Fenerbahçe starts April with European date against Lazio
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Fenerbahçe players celebrate a goal during their 2-0 win over Akhisar in the Super League. The Yellow Canaries will play eight games in April, a crucial month in their bid for a trophy treble. Fener is second in the Super League, it is semifinalist in the Turkish Cup and plays in the Europa League quarterfinals. DHA photoFenerbahçe starts a crucial month in its bid for a trophy treble, with a game against Lazio in the Europa League quarterfinal first leg.
The Yellow Canaries will play at least seven games in April, meaning that they will play two matches every week, in the Spor Toto Super League, the Ziraat Turkish Cup, and the Europa League.
Fenerbahçe trails Galatasaray by four points in the league, and will meet Eskişehirspor in the semifinal of the Turkish Cup.
But tonight, the focus will be on European stage, where the team will meet Lazio in the quarterfinal first leg.
This is already the best performance by Fenerbahçe in the competition, but it eyes going even further in the second-tier European club competition.
Coach Aykut Kocaman highlighted the importance of what is at stake for Fenerbahçe.
Kocaman says team is on a historic path
“We are on a historic path,” Kocaman told reporters earlier this week. “We have the chance to win three trophies. But we may end up with no trophies. It is really a knife edge situation for us. We have 16 final-like games ahead and we want to concentrate on them.”
Fenerbahçe will try to bank on its home team advantage tonight, since next week’s return game at Lazio will be played behind closed doors due to a supporters’ ban on the Italian club. Fenerbahçe knows a thing or two on how to survive a game without an atmosphere, as it served a two-game ban on its fans earlier in the competition. The Turkish club played its BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen games behind closed doors due to UEFA bans for fans throwing objects on the pitch. Fenerbahçe’s Dutch star Dirk Kuyt said the support of the fans would be crucial against Lazio.
“We have a very good squad of quality players and we have proved it many times this season,” Kuyt said. “We expect 90 minutes of support from our fans. We will win it altogether.”
Kuyt added that the team expected nothing other than victory in the competition.
Meanwhile, away from the Europa League, Fenerbahçe is continuing its chase of defending champion Galatasaray in the Turkish league.
After meeting relegation-battling Orduspor over the weekend, the team will play against three solid mid-table clubs, Eskişehirspor, Gençlerbirliği and Kayserispor, respectively. Galatasaray will meet four teams battling relegation in the next four weeks, with Mersin İdman Yurdu, Kardemir Karabükspor, Sanica Boru Elazığspor and Gaziantepspor being pitted against the Lions in April.
Fener’s April schedule includes a semifinal first-leg meeting against Eskişehirspor. The first-leg is set for April 17, but the return leg is not scheduled yet.
Tonight’s match against Lazio at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium starts at 10 p.m.