Istanbul’s wounded Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray looking for redemption
AA PhotoFenerbahçe, the Turkish title contender which suffered a 3-1 home loss against Norwegian underdog Molde in a UEFA Europa League Group A qualifier game on Sept. 17, will take on Bursaspor in the Turkish Spor Toto Super League, as rival Galatasaray, which bowed out to Atletico Madrid Sept. 16, will visit Trabzonspor.
The Molde loss was a total surprise for Fenerbahçe, decorated with world stars such as the Netherlands’ Robin Van Persie and Portugal’s Nani.
After the Norwegian team’s captain, Daniel Hestad, was fouled in the box, center-forward Tommy Hoiland kicked a penalty into Fenerbahçe’s goal in the 36th minute.
Fenerbahçe right-winger Nani’s equalizer and the only goal for his team came six minutes later.
Molde left-winger Mohamed Elyounoussi and right-back Martin Linnes scored the goals that brought their team victory in the 53rd and 65th minutes, respectively.
Fenerbahçe will play against Bursa on Sept. 20, in a game where both teams will continue trying to find their best 11 after numerous summer signings.
Bursa coach Ertuğrul Sağlam said the Fenerbahçe game was a good chance to boost the team’s morale and climb the standings.
“We are expecting a difficult game when the strength of the rival and the [stadium] atmosphere is considered,” he said.
Galatarasay’s 2-0 Champion’s League loss was rather more considerable compared to Fener, as it faced a fit Atletico Madrid club in Istanbul.
However, coach Hamza Hamzaoğlu was already facing criticism, as his expensive team has gained only five points in the first four league games.
Fenerbahçe is now looking at the Trabzonspor-Galatasaray clash on Sept. 19, as it wants to defend its seat at the top of the list at 10 points, equal to Trabzon.
Çaykur Rizespor, another Black Sea team, will take on Antalyaspor on Sept. 19 as Medicana Sivasspor will host Torku Konyaspor.
Southeastern Gaziantepspor will play against Kayserispor on Sept. 20.
Beşiktaş, Istanbul’s third contender, will play against Gençlerbirliği in Ankara in the closing game of the week on Sept. 21 after finding enough time to rest following their away Europa League game against Albania’s Skenderbeu.
The Albanian champion was upset by Beşiktaş in the group’s opening match at Elbasan Arena in the Albanian city of Elbasan.
Beşiktaş attacking midfielder José Sosa struck the winning goal for the Black Eagles in the 28th minute, utilizing a header passed by striker Cenk Tosun.
“We are not afraid of Beşiktaş,” said Gençlerbirliği’s Mehmet Özdilek, also a former Beşiktaş star. “We will do all we can to win.”
His team generated nine points in its first four league games, equaling its rival.