Fenerbahçe coach under fire after Marseille failure

Fenerbahçe coach under fire after Marseille failure

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Fenerbahçe coach under fire after Marseille failure

Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman’s (R) decisions during his team’s Europa League game against Marseille cost the team dearly, surrendering a two-goal lead. AA photo

Pressure on coach Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman is mounting after his club surrendered a two-goal lead against Marseille in the Europa League on Sept. 20.

The southern French club snatched a dramatic 2-2 draw against Fenerbahçe in the first match day of the Europa League.

Fenerbahçe started on a high note and took the lead through Caner Erkin in the first half, while Alex de Souza doubled the advantage in the second half.

However, Mathieu Valbuena cut the gap to one goal in the 83rd minute and Andre Ayew scored a dramatic equalizer in the dying seconds of the game.

Fenerbahçe fans put the blame on Kocaman, who substituted Moussa Sow and Alex, bringing in Henri Bienvenu and Cristian Baroni in their respective places.

Chants calling for Kocaman to resign were heard at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium.

Speaking after the game, Kocaman said he did not hear the chants and added that he would not speak on the issue.

The substitution of Alex seemed to be crucial, with the entry of Baroni limiting Fenerbahçe’s attacking options. Alex, on the other hand, looked up for the game despite coming off fresh controversy.

Kocaman left Alex on the bench for a crucial Spartak Moscow game earlier this season and left him out of the squad for another game after the Brazilian star took to Twitter to complain about the issue.

Alex, a fan favorite at Fenerbahçe, recently returned to play regularly at the club, and his early substitution on Sept. 20 will be another factor for criticism for Kocaman.

The Brazilian, however, refused to start another controversy after the game.

“We played well for 35 minutes of each half, but then gave the ball away,” Alex told NTV Spor after the game. “That I scored or not, that does not matter. What counts is that what we do as a team.”

Kocaman said his decisions did not play the biggest part in the disappointing defeat.

“I made those substitutions for a reason,” Kocaman said. “Those changes were not the only reason for the draw.”

Fenerbahçe meets Trabzonspor in a crucial Spor Toto Super League game on Sept.