Fener wants Euro win in silent night
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Plzen’s Pavel Horvath (R) and Marian Cisovsky (L) challenge Fenerbahçe’s Pierre Webo during their first leg game in the Europa League round of 16. AP photoFenerbahçe will try to build on its first-leg advantage and knock Viktoria Plzen after a Europa League game that will be played behind closed doors tonight.
The Yellow Canaries are eyeing a spot in the Europa League quarterfinals when they host Plzen, just a week after getting a crucial 1-0 win in the Czech Republic.
Despite the one-goal advantage, Fenerbahçe will be deprived of its fan support, since the game will be played behind closed doors due to an earlier incident. UEFA has ordered Fenerbahçe to play behind closed doors for fans’ throwing objects to the stadium during last month’s BATE Borisov game, which was also being played behind closed doors.
If it manages to hold on to the score, the quarterfinal success will mark Fenerbahçe’s biggest achievement in the Europa League.
Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman said, “There is this air that the tie is over yet. But concentration is crucial, if you lose it for just one second it can be really bad.”
Midfielder Selçuk Şahin agreed.
“We have an advantage, but we are not in the quarterfinals yet,” Şahin said. “We will play with the same discipline.”
Elsewhere, two former Champions League winners will try to bounce back from defeats in the Europa League.
Yet, while Chelsea is in a positive frame of mind as it looks to overturn a 1-0 deficit to Steaua Bucharest, Inter Milan is in the grip of a crisis heading into a return match against Tottenham already 3-0 behind.
Italian media are speculating that the jobs of coach Andrea Stramaccioni and sports director Marco Branca are on the line if things don’t turn around soon.
“I think my job will be judged at the end of the season, not now,” Stramaccioni said yesterday. “Then it will be up to the president (Massimo Moratti) what to do. Moratti is angry and so are we.”
Chelsea will be confident of bringing down Steaua, having come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Manchester United in the FA Cup on March 10. That display at least showed Chelsea is behind interim coach Rafa Benitez, even if most of the fans are not.