Fenerbahçe hosts BATE in ‘silent night’

Fenerbahçe hosts BATE in ‘silent night’

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Fenerbahçe hosts BATE in ‘silent night’

Fenerbahçe right back Gökhan Gönül celebrates a goal during his team’s 3-0 victory over Trabzonspor in a Spor Toto Super League game. Fenerbahçe will need to beat BATE tonight in order to qualify for the next stage in the Europa League.

Fenerbahçe hosts BATE Borisov tonight, hoping to advance to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League.

The Yellow Canaries will try to win the tie after salvaging a 0-0 draw against the Belarusian side last week. The Istanbul club managed to overcome a stern challenge from BATE despite playing virtually all of the game with 10 men after midfielder Raul Meireles was sent off just three minutes into the game.

Fenerbahçe will need a win to overcome the solid Belarusian side, but it will be without its fan support at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium due to a UEFA ban of playing behind closed doors. Fenerbahçe was handed the ban due to objects thrown from the stands in an earlier European game this season.

The game will be Fenerbahçe’s 180th match in European cups.

Out of 179 games Fener got 62 victories, 34 draws and 83 defeats.

The Fenerbahçe vs. BATE Borisov is one of 16 ties tonight.

Titleholder Atletico Madrid will try to overturn a 2-0 defeat in the first leg when it visits Rubin Kazan.

Another Russian side, Zenit, also holds a 2-0 advantage over Liverpool when it is going to Anfield.

Zenit midfielder Axel Witsel believes the Russian champion can progress to the Europa League last 16 at Liverpool’s expense.

Last week Brazilian striker Hulk and veteran midfielder Sergei Semak struck in the space of three second half minutes to leave Liverpool with a mountain to climb at Anfield in the return leg.

Zenit confident

And Witsel said: “Liverpool are a very good team but we were the better side last Thursday. We clinched a two-goal advantage keeping our net clean in the first match.

“Our chances in the return leg look good as Liverpool need to score three goals to advance.”

The 24-year-old Belgian international added: “Of course Liverpool will try to turn the situation in their favor and I expect a very tough match. But we are also preparing for this clash seriously and I believe we can resist their pressure.”

With the Russian League still in its winter hibernation and not due to resume until March 9 Zenit’s win over Liverpool was its first official match of the 2013.

Zenit is seeking its second taste of European glory after beating fallen Scottish giants Rangers for the then UEFA Cup title in 2008.

Inter Milan also holds a two-goal advantage when it travels to Rmania to face Cluj, just like Ajax has against Steaua Bucharest.

Portuguese giant Benfica will try to protect a valuable 1-0 away win when it hosts Bayer leverkusen.

Title contender Chelsea also has a 1-0 away win when it hosts Sparta Prague.

The biggest shock of the first leg game when unheralded Czech outfit Plzen crushed Napoli 3-0 on away soil to get a huge advantage of going through.

Wealthy Russian side Anzhi visits Hannover after a 3-1 home victory last week.

Spain’s Levante is likely to book its ticket to the next round after a 3-0 win over Olympiacos.

Tottenham Hotspur has beaten Lyon 2-1 last week and tonight’s game in France will be a crucial battle between the two important teams.