Fenerbahçe ends season on a high with cup victory
Fenerbahçe won their sixth Turkish Cup by beating Trabzonspor thanks to an early goal by Moussa Sow. AA photoFenerbahçe retained its Ziraat Turkish Cup on May 22 after defeating Trabzonspor with a solitary goal by striker Moussa Sow, in a tense game that was preceded and followed by brawls.
For the Yellow Canaries, runners-up in the Spor Toto Super League and semifinalists of UEFA’s Europa League competition, it was the 64th game of a congested season. Coach Aykut Kocaman was understandably happy to end the long season on a high note.
“We needed to cap a long and tiring season with a trophy,” Kocaman said.
The 48-year-old coach said that his team had started the league campaign badly and so had to chase Galatasaray throughout the season, which was not easy. He also said the Europa League had gone well, but the team had fallen at the final hurdle.
“We only had the Turkish Cup left,” Kocaman said. “We are happy to have capped a 64-match marathon with a trophy.”
Fenerbahçe retains title
The win meant Fenerbahçe would be on top of the podium of the Turkish Cup for the second time in a row. Last year, Fenerbahçe ended an infamous 29-year drought in the competition with a 4-0 win over Bursaspor.
On May 22, Sow’s early goal, thanks to a clever pass by Mehmet Topal, made the difference but one of the main talking points was Trabzonspor midfielder Didier Zokora’s heavy challenge on Emre Belözoğlu. Ref Fırat Aydınus booked Zokora for the tackle.
The enmity between the two players dates back to a game last season when Zokora alleged that Emre racially abused him. Emre was handed a two-game ban for insulting Zokora, but the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) did not charge him for racism. In the first game after the incident on May 7, 2012, Zokora took a harsh kick between Emre’s legs.
Speaking after the cup final, the Turkish midfielder was nonchalant when reporters questioned him about Zokora’s foul.
“If I had made that foul, you would have put me on the death row,” the former Inter, Newcastle and Atletico Madrid midfielder said. “How dare I say a word about Zokora, one beloved son of this country. I don’t want to speak about it.”
The Emre-Zokora feud is not the only controversy between the two teams, since the match-fixing case in 2011 also left an indelible mark on the relations between the two giants.
Fenerbahçe, whose chairman Aziz Yıldırım and some board members were given prison sentences for attempting match-fixing in the Spor Toto Super League’s 2010-2011 season, when they won the title on goal difference over Trabzonspor. The Turkish Football Federation (TFF), however, did not impose any bans on clubs in the match-fixing scandal, prompting reactions from Trabzonspor, which applied for being handed the trophy.
Following the defeat on May 22, Trabzonspor goalkeeper Tolga Zengin shouted “You are all match-fixers” at the VIP stands.
Outside the stadium, Trabzonspor fans clashed with the police.
Later in the night, three Trabzonspor fans were killed in a road accident in Giresun, on their way to home after leaving the Ankara 19 Mayıs Stadium.
Fener seals Alper deal
Fenerbahçe has signed midfielder Alper Potuk from Eskişehirspor on May 22, winning a hot transfer battle over archrival Galatasaray.
The 21-year-old, who was tipped to be one of the hottest transfer targets for the top clubs in the window, will sign a five-year deal with Fener.
On May 22, minutes before the team’s Ziraat Turkish Cup final kick-off, the club released Alper’s first photographs with a Fenerbahçe jersey.
Eskişehirspor will receive 6.5 million euros in addition to right back Orhan Şam and forward Henri Bienvenu as part of the deal.
On May 20, the press reported that Galatasaray agreed with Eskişehir for 5.5 million plus midfielders Yiğit Gökoğlan and Emmanuel Culio for the young attacker. However, 24 hours later, Fenerbahçe increased the offer and Galatasaray conceded that it would not go into a bidding war for the player.