Fenerbahçe challenges undefeated Beşiktaş
DHA photoA rising Fenerbahçe, which has won its last eight games, will host historic rival Beşiktaş on Dec. 3 looking to maintain an 11-year undefeated record in derby games.
Beşiktaş, meanwhile, is out to extend its unbeaten run in three competitions – the Spor Toto Super League, Champions League and the Ziraat Turkey Cup.
But Fenerbahçe fans are entertaining great expectations from Moussa Sow, its prolific Senegalese striker who scored a hat-trick against Çaykur Rizespor last week, pacing his side to a 5-1 win.
Sow, who returned to the Istanbul side last summer following one year away with the United Arab Emirates’ al-Ahli, has scored seven goals against Beşiktaş in eight appearances.
Fenerbahçe stores now sell Sow jerseys with his name and number written upside-down in honor of recent bicycle-kick goals against Çaykur and Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League.
Sow has scored 65 goals for Fenerbahçe in 160 games, while assisting on 28 others.
Fener coach Dick Advocaat, who has received great praise in the Turkish media for the recent performance of the team following a bad start, also has confidence in his countryman Robin van Persie. The Dutch international, who scored in a derby against Galatasaray on Nov. 20 “is a very important player,” Advocaat said, adding that he should return to the national team.
Beşiktaş visits Fenerbahçe’s Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium two points behind leader Başakşehir, another Istanbul team which it drew 1-1 last week, and four points ahead of third-place Fenerbahçe.
The Black and Whites will be lucky to have Ricardo Quaresma on the pitch after the Portuguese midfielder escaped a booking and suspension in the Başakşehir game in the dying minutes.
Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş said after the game on Nov. 26 that he and his side were tired. The visitors, which engineered a historic comeback from three goals down against Benfica on Nov. 23 before appearing in the Turkey Cup on Nov. 29, will fly to Ukraine to meet Dynamo Kyiv to guarantee a qualification spot in the Champions League.
In the last 52 games of between the rivals, Fener have won 19, one more than Beşiktaş. It has also won 14 out of 35 games at the Şükrü Saracoğlu against Beşiktaş’s nine wins.
Beşiktaş’s last away victory in the fixture was on April 17, 2005, a 4-3 game for the ages when the 10-men Eagles scored the winner after seeing goalkeeper Oscar Cordoba sent off.
Başakşehir on 30 points will host Antalyaspor hours before the derby.
On Dec. 4, Alanyaspor will take on Konyaspor, Osmanlıspor will play against Kardemir Karabükspor and Gaziantepspor will host Akhisar Belediyespor.
Fourth-place Galatasaray will hope to stay within touching distance of the leaders when it visits Kasımpaşa, another Istanbul side. Adanaspor at the bottom will play against Gençlerbirliği.
On Dec. 5, Bursaspor will host Rizespor as Kayserispor will play at home against the Black Sea’s Trabzonspor.