Galatasaray, the Turkish football giant, pulled off a stunning comeback against Molde, the Norwegian champion, in the first leg of their Champions League play-off round on Wednesday. The visitors scored a late goal in stoppage time to secure a 3-2 victory and take a crucial advantage into the second leg.
Molde takes early lead but Galatasaray responds
The match started with a bang as Molde took the lead in the fourth minute through Martin Ellingsen, who fired a low shot past Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera from outside the box. The home side looked confident and pressed high, creating problems for Galatasaray’s defense.
However, Galatasaray did not give up and found an equalizer in the 23rd minute. Sergio Oliveira, the Portuguese midfielder who joined from Porto this summer, scored his first goal for his new club with a superb free-kick that curled into the top corner. The goal gave Galatasaray a boost and they started to dominate possession and create chances.
Icardi puts Galatasaray ahead but Haugen levels
Galatasaray’s pressure paid off in the 38th minute when they took the lead through Mauro Icardi, the Argentine striker who also joined from Paris Saint-Germain this summer. Icardi showed his predatory instincts as he pounced on a loose ball in the box and slotted it past Molde goalkeeper Andreas Linde.
Molde did not lose hope and fought back in the second half. They equalized in the 58th minute when Kristoffer Haugen scored with a powerful header from a corner. The game became more open and both teams had chances to score. Muslera made some crucial saves for Galatasaray, while Linde denied Icardi and Oliveira.
Midtsjo scores dramatic winner for Galatasaray
Just when it seemed that the game was heading for a draw, Galatasaray scored a dramatic winner in the third minute of added time. Fredrik Midtsjo, the former Norway midfielder who played for Molde before joining Galatasaray in 2021, scored against his former club with a stunning volley from outside the box that flew into the net.
The goal sparked wild celebrations among Galatasaray’s players and staff, while Molde’s players collapsed on the ground in despair. The final whistle confirmed Galatasaray’s 3-2 win and gave them a huge advantage ahead of the second leg at their home stadium next Tuesday.
Galatasaray is aiming to reach the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2019, while Molde is hoping to make history by qualifying for the first time ever. The second leg promises to be an exciting and tense affair as both teams will fight for their dreams.