Turkish champions Galatasaray opened up the brand-new Turkish Super League season with a 2-1 home victory over Gaziantepspor. Wesley Sneijder, and Burak Yilmaz netting Gala’s goals while Muhammet Demir hit a bicycle kick as consolation for the visitors.
The home side defended well for the most part, as they were able to control the Gaziantep attack to steal the ball and go out on counter-attacks. Didier Drogba dropped back quite a few times to clear the danger in the air, but struggled a bit offensively as he sent a couple of shots either right at the keeper or wide of the frame.
Sneijder was decent at the beginning, as he held possession and distributed the ball nicely into the area for his striking teammates. Later on, however, he lost the ball a bit too easily; he also struggled to get into open positions with space to be another option for teammates to pass the ball to.
Yilmaz assisted Sneijder then won and scored a penalty kick, which made him the man-of-the-match from an attacking perspective. He dropped back to the midfield to hold onto possession and pass back to a midfielder, then would run up to get into an open position to create a quick counter.
The team needs to improve on one aspect of the game: passing the ball more efficiently, and to not do so inside their own half. Sure the opponents defended their half well, but this does not mean that there would be too much difficulty find six players who are all moving around trying to get open for a pass. Until they improve on this, they will be susceptible against higher quality teams who are better on the counter and building.
The defensive midfielder, Felipe Melo, needs to stay back a bit more to help defend, instead of trying to send the perfect pass when Sneijder and Inan are there to do their jobs. He also needs to stop expecting to take penalty kicks when Inan, Sneijder, Drogba and Yilmaz should be well ahead of him on that spot-kick list. Once he calms down and plays his role to the best of his ability, that position will be a lock for Gala.
Overall, the team played a decent game and got the job done by earning all three points in front of their fans. With a bit more urgency and improvement in certain areas aforementioned, the team can score more goals, and perhaps not allow any.
They will travel to Bursa this Sunday to play their second league fixture, expecting to win, but playing in that stadium in front of their fans is never easy. Gala have not won here in a while, but will be looking to change that with one of their best rosters in years.