Sneijder: We aren't a team

HAKAN BAŞ @hakanbash
ISTANBUL
Published 27.11.2015 00:24
Updated 27.11.2015 00:26
Gala struggled to make a fist of the game, although it ought to have taken an early lead when Sneijder weaved into the area, only to screw wide left-footed.
Gala struggled to make a fist of the game, although it ought to have taken an early lead when Sneijder weaved into the area, only to screw wide left-footed.

After Galatasaray lost 2-0 to Atletico Madrid, giving the Turkish side no chance of qualifying for the next round of the Champions League, the Dutch star revolted, saying, ‘We can't be a team. How can we? We aren't even training.'

Galatasaray are on edge following consecutive bad results in the domestic league and in the Champions League, with star midfielder Wesley Sneijder claiming the club is tactically, psychologically and physically deficient. Having lost against Spain's Atletico Madrid, Galatasaray said farewell to their chances of making the second round of the Champions League on Wednesday while unrest appears to be consuming the club. Galatasaray's Dutch star Sneijder criticized the culture at the club and the team's performances, saying after the game that "there was only one team on the pitch. That was Atletico. I don't think it's just psychological. We have to improve ourselves in training. We are deficient physically, not only psychologically. We can't be a team. How can we? We aren't even training."

On the sacking of Hamza Hamzaoğlu, Sneijder said, "If you don't play good football and get good results, it's natural for the coach of the team to be sacked. That's the way it is. We have no tactics. We played without tactics. We must work on tactics. I'm very angry and it's quiet normal. We could do more. We have to react to this situation. We have great potential. We lost 2-0 but we could have conceded five or even six goals. We need to stand up and start from scratch."

As for the game, led by interim boss Claudio Taffarel, Gala struggled to make a fist of the game, although it ought to have taken an early lead when Sneijder weaved into the area, only to screw wide left-footed. However, the match at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid saw Antoine Griezmann score twice for Atletico - in the 13th and 65th minutes. The Frenchman opened the scoring with a header and sealed the victory with a shot from close range. All four of Griezmann's goals in this season's Champions League have come against Galatasaray. Replays showed that he appeared to be offside when he scored his second goal on Wednesday. Atletico have 10 points from five matches in Group C, while its Turkish opponents were eliminated with four points.

Galatasaray interim coach Claudio Taffarel said. "That difference was decisive. If you want to achieve something in the Champions League, you need to increase your tempo."

"Atletico Madrid are improving but still have plenty of work to do if they are to have a chance of winning anything" Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said.

"We played impressively in line with the ongoing improvement of the team," Simeone told a news conference.

"As a concept, it is always better to be first than second, although it doesn't guarantee you anything," added the former Argentina captain.

"In the last 16 all the teams are competitive. We will go and play the match in Lisbon with the same intensity and abilities as always."

Atletico was in control for most of the match and the Turkish side couldn't threaten much despite the presence of Wesley Sneijder and Lukas Podolski.

"We played against a very tough opponent," Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera said. "We couldn't put in the performance we wanted. Atletico played well as a team, did well collectively and didn't leave much room for us to operate." Atletico striker Fernando Torres failed again in his attempt to score his 100th goal for the Spanish team. Atletico has the group lead on goal difference, and will fight Benfica for first place when the teams meet in Portugal on Dec. 8.

Raul Jimenez scored twice to haul Benfica back from two goals down and earn a 2-2 draw with FC Astana in the Champions League on Wednesday. The win put Benfica on the verge of qualification, which was sealed later in the evening when Atletico Madrid beat Galatasaray 2-0 in Group C's other game.

Benfica started slowly in freezing conditions in Kazakhstan and went behind in the 19th minute when Astana forward Patrick Twumasi, back after a four-game ban, met Junior Kabananga's cross with a well-timed header. Twelve minutes later, Marin Anicic made it 2-0 for Astana with a glancing header off Foxi Kethevoama's free kick. Jimenez sparked the comeback with a powerful 39th minute header from a cross by Jonas, and scored his second from close range in the 72nd as Astana goalkeeper Nenad Eric failed to react to a shot.

Benfica had good chances to score and could have won the game. Shortly before Jimenez's first goal, Astana keeper Eric had produced a spectacular leaping save to deny a powerful shot from Andreas Samaris. Astana went into its first ever Champions League campaign as the outsider in Group C but will finish unbeaten at home, recording draws in all three games.

The Kazakh champion is now in last place and unable to qualify for the knockout stages. However, a win over Galatasaray in the final round of games would see Astana finish third and secure a place in the Europa League.

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