Galatasaray Eliminates Juventus From Champions League in Muddy, Snowy Istanbul

Galatasaray and Juventus were supposed to play their crucial Champions League match on Tuesday. The winner moved into the knockout rounds, the loser parachuted into the Europa League, so a lot was at stake. Mother Nature in the form of a ridiculous hail storm put a crimp on that, as the match was abandoned. It restarted Wednesday and the Turkish side pulled off a mild shock, winning 1-0 in a late goal by Wesley Sneijder.

It lead to a big ol’ hug from Didier Drogba in a pile of dirty snow:


The muddy conditions on the field prompted many European-based journalists to remark the game looked like something out of the 1960s. The conditions, however, are more befitting of the hilarity of Lithuanian soccer, rather than the top club competition in the world.

Juventus, the reigning champions of Italy’s Serie A, drop into the Europa League which is rather embarrassing for a team with lofty ambitions which spent big money in the summer on Carlos Tevez, among others. The club missed injured maestro Andrea Pirlo. You’d figure his gloriously bearded face would have provided stability and firm leadership in the grim conditions, much like an 19th century ship commander. The Old Lady has nobody to blame but itself, for its failure to beat either FC Copenhagen or¬†Galatasaray at home.

It’s also another blow for Italian soccer on the whole, which might only have AC Milan — ninth in Serie A, 22 points adrift of Juventus — remaining when the knockout rounds of the Champions League kick off in February. [GIF via the Score]

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