Beşiktaş enjoys perfect run on European stage

Beşiktaş enjoys perfect run on European stage

Beşiktaş enjoys perfect run on European stage

Beşiktaş fans were in seventh heaven on Oct. 18, a day after the Istanbul club became the first Turkish club to win its first three games in the Champions League group stage.

The 2-1 win away at Monaco was also Beşiktaş’s first away victory against a French team.

Striker Cenk Tosun scored twice as Beşiktaş came from behind to win on Oct. 17, putting them on the threshold of qualifying for the knockout stage.

“I’m delighted to have won nine points in three games,” Tosun said after the match.

“From now on, maybe just a draw will be enough [to advance], but we will do our best to win our remaining games,” he added.

Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş, who has been under fire for his team’s three-game winless streak in the Turkish Super League, praised his players for their efforts and concentration.

“We came from one goal behind, but we played without losing our discipline,” said the experienced coach, who led his side to the last two Turkish league titles.

“We were constantly in control [of the game] and our concentration was at the highest level. We had more chances because we worked hard,” Güneş added.

He noted that Beşiktaş now has the advantage in the group but the race is not yet over.

“Our chances in the group have increased a little but there are no guarantees. We have the advantage, but even Monaco, who lost tonight, still has a chance to advance,” he said.

With Liepzig beating Porto 3-2 in Group G’s other game, Monaco still has a mathematical chance and plays Beşiktaş away on Nov. 1.

With three games left, Leipzig has four points and Porto has three points.

“It was a balanced game, competitive from both sides. The difference was that they were more efficient,” Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said. “They were more mature in the key moments. But the attitude and hard work of our players is the path to follow, and they gave their all.”

Radamel Falcao put Monaco ahead in the 30th minute after running onto Balde Keita’s well-timed pass and guiding the ball into the right corner. It was the Colombia striker’s 13th goal of the season.

Monaco’s lead lasted just three minutes, as weak defending allowed veteran right winger Ricardo Quaresma space to ping an accurate cross that Tosun met with a close-range header for the Turkish visitors.

Last week, Tosun scored twice for Turkey against Finland in a World Cup qualifier. Last season, he netted 20 league goals for the Istanbul side.

Tosun showed those poaching instincts, finishing neatly after midfielder Tolgay Arslan’s shot came back off the post in the 54th.

Monaco scored more than 150 goals in all competitions last season, winning the league in style and falling to Italian champion Juventus in the Champions League semifinals. But this side has none of the same verve after key players were sold in the offseason.

Winger Ryan Babel had an early goal ruled out for offside for Beşiktaş, with television replays showing he was level with the defender.

Veteran defender Pepe was lucky to avoid a red card as the last man after hauling down striker Keita Blade, and from the free kick goalkeeper Fabri punched away Thomas Lemar’s effort, in a rare Monaco chance.