Fenerbahçe closes on leader Galatasaray with 4-1 victory against Bursa

Fenerbahçe closes on leader Galatasaray with 4-1 victory against Bursa

Fenerbahçe closes on leader Galatasaray with 4-1 victory against Bursa

Senegalese striker Moussa Sow continued his good form, scoring his team's fourth goal in the 88th minute. AA photo

Fenerbahçe earned a crucial 4-1 victory in tonight’s Turkish Super League showdown against Bursaspor, with goals from Emre Belözoğlu, Raul Meireles, Dirk Kuyt and Moussa Sow.

Bursaspor, fourth before the encounter, took the lead at Fenerbahçe’s Şükrü Saraçoğlu stadium with Stanislav Sestak’s early goal, but failed to hold off their rivals during the second half of the game.

With the win, the Yellow Canaries closed the gap between them and eternal rivals Galatasaray following the latter’s surprising defeat at home against Gençlerbirliği on March 8 and Beşiktaş’s goalless draw with Trabzonspor yesterday. Fenerbahçe is now tied for second with Beşiktaş, four points behind leader Galatasaray.

Fenerbahçe was forced to abandon its possession-based game early, conceding the opener in just the second minute. But the hosts did not wait long to find the equalizer, scoring with a well-taken shot by Emre in the 12th minute. The Turkish international, however, was injured in the 23rd minute and replaced by Mehmet Topal.

The second goal came from Emre’s partner in the midfield, Meireles, in the 50th minute, following a huge mistake by Bursaspor’s English goalkeeper Scott Carson. After a dangerous center into the area, Carson failed to block the ball and it fell in front of Meireles who, unguarded, only had to push it into the net. The visitors protested that Meireles was offside and that Sow committed a foul that eventually hindered Carson from grabbing the ball, but the referee ruled to let the goal stand.

With Bursaspor taking greater risks in an effort to stage a comeback, Fenerbahçe found more space to create opportunities. In one of such offensive surges, former Liverpool player Kuyt made the score 3-1 in the 75th minute following a center from Caner Erkin. The host’s Senegalese star Sow, very active during the whole game, registered the final tally in the 88th minute.

Fenerbahçe will now prepare for the second leg of its Europa League Round of 16 game against Victoria Plzen on March 14. Despite having to play behind closed doors following an incident where supporters deployed flares into the stadium from outside using small parachutes during their previous UEFA encounter, Fenerbahçe is one step ahead their rivals after a 1-0 victory in the Czech Republic on March 7.