Gala ends season with 2-1 victory, Europa league spot
A double from Galatasaray's golden boy Arda Turan was enough to secure 5th spot for the Lions and more importantly, a chance of European football next season. With Besiktas claiming the double of the Super Lig and the Turkish Cup, it meant that whoever finished 5th in the Super Lig would be granted a place in the Europa league. Thankfully, Galatasaray were able to overcome second placed Sivasspor to cement their place in Europe. Harry fresh from the barbers, shrugged off problem with his right thigh and played the entire match for Gala, nearly getting an assist in the 66th minute with Milan Baros' header at the end of Harry's cross failing to send the ball into the back of the net.
Personally for Harry, it was a relatively successful season. He featured in 23 of the team's 34 Lig matches, netting 8 goals. He also featured in 7 out of 10 UEFA Cup matches and recorded 4 goals and also played in 5 cup matches scoring one goal. He finished the season with a total of 13 goals, enough for second highest scorer on the team.
From the team's perspective, they were collectively quite disappointing. The season began with great hopes and aspirations and the team was tagged to bring home their 18th Turkish Lig title as well as make a good run in the UEFA cup. With manager Michael Skibbe at the helm, Galatasaray played great attacking football but their defense let them down. Towards the end, the Galatasaray board had given up on winning the Lig or the UEFA Cup, sacking Michael Skibbe and selling defender Fernando Meira. The team was plighted with injuries throughout the season, so much that Harry played centre back for two matches. Bulent Korkmaz who was brought in to manage the team failed to inspire any turnaround and instead found trouble with some of the teams stars especially playmaker Cassio Lincoln.
It looks to be a busy offseason for the team with much speculation over who their new manager will be. Several big name signings have been rumoured with Ruud Van Nistelrooy being the latest name mentioned. Lincoln was seen leaving for Rio De Janeiro with 20 pieces of luggage, even before the final match was played so it is unlikely he will return next season. Gala's fans will be hoping that Harry will stay around for the second year of his contract and that the player will be able to bring home some silverware.
Harry scores but Gala lose 2-1 and drop to 5th
Last night Harry was once again on the score sheet, this time scoring in the beginning of the second half against Besiktas. Following a Mehmet Topal own goal in the first half, the Lions came out firing in the second and Harry hit a right footed shot just outsidethe penalty area in the 49th minute to level the game. The tied score did not last long however with Besiktas taking the lead again ten minutes later. Harry played the entire match whilst Brazilian Lincoln did not feature at all. Galatasaray now sit in 5th position following Fenerbahces 4-2 victory over Konyaspor. Aussie keeper Michael Petkovic's Sivasspor managed to hold on for a 3-2 victory against Genclerbirligi and remain 2 points behind Besiktas on second place. All three of Genclerbirligi's Australians featured in the match with James Troisi netting the opener in the 22nd minute.
Kewell and co. prepare for Istanbul derby
This evening (3am Monday AEDT) Galatasaray will travel to Besiktas' Inonu stadium for the second last match of the season. Whilst Galatasaray are out of the running for the Lig title, they still will have an impact on who will be crowned champions as they also play second placed Sivasspor next week. Two points separate Besiktas and Sivasspor so their performances against Galatasaray will be crucial in determining who will be champions. For Galatasaray, there is still hope that they can make second place for the other Champions League qualifying spot. However, in order for this to happen, Galatasaray will need to win both of its last two matches and hope Sivasspor and third placed Trabzonspor stumble. Nevertheless, tonight the pressure will be on the Besiktas Black Eagles who would like to wrap up its first place position as soon as possible. Their Brazilian striker Bobo has scored 5 goals in the previous three matches and will be a threat to Gala's defense. Milan Baros will be looking to cement his position as the top scorer of the Super Lig. He is currently sitting on 19 goals in 29 appearances, two goals ahead of Kocaelispor's Gulleri. Harry meanwhile is sitting on 7 league goals in 24 matches but is second highest scorer in the club with 12 goals in all competitions. Hopefully Gala's manager Bulent Korkmaz will start Harry this match and that he'll have the same impact on the game as last weekend when he came away with a goal and an assist.
"Harry is my big brother here" - Djite
Genclerbirligi's striker Bruce Djite has spoken of how Harry has become a "big brother" to him during his stay in Turkey. Bruce has said how Harry has "offered me loads of advice and when he talks you listen because his advice is second to none. If I'm not in the starting team or whatever, he helps me deal with everything that comes my way. He's been through the lot, European Champions League finals, the World Cup. It's fantastic to have somebody of his character phoning to say 'how are you going?' or 'what's happening this weekend?'. It gives me a real boost to have him in my corner."
Bruce also spoke about playing against Harry for the first time last weekend when Galatasaray defeated his team 2-1 thanks to a goal and assist by Harry. "Before Harry came on, the Gala fans were chanting his name every few minutes. He's almost like a god to them."
Harry's wife and kids were in Istanbul to watch him play in the match last weekend and the LigTV cameras were there to capture him catching up with the family before the match.
Super sub Harry opens the scoring in 2-1 victory
Harry came on as a 35th minute substitute for Emre Gungor in last night's match against Genclerbirligi. The first goal of the match was scored by Harry in the 63rd minute. Captain Ayhan Akman crossed the ball from the left to Harry who was unmarked in the middle of the box before he slotted it home with his right foot past the right of the keeper. Three minutes later Galatasarat doubled their lead as Harry crossed the ball to Baris Ozbek on the far post who swiftly put the ball into the back of the net. Fellow Aussies James Troisi and Bruce Djite both featured in the match as substitutes but were unable to claim any points for their club. The win sees Galatasaray remain in 4th place on the Super Lig table, but they are now 3 points ahead of 5th placed Fenerbahce following their 1-1 draw with Antalyaspor.
5 photos from the match have been added to the Turkcell gallery. A few photos have also been added to the 'Off the Pitch' section following Harry's appearance in a Galatasaray Store last week as well as few new photos for the Politix gallery.
FIFA speaks to Harry on his "new lease of life" and more
Wednesday, 13th May, 2009
Harry sat down with FIFA.com to have a chat about Australia's World Cup Qualifying campaign and life for Harry at Galatasaray. The questions and answers are not too different from the interviews we've had in the past however its always nice to hear from Harry. The full transcript of the FIFA interview can be found here on the 'Interviews' page.
Galatasaray have 3 matches left to play this season and will host Genclerbirligi this coming Sunday. If Harry features in the match, it will be the first time he's come up against Genclerbirligi's Australian trio of Bruce Djite, James Troisi and Mile Jedinak in the Super Lig this season. Harry was only a late (92nd minute) substitute in Gala's last match against Ankaragucu where the Lions won 1-0 thanks to a Milan Baros penalty. Galatasaray's boss Bulent Korkmaz gave no reason for why Harry was on the bench for the majority of the match apart from saying "Kewell has no injury. It was my decision to put him on the bench". The team is currently on 4th place, 7 points behind league leaders Besiktas and one point above rivals Fenerbahce. Much off field speculation has surrounded the team with former Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster being tipped to manage the team next season whilst Real Madrid striker Javier Saviola may be Milan Baros' new strike partner.
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