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Homeward goal of Thomas Strakosha: Lazio keeper’s bizarre mistake gives Galatasaray Europa League victory

Galatasaray’s Türk Telekom Stadium is renowned for generating some of the most intense atmospheres in world football, leaving little room for error or hesitation at the best of times.

The fact that Strakosha’s blunder was the only goal of the game added yet another insult to the injury.

Looking for the breakthrough with just under 25 minutes remaining, Galatasaray midfielder Olimpiu Moruţan threw a hopeful cross into Lazio’s penalty area.

Lazio full-back Manuel Lazzari sparked a series of unfortunate events by making a meal of Morutan’s delivery, cutting the ball to send it spiraling into the sky instead of cleaning its lines.

Yet as gravity did its job, Strakosha failed to do his – the Albanian casually jumped to snatch the ball into the air only to parry it straight into the left post.

As if to taunt him, the ball ricocheted through Strakosha’s outstretched gloves before nestling in the corner of the net, triggering scenes of rapture among Galatasaray worshipers in the stands.

Lazio worked hard to equalize – Sergej Milinikovic-Savic wasted a golden opportunity to help spare his keeper’s blushes minutes after the own goal – but struggled to break a steadfast bottom line from Galatasaray.

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The home side weathered the storm, closing the game to take all three points and take the lead in Group E.

While the other group match between Marseille and Lokomotiv Moscow ended in a draw, Strakosha and Lazio find themselves at the back of the pack at the end of the first day.