GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany: Galatasaray reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2001 on Tuesday as a last-minute goal from Turkey forward Umut Bulut sealed a 3-2 win at Schalke 04.
With the German defence at full stretch and time almost up, Bulut provided the killer blow with the 95th-minute second-leg winner which put the Turkish league leaders through 4-3 on aggregate over the two legs of the last 16 tie.
Galatasaray go into Friday’s draw for the last eight, while Schalke failed in their bid to join Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals.
After midfielder Roman Neustaedter gave Schalke an early lead, goals by Galatasaray’s Hamit Altintop and Burak Yilmaz put the visitors ahead, then Brazil’s Michel Bastos levelled for the hosts, before Bulut settled matters.
The first leg in Istanbul had ended 1-1 after Yilmaz’s first-half goal had been cancelled out by Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones, who was suspended for the return leg.
With some 10,000 Galatasaray fans among the 54,142 strong crowd, in part due to Gelsenkirchen’s strong Turkish community, the first-half was a breath taking affair as control slipped from the hosts grip and into that of the Turkish side.
Schalke went ahead on 17 minutes when Jefferson Farfan’s corner caused mayhem in the Turkish defence.
Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes had his header blocked, but the ball fell to Neustaedter, who fired past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
The advantage lasted just 20 minutes as Galatasaray started exerting their authority with striker Didier Drogba threatening before a challenge from Marco Hoeger left him limping heavily.
Galatasaray got back on level terms when a short free-kick caught the hosts cold.
Former Schalke midfielder Altintop took the ball well outside the area, but planted an unstoppable shot which clipped the post as it flew in, just out of reach of Royal Blues goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand.
The Turkish league leaders went 3-2 ahead on aggregate from an innocuous situation when left-back Albert Riera slid in to dispossess Hoeger in the Schalke half.
The ball flew over the home defence and into the path of Yilmaz, who bolted into the loose ball, held off Hoewedes and lobbed Hildebrand to put Galatasaray ahead on 42 minutes.
Schalke coach Jens Keller was forced into a change at the break as Christian Fuchs came on for Neustaedter, who appeared to be struggling before the break.
The Royal Blues took the game by the scruff of the neck with Finland striker Teemu Pukki, in for injured Dutch star Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, going close, while midfielder Julian Draxler, 19, also tested Muslera.
Schalke equalised when Muslera’s save fell to Japan right-back Atsuto Uchida who slid a pass out to Bastos, who fired home from close range to give his team a lifeline.
Both sides had their chances to settle the matter as Pukki, with the ball as his feet, forced Muslera into a great save, as did Bastos, while at the other end Hildebrand was called into action to deny Nordin Amrabat.
But when Schalke were caught out by a late counter-attack, it was Bulut who rounded Hildebrand to knock the hosts out.