Beşiktaş plans to finish the job against Feyenoord
Beşiktaş players Ramon Motta (R) and Kerim Frei celebrate Beşiktaş’s second goal against Feyenoord at De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam. AA photoBeşiktaş plans to finish what it started last week when it hosts Feyenoord in the Champions League third qualifying round second leg tonight.
The Black Eagles will be hoping to capitalize on a strong performance in the first leg, when they beat the Dutch runner-up 2-1 in the game in Rotterdam’s De Kuip stadium.
Goals from Mustafa Pektemek and Karim Frei gave a great advantage to Beşiktaş and the Dutch could only pull back one through a last-minute penalty.
Beşiktaş will be through whether drawing or even a 1-0 defeat, but coach Slaven Bilic urged his players to finish the job without becoming complacent.
“We have the advantage and our opponents will come into us,” he said. “We should definitely avoid complacency.”
Beşiktaş will have the backing of strong home support at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium. The 72,000-seat ground is a mammoth of a stadium, but it is not the actual home of the Black Eagles, who are still waiting for their Vodafone Arena to be completed. The modern stadium is currently under construction in the place of the İnönü Stadium, the Eagles’ iconic nest located at the birthplace of Beşiktaş, the Istanbul district with the same name as the club.
If Beşiktaş advances, it will have another challenging tie to advance to the Champions League, the top-level club competition in European football. Beşiktaş’s possible opponents in the playoff tie include English giant Arsenal, Italy’s Napoli and German side Bayer Leverkusen.
Tonight’s game starts at 9 p.m. and will be shown live on D-Smart’s Smart Spor channel.
Elsewhere, Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg will try to overturn a 1-0 defeat to AEL Limassol of Greek Cyprus. In Nicosia, APOEl will play against HJK Helsinki in the second leg after a 2-2 draw in Finland.
Sweden’s Malmö hosts Sparta Prague after a 4-2 defeat, while Moldova’s Sheriff takes on Slovan Bratislava following a 2-1 defeat in Slovakia. FC Copenhagen and Partizan need to score when they host Ukraine’s Dnipro and Bulgaria’s Ludogorets, respectively, following last week’s goalless draws.
Steaua Bucharest has the upper hand when it hosts Kazakhstan’s Aktobe after last week’s 2-2 draw.
Dinamo Zagreb will host Denmark’s Aalborg, who has a 1-0 advantage. Azerbaijan’s Qarabag visits Austria’s Salzburg after winning 2-1 at home.
The toughest task, however, will be at Celtic, which is bidding to overturn a shocking 4-1 defeat at the hands of Legia Warsaw last week.
Celtic captain Scott Brown, however, refuses to throw in the towel yet, when the Scots host the Polish side at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium as work continues on Celtic Park following its use in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“It’s going to be hard because we need three goals and we need to show them how good we are. But I believe we can do it,” Brown said, before referring to last year’s 3-0 home win against Shakhter Karagandy after losing 2-0 in Kazakhstan. “The Shakhter game last season was huge for us – we scored three goals then and we have to do it again this week.”
Brown says the Celtic players will want to use the match to prove the critics who have written off their chances wrong.
“Everyone knows it was a disappointing result and it was hard to take, but we’ve got a chance here to go and put it right and I’m sure we will,” the midfielder said. “It always hurts when people write you off, but that’s football. People always write you off.
“That’s when you have to make the wrongs right and go out there and show everyone what you can do.
“You can prove a point to everyone out there on the field.”