Istanbul rivals out for cup derby
AA photoA well-motivated Turkish Spor Toto Super League leader Beşiktaş will take on archrival Fenerbahçe on Feb. 5 in a Ziraat Turkey Cup last 16 stage “do or die” game.
Beşiktaş, which climbed to the top of the standings on matchday 18, put five goals past a strong Konyaspor on Jan. 30 to maintain a two-point cushion over Medipol Başakşehir.
“Despite facing a difficult opponent, we made the game easy for ourselves with early goals and by keeping the ball in their own half,” coach Şenol Güneş said after the game. “Our striker Cenk Tosun had a great match with a hat-trick, but he must run more up front.”
Still, more rivalry awaits Cenk, as fan favorite Demba Ba, who played for the Black Eagles during the 2014/2015 season, contributing 18 goals in 29 matches, rejoined the squad on loan from the Shanghai Shenhua FC of China.
“I can’t wait to step on that magical pitch of the Vodafone Arena,” said the Senegalese striker after signing his contract.
Ba is not the only former Black Eagle returning to the nest from the east, as defender Ersan Adem Gülüm also arrived from Hebei China Fortune on loan after a one-year break.
Winger Ryan Babel and defender Matej Mitrovic are the two other newcomers, who all signed in a ceremony on Jan. 30.
‘We are Fenerbahçe’
Fenerbahçe, meanwhile, is looking to find some relief following a 4-1 league defeat against Kayserispor away.
The Yellow Canaries are in fourth spot in the league, nine points behind Beşiktaş.
Coach Dick Advocaat’s options have not been widened during the summer break but problematic striker Emmanuel Emenike and Dutch defender Gregory van der Wiel have been forgiven after a six-week ban due to discipline reasons.
Fener’s prolific Senegalese striker Moussa Sow has also returned from the Africa Cup of Nations after his side crashed out to Cameroon in the quarterfinals.
Sow said on the team’s official television channel that the fans had high expectation from them and that they would do everything to fulfill them.
“Beşiktaş seems to be in good shape recently. It is like the past season is continuing for them. They play well and fight well, but we are Fenerbahçe,” he said.
Başakşehir fans will some extra help up front when they host Galatasaray on Feb. 4 following the arrival of out-of-contract Togolese star Emmanuel Adebayor.
The Istanbul derby comes amid a close race between the two in the league, as Dutch coach Jan Olde Reikerink’s Galatasaray are just three points behind Abdullah Avcı’s dark horses.
In other cup action over the weekend, Istanbul’s third-tier Tuzlaspor will take on second-tier Sivasspor on Feb. 4, Kayserispor visits Gençlerbirliği. Second-tier Şanlıurfaspor will also take on Çaykur Rizespor.
On Feb. 5, Konyaspor will host second-tier Ümraniyespor as Istanbul’s Kasımpaşa meets Ankara’s Osmanlıspor.
The draw for the quarterfinals will be held on Feb. 7.