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Drogba, Galatasaray throw down new gauntlet to Fenerbahçe with 3-1 win

The game was marked by an effervescent opening in which both sides abandoned their defensive sensibilities in favor of attack, producing all the scoring inside the first 26 minutes. Galatasary, who was managed by assistant coach Ümit Davala as head coach Fatih Terim and assistant Hasan Şaş remain on suspension, forged ahead inside 120 seconds when Elazığspor goalkeeper Vanje Ivesa could only palm Felipe Melo’s long-range, rasping drive into the path of the league’s leading goalscorer, Burak Yılmaz, who volleyed home his 19th of the season to give the Lions the early advantage. Elazığspor, however, did not fold from the outset, and the eastern side’s attackers asked enough questions of the Galatasaray defense on the occasional foray to keep the Lions on their toes. Drogba, however, touched off an astonishing six minutes of play by doubling the hosts’ advantage in the 20th minute, taking a pass from Hamit Altıntop following a defensive error from Fabio Bilica before slotting past Ivesa to record Galatasaray’s 100th competitive goal at their new Türk Telekom Arena.

Within two minutes, however, it was the Galatasaray defense’s turn to remonstrate among themselves, as Elazığ’s Serdar Güler immediately hit back, capitalizing on Galatasaray defender Dany Nounkeu’s hesitation on a long ball to deliver a sucker punch that surprised ’keeper Fernando Muslera, making the score 2-1.

With farcical defending at both ends, however, it was only a matter of time – in the case, four minutes – before the ball found the back of the net again. Drogba was again the beneficiary of some hesitant defending by Elazığspor’s back line, accepting a pass from Burak to register his second goal in just six minutes.

With the win, the Lions put the pressure back on rivals Fenerbahçe to maintain their challenge. Galatasaray leads the league with 62 points, seven more than Fener with just four rounds remaining, pending the Yellow Canaries’ April 21 encounter away to Gençlerbirliği. Galatasaray will play away to Fenerbahçe in the penultimate round in a match that could decide the destination of this year’s Spor Toto Super League title.

Elazığspor failed to put distance between themselves and the other sides scrapping to avoid the drop. The eastern team remains on 35 points, one ahead of 14th place Kardemir Karabükspor, two ahead of Istanbul BB and three ahead of Akhisar Belediye Gençlik, which occupies the last relegation spot.

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