Beşiktaş launches league title defense with victory while Fenerbahçe falters
AA photoDefending champion Beşiktaş made a winning start to the new Spor Toto Super League season by beating Antalyaspor 2-0, while city rival Fenerbahçe was held to a 2-2 draw at newcomer Göztepe over the weekend.
Another newcomer, Malatyaspor, made its debut on the top flight with a 3-1 victory over Osmanlıspor on Aug. 13, while Alanyaspor lost 3-1 at home to Kasımpaşa on Aug. 12.
Striker Burak Yılmaz, who joined Trabzonspor from Chinese club Sinobo Guoan two weeks ago, scored a double to lead his side to a 2-1 victory over Konyaspor at home on Aug. 13.
Akhisar Belediye won 1-0 against Sivasspor and Gençlerbirliği and Karabükspor shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw on Aug. 12, while last year’s runner-up Başakşehir ran out 1-0 victors against Bursaspor in the opening game of the season on Aug. 11.
Galatasaray was due to host Kayserispor late on Aug. 14 in the last game of the season’s first week.
Star defender Pepe was the only new player that Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş fielded in his team against Antalyaspor on Aug. 13, and he played a crucial role in the victory by scoring his team’s opening goal in the final minutes of the first half.
Cenk Tosun scored the second, successfully converting a penalty in the 64th minute.
“I’m delighted to have helped my team,” Pepe, who joined the Istanbul club from Real Madrid last month, said after the game.
“Scoring is not my job. I’ll be happy if I score but my priority is to play a good defense,” the Brazilian added.
Pepe also voiced his surprise at playing his Beşiktaş debut in front of no spectators, as the match was played behind closed doors due to a one-match ban Beşiktaş received for its fans’ unruly behavior in the Turkish Super Cup final on Aug. 6.
“It was weird. But we focused on our job and got a good result,” he said.
Coach Güneş was satisfied with the result.
“We want to play with more tempo,” the experienced coach said in a post-game press conference. “We are not fully ready yet but that’s normal.”
Güneş said the period until the break for international games at the beginning of next month will be used for further preparations.
“Getting into form too early generally does not work to a team’s advantage. It is not a bad result to win against a defensive team 2-0 without the support of our fans, but we expect to play well in every game. We will work for that,” he added.
Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman, meanwhile, said “individual mistakes” brought the unexpected draw at Göztepe.
“Our job is to field the right players at the right time,” Kocaman told reporters when asked about his choice to start the game with veteran goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, who was severely criticized for one of the goals he conceded.
“The road to the title goes through not conceding easy goals,” the coach added. “There are new additions to the squad and there will be others too. Their participation will have a positive effect on all players.”