Knocked out of Europe, Beşiktaş eyes derby victory
AA PhotoBeşiktaş will play against Fenerbahçe this weekend in a crucial game for the Spor Toto Super League title race, the only target the Istanbul club now has for this season after being knocked out of Europa League competition.
Beşiktaş lost 3-1 at home against Club Brugge on March 19 in the second leg of a Europa League final 16 round tie and bid farewell to the competition on 5-1 aggregate.
Ramon Motta gave the home side some hope of advancing when he scored outside the penalty box in the 48th minute. However, the visitors did not panic and Tom De Sutter’s second of the tie brought them level in the 60th minute before Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo’s late double sent Michel Preudhomme’s side through.
The Black Eagles will now concentrate on the Istanbul derby at Fenerbahçe on March 22 to extend its league atop the league standings.
Speaking after the Club Brugge game, Beşiktaş coach Slaven Bilic said they were disappointed, but there was not much time for grief.
“We are really sorry, but we have a very important match on Sunday to prepare for,” Bilic said at a post-game press conference. “We will start our preparations as soon as possible,” he added.
The club’s spokesperson, Metin Albayarak, also said the team will now focus on the Fenerbahçe game to continue its chances of a league title.
Beşiktaş will also try to beat the odds and break its Istanbul derby jinx against Fenerbahçe. The Black Eagles have not won in their last 10 away games against their Istanbul rival, losing six of them since a 4-3 victory on April 17, 2005. In those games, Beşiktaş conceded 18 goals, while scoring only nine.
While two title hopefuls clash, the third contestant, Galatasaray, will be out to make the best of it when it travels a few kilometers to Kasımpaşa on March 21.
Galatasaray will re-take the lead it lost to Beşiktaş last week if it beats Kasımpaşa and Fenerbahçe triumphs in the derby game.
Beşiktaş sits atop the standings with 54 points, followed by Galatasaray with 52 and Fenerbahçe with 50.
Fourth-placed Bursaspor, trailing the top three by nine points, will travel to Sivasspor on March 21, while Istanbul Başakşehir, which sits in the fifth spot one point behind Bursaspor, hosts toughie Gençlerbirliği on March 22.
In the weekend’s other games, Kayser Erciyesspor entertains Çaykur Rizespor and Mersin İdmanyurdu takes on Gaziantepspor at home on March 21, and Trabzonspor will need a victory on March 22 at home against Akhisar Belediye to keep its chances of clinching a Europa League berth for next season alive.