Beşiktaş advances on pitch, knocked out by court decision
Beşiktaş, along with Istanbul rival Fenerbahçe, was handed a suspension from European competitions by UEFA for its involvement in the manipulation of Turkish football matches in the 2010-11 season. AA photoBeşiktaş was left out of the Europa League despite winning its game after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Aug. 30 rejected an appeal by Beşiktaş to overturn its match-fixing ban from European competition, approving a one-year suspension against the Black Eagles.
Norway’s Tromso, which Beşiktaş knocked out of the Europa League 3-2 on aggregate Aug. 29, replaced the Istanbul club in the group stage, while Greek Cypriot club Apoel was given the place that was vacant after Fenerbahçe’s ejection from the competition based on a similar CAS decision.
The news came as a shock to Beşiktaş, which enjoyed a 2-0 victory against Tromso at Istanbul’s Olympic Stadium last night. However, the club will continue on its way, Beşiktaş chairman Fikret Orman said.
“No punishment can hurt the greatness of Beşiktaş,” Orman was quoted as saying by daily Hürriyet. “Of course we are said to be left out of the European competition this season, but the path is way open from this point. Beşiktaş is united with its footballers, supporters and technical staff, a fact proven in the Tromso match. This ruling should bring us closer and our march should go on.”
Tromso is happy to advance despite the loss. “I am sorry for Beşiktaş, because they deserved the victory, but my players were very happy when they learned about the situation this morning,” Tromso coach Agnar Christensen told reporters at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport Aug. 30. “Beşiktaş is a good team and we have great relations, the situation is sad for them but it is the fact.”
Two back-to-back goals from Hugo Almeida and Oğuzhan Özyakup at the beginning of the second half Aug. 29 helped the Black Eagles overturn their deficit from the first leg and clinch a 3-2 aggregate victory.
The Norwegians resisted well during the first half against Beşiktaş’s assaults, relying on counter-attacks to threaten Tolga Zengin’s goal.
However, the introduction of young talent Oğuzhan Özyakup by coach Slaven Bilic at the start of second half tipped the balance, sharpening Beşiktaş’s attacking thrust. The first goal came through a header by Hugo Almeida in the 52nd minute, after a Manuel Fernandez free kick awarded after a foul committed on Özyakup.
The youngster, who is a product of Arsenal’s youth academy, increased the gap two minutes later with a neat shot inside Tromso’s area.
Over 60,000 Beşiktaş supporters, who succeeded in giving the impression that Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium was full, made their Gezi protests tribute in the 34th minute, in what is fast becoming a Turkish football tradition.
Beşiktaş coach Slaven Bilic was hopeful after the game ahead of the CAS ruling. “If the CAS rules against the appeal, it will be a great injustice to us, to the players and to the 60,000 fans who gathered tonight to support Beşiktaş,” Bilic told a post game press conference. “The ruling should have been announced yesterday or today, announcing it tomorrow is unfair. And it will be unfair if we are left out.”