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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Galatasaray to host Metalist Kharkiv ...

Galatasaray, with a four-point lead on the top of the group, will secure first position if they topple the Ukrainian team.

Turkey's UEFA Cup champions Galatasaray are set to host Ukraine's Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday in a UEFA Cup Group B match at Istanbul's Ali Sami Yen Stadium.

The match which will kick-off at 20:00 p.m. Turkish local time(13:00 ET )

Galatasaray midfielder Arda Turan wants to see his side continue their excellent UEFA Cup form against Metalist Kharkiv and secure top spot in their group.

Galatasaray, who announced the return of former coach Karl-Heinz Feldkamp in a consultancy role, sit atop Group B having won both their matches in the section so far.

It is a position from which only one team has failed to qualify in the tournament's current format, namely Rangers four seasons ago.

Metalist have played just one game, a creditable goalless draw against Hertha Berlin.

Turan sees Thursday's game, the club's first ever match against Ukrainian opposition, as an ideal opportunity to lay down a marker for the rest of the tournament.

"It's a crucial match for the group," he told "It's also important for the coming rounds.

"If we finish the group stage as runners-up we shall play against the third-placed teams.

"In the UEFA Cup there is one thorny road and one stony road. If we finish first in our group we shall have the chance to get onto the easy road.

"We are on the verge of securing a berth with the support of our fans at home."

Murat Akca today underwent cruciate ligament surgery, described by the club as successful.

Coach Michael Skibbe will be without Hasan Sas, Serkan Calik and Ugur Ucar, who are working their way back from injury, while a host of players, including Tobias Linderoth, Mehmet Topal and Lincln, are not fully fit and may not be risked.

Metalist have already travelled to Istanbul once this season, having lost 1-0 at Besiktas in their first-round tie before storming back in the second leg to claim a 4-2 aggregate victory.

They go into the game on the back of a 2-1 victory over Zarya Lugansk in the Ukrainian Superliga courtesy of goals from Seweryn Gancarczyk and Ruslan Fomin.

They sit second in their domestic league, three points behind Dynamo Kiev.

Olympiakos entertain Benfica in tomorrow's other Group B game.

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