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Astana v Galatasaray: Selcuk Inan targets knockout stages

Galatasaray midfielder Selcuk Inan is determined to bag the full three points in Wednesday’s Champions League encounter with Astana as he has set his sights on reaching the knockout stages.

The Turkish champions finished bottom of their group last season as Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Anderlecht all proved to be too strong, but they are hopeful of doing better this time around. 

Galatasaray were beaten 2-0 by Atletico Madrid in their Group C opener, though, following Antoine Griezmann’s double, and Selcuk realises they cannot afford another loss if they are to keep their European dream alive.

“This year our goal is to repeat the success we’ve had in previous campaigns, starting by getting out of the group stage. I think we will manage that, because we are a strong team and one that is used to competing in the Champions League,” Selcuk told the UEFA website.

“In the Champions League, you feel pressure in every game, not just this one, because there is always an objective to go further. Of course this game against Astana is very important, just like the one against Atletico – they are all important.

“Obviously, after losing the first game, this game has become even more important and we need to get the three points in order to get out of the group stage. That is exactly what we are focusing on and I believe we will be ready for that game. 

“We are also going to struggle, but in order to win against teams like that, you have to work at least as hard as them and have belief. I also think that we have a better team than them and if we stay focused I believe we will win.”

Nevertheless, Galatasaray will have to make do without the services of star striker Burak Yilmaz as they travel to Kazakhstan after the forward was ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury, while Hamit Altintop remains unavailable due to a knee problem.

Astana, meanwhile, will be looking to record their first-ever victory in the Champions League group stage.

The Kazakhstan side saw off Maribor, HJK and APOEL in the qualifying stages, but were defeated 2-0 by Benfica as they made their full debut in the competition.

The hosts must do without Patrick Twumasi as he serves the second match of his four-game European ban, while Yeldos Akhmetov is unlikely to feature after he was carried off on a stretcher in last week’s draw with Aktobe.

Mon 28 Sep, 2015
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