Jermaine Jones’ first-half strike cancelled out Burak Yilmaz’s earlier effort and gave Schalke a valuable away goal from the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in Istanbul.
Much had been expected of Galatasaray after the signings of recent Champions League winners Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba. With both stars in the starting lineup, the early signs were good that the Turkish champions could take an advantage back to Germany in three weeks’ time.
Just 12 minutes into the contest at the Turk Telekom Arena, Fatih Terim’s side went in front. With the arrival of Drogba, it had almost been forgotten by many that Galatasaray still possessed the joint leading-scorer form the competition’s group stage. But Burak provided a fine reminder of his quality as he received Selcuk Inan’s pass behind him just outside the box, but flicked the ball cleverly over Schalke defender Joel Matip before taking a touch and then drilling the ball high into the net past Timo Hildebrand.
The fine strike put Burak back level with Cristiano Ronaldo on seven goals in the Champions League this season.
And Galatasaray soon came desperately close to doubling their advantage. Drogba had the chance to make it two goals in two games for his new club but could only strike straight at Hildebrand after being played through by Sneijder. The better chance, though, fell to Hamit Altintop, who should have done better than strike the cross bar from the rebound.
The miss would prove costly as the visitors fought back. Despite an awful run of form in the Bundesliga, Schalke had already gone close when the returning Klaas-Jan Huntelaar just failed to get on the end of Bendikt Howedes’ header across goal, before Jones got the equalizer right before the break.
Dany Nounkeu was caught out just inside the Schalke own half and Galatasaray were left wide open as the striker fed Jefferson Farfan to surge to the edge of the box before unselfishly laying the ball off to United States international Jones to fire with conviction beyond Fernando Muslera.