Fenerbahçe, Orduspor both seek clean breaks
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Fenerbahçe defender Joseph Yobo (L) is challenged by an Orduspor player during the two teams’ first Spor Toto Super League match earlier this season.Orduspor and Fenerbahçe meet tonight in a Spor Toto Super League game that brings together two troubled sides hoping to make a clean break in the new year.
Defending champion Fenerbahçe finished 2011 as a year that has seen extreme highs and lows. First, the team ended its four-year title drought with a memorable comeback performance including winning 17 of its last 18 matches but risked losing it all.
An investigation, which went public July 3, 2011, started with claims that some of Fenerbahçe’s games were allegedly manipulated, and dominated the second half of Fenerbahçe’s season. The team saw four top officials, including Chairman Aziz Yıldırım, jailed pending trial and was at the center of the trademark case, although it included 93 officials, players and coaches from eight different teams.
On the pitch, Fenerbahçe did very well considering it lost several key players following a Turkish Football Federation (TFF) decision to bar the team from appearing in the Champions League. Although it played a full 17 games under the cloud that it could be its last in the top-flight due to a possible relegation ban, Fenerbahçe started the second part of the tournament two points behind leader Galatasaray.
The competition Orduspor seeks a clean break with its new coach Hector Cuper.
The Argentinean coach, best known for his spells at Inter Milan and Valencia, arrived in Istanbul yesterday, where he would later leave for Ordu’s Black Sea neighbor Samsun.
Cuper, who has a notorious record of losing three successive European competition finals from 1998 to 2001 with Mallorca and Valencia, will try to turn things around at Orduspor.
“I like a good challenge, and I know the Turkish league is a competitive league,” he said to reporters at Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport. “I hope I will do well here.”
Newcomer Orduspor is 14th in the 18-team standings after losing seven consecutive matches. Before that streak, Orduspor enjoyed a good start to the league, which saw it climb to the second spot.
Cuper is arriving in Turkey amid reports that he was listed as a suspect in the Italian match-fixing case. Orduspor Chairman Nedim Türkmen refused reports saying Cuper was involved in the match-fixing case.
“We have counseled Mr. Cuper’s lawyers and can confirm he has no involvement in the case,” he said to Doğan News Agency Jan. 2. “He is neither a suspect, nor involved in the case.”
Elsewhere tonight is Beşiktaş vs. Eskişehirspor, Gençlerbirliği vs. Samsunspor and Gaziantepspor vs. Antalyaspor.