Beşiktaş hangs in league race with eighth away win
DHA PhotoBeşiktaş players celebrate after striker Demba Ba scored a goal against Gençlerbirliği in a league game on Jan. 26.
Beşiktaş achieved its eighth win in nine away games this season against Ankara’s Gençlerbirliği, claiming the second spot on the Spor Toto Super League standings, one point behind the defending champions Fenerbahçe.
Playing away or home does not make much difference for the Istanbul side, evidenced by its playing home games in various venues due to its historic İnönü Stadium being reconstructed.
Croatian Beşiktaş coach Slaven Bilic referred to the situation as “playing on the road” after the game.
“We had to win at all costs because it was important for us to make a positive start in the second half of the season. We faced a tough and well-organized side tonight but deserved the victory, especially with our second-half performance;” he said. “Since our pitch is under construction, we are used to playing on away grounds. It is a valuable advantage.”
As for the game, despite setting themselves into an attacking fashion, both teams created very little in the first half and failed to break the deadlock. The Black Eagles’ scoring drought continued until the 69th minute when its prolific striker Demba Ba’s free-kick from just outside the box beat the home team’s goalkeeper Ramazan Köse at the near post.
Bilic also praised Gençlerbirliği for creating efficient counter-attacks, even though they failed to find the net.
“If they found a goal in the first 15 minutes of the second half, our job would have been much more difficult,” he said.
Olcay Şahan doubled the visitor’s lead with a one-touch shot from inside the box, closing the scoring for the night in the 77th minute.
“The free-kick goal was an important moment since it is always difficult to score the goal that breaks the deadlock,” Ba said in a postgame interview, congratulating teammate Kerim Frei, who replaced Oğuzhan Özyakup during the 63rd minute, powering up the team’s attacks.
Besiktaş’s Colombian center-back Pedro Franco saw a straight red late in the game.