by a headed knock down from striker Didier Drogba, firing a low shot past Gianluigi Buffon in the Group B match which was again beset by snowy conditions that make the pitch slippery.

"I think we got a well-deserved win," Roberto Mancini, Galatasaray's coach, said. "Restarting the game after a rescheduling made concentrating a challenge, but our fans showed up in snowfall and helped us through. We are truly grateful."

Captain Selcuk Inan added: "It turned into an advantage that the game was postponed because we knew the result of the Real Madrid-Copenhagen game, and we knew at worst we would go into the Europa League. We are happy to have advanced to the knockout stage two seasons in a row."

Juventus created few chances but coach Antonio Conte said: "I praised the players because they gave everything on a pitch where you couldn't play football and that penalised us. The regret is that we left it all up to the last game. Now let's think about the domestic championship."

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