Drogba finishes off 10-man Fenerbahçe lifting Galatasaray to Super Cup glory
The Ivorian maestro leaded his team to a second consecutive Super Cup trophy in Kayseri with a mesmerizing performance. AA photoIvorian legend Didier Drogba gave football fans a foretaste of the upcoming Turkish Super League season finishing off a 10-man Fenerbahçe with an overtime header during the Istanbul derby showdown in the Turkish Super Cup.
Both Istanbul archrivals faced each other in a hectic gala match hosted in the Central Anatolian town of Kayseri, marked with a great number of opportunities from both sides and outstanding goalkeeper performances that made up for the defensive errors.
The former Chelsea player made honor to the Gezi protest slogan "Drogba is the solution" by breaking the stalemate just when the penalty shootout was looming.
The Yellow Canaries, last year's Turkish cup winners, had the very first opportunity of the game in the 4th minute with Moussa Sow's shot at the entry of the Lions' area, but the ball was successfully blocked by Fernando Muslera.
Both teams kept the tempo down during the initial minutes, taking each other's measure and trying to play the ball around. The standoff was broken at the 20th minute as Galatasaray came very close to opening the score after a scramble in Fenerbahçe's area when left winger Nordin Amrabat, very active during the whole game, sent an insidious center shot, which was saved with difficulty by Mert Günok, who was replacing Volkan Demirel, banned since a quarrel during last year's derby.
But the danger was not yet over as the ball fell in front of Weslej Seneijder in a dangerous position. The Dutch midfielder centered back for fellow superstar Drogba, whose shot was ultimately blocked by Günok.
Fenerbahçe answered back tit-for-tat in the 24th minute when Hasan Ali Kaldırım's center from the left side found Sow after it was disrupted by a Galatasaray defender. But the in-form Senegalese striker failed to hit to target in a clear shooting position near the penalty spot.
The Lions had again a clear scoring position when Amrabat missed a one-on-one after receiving a "take it and score pass," as Turkish commentators fancy saying, from Drogba.
Following the half-time break, the Turkish Super League champions increased their presence around their archfoes area with repeated threatening long-range shots.
In the 53th minute Sneijder took the stage, sending a memorable rocket from outside the area, deflected to corner by Günok. The Dutchman made another try two minutes later, but this time his shot lacked power and fell into Günok's hand.
In the 57th minute, it was Selçuk İnan's turn to try his luck from outside the area. The Turkish international, also known from his long-range shots, hit another rocket which went close but wide over the crossbar.
But eventually the turning point of the game came in the 62th minute, when Fenerbahçe's star signing of the transfer season, Portuguese defender Bruno Alves, was sent off with a second yellow card on a tackle to Felipe Melo. Alves had been shown a first yellow card on a foul against Drogba only a few minutes earlier.
Despite playing with 10, Fenerbahçe still had an opportunity to open the score in the 70th minute, once again with Sow, but the Senegalese's shot was easily blocked by Muslera.
In the 78th, Drogba showed once more his passing talents assisting his usual provider, İnan, with a precise center. But the Turkish international missed a short-range shot putting the ball wide on Günok's right post.
Drogba sets his 'head' on opening deadlock
Unlike last year's Super Cup when Galatasaray knocked out their archrivals with a penalty on stoppage time, the Lions would not find the goal that would avoid an always unpredictable overtime.
However, the Ivorian legend Drogba assumed the responsibilities for his team with a powered header in the 98th minute, capitalizing on a bulls-eye center dropped by the eternally underestimated Hakan Balta.
The 35-year-old star on the pitch from the start of the game as top scorer Burak Yılmaz is still recovering from an injury, was rewarded for his obstinacy with a trademark goal, unstoppable for Günok.
Fenerbahçe still had time to create scoring opportunities twice with Kuyt and twice with Sow. Luck was on Galatasaray's side when the Yellow Canaries' Senegalese striker's header that deflected Caner Erkin's shot in the 106th minute only hit Muslera's crossbar.
The pupils of Fatih Terim, who still watched the game from the tribunes due to a nine-game ban handed down last year while his tandem of assistants - Ümit Davala and Hasan Şaş - sat on the bench, managed to hold off their rivals getting the moral boosting trophy.
Ersun Yanal's Fenerbahçe, which was missing two of its key players, Gökhan Gönül still and Raul Meireles, fought until the end but was an inch short of finding the equalizer.
The trophy lifted by the "darling" of Galatasaray supporters, Captain Sabri Sarıoğlu, announced good omens for the self-confident Lions, who will be looking for their third consecutive championship in the Super League, which will kick off next weekend.