Former Gunners centre forward, currently at Turkish giants, Galatasaray FC, helped them move past their fierce Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce.
The striker swooped at the back post to score what proved to be the crucial goal of an intense clash, and the side stood firm to take the trophy. The solitary goal was enough to send their rivals on their way to a 1-0 Turkiye Kupasi final victory.
The Germany international guided home Jason Denayer’s flick-on after half an hour to settle a final high on energy but low on quality, with Nani sent off following the final whistle after appearing to sarcastically applaud the referee. The result means Galatasaray, who finished sixth in the Super Lig, will serve their one-year ban from European football which was imposed by UEFA for not complying with Financial Fair Play rules, next season, making them eligible once more in the 2017/2018 campaign. Prior to their suspension they had always been towards the top of the StanJames Champions Leagues odds table, and they will surely return there in 17/18.
Podolski’s goal would have come as a relief for the former Arsenal striker as it allowed him to atone for a glaring fifth-minute miss. Emre Colak whipped in a free-kick that was diverted Podolski’s way, but he could only fire his half-volley tamely over at the far post despite being unmarked five yards from goal. The 30-year-old did better seven minutes later with a blistering drive following a clever set-piece routine that drew a smart save from Fener goalkeeper Fabiano.
Denayer deflected Alper Potuk’s shot wide at the other end before Podolski did find the back of the net. Emre’s inswinging corner was helped on by on-loan Manchester City defender Denayer and Podolski diverted it past Fabiano.
Fener gradually grew into the game although chances remained at a premium, captain Mehmet Topal coming closest with a free header that was straight at Fernando Muslera. In the 62nd minute as Muslera flapped at a Nani free-kick and Abdoulaye Ba nodded against the angle of post and crossbar. Gala responded almost immediately as Fabiano saved well to keep out a Denayer header. Fener ramped up the pressure in the final quarter of the game, but substitute Fernandao wasted their best chance with a wayward header after a fine cross from Nani.
Aurelien Chedjou almost put through his own net in injury-time while Simon Kjaer thrashed a last-gasp volley high over the bar, and Fener’s woes were compounded by Nani’s post-whistle dismissal.