SERKAN EARNS GALATASARAY CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLACE

Sports | August 23, 2001, Thursday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Reuters - Turkey`s Galatasaray booked their place in the Champions League on Wednesday after drawing 1-1 with Levski Sofia for a 3-2 aggregate victory in the third qualifying round. `We witnessed a very difficult match as Levski showed in both encounters that they deserve a Champions League place,` Galatasaray coach Mircea Lucescu told a news conference. The 2000 UEFA Cup winners controlled the second-leg match, despite some dangerous attacks by the Bulgarian champions who were also seeking a place among Europe`s elite clubs. Serkan Aykut scored five minutes after the break to give Galatasaray a two-goal lead in the tie, sweeping the ball home on the half volley from 12 metres. `Both ties showed Galatasaray`s superiority in view with organisation of the game and tradition and they scored with the first serious attack they had,` Levski coach Ljubo Petrovic said.
The away goal was enough for Galatasaray, who led 2-1 after the first leg in Turkey, but the Bulgarian champions took advantage of an error by the visitors when Miodrag Pantelic equalised from close range in the 79th minute. The goal inspired the hosts, but they were unable to break down Galatasaray`s defence for a second time. Levski had problems threatening their opponents` goal as striker Georgi Ivanov, who scored in the first leg, was closely marked.
`We played very well until Levski`s goal when we made a bad error and complicated the situation in the remaining time. I thank the defence who were very concentrated,` Romanian Lucescu said.
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