Last minute violence marks Fenerbahçe’s farewell to title dream
DHA PhotoFenerbahçe was determined not to go down in the title race without a fight, both literally and figuratively, as the last minutes of their 2-2 draw away at Başakşehirspor, which gave archrival Galatasaray the league title, ended with a spree of red cards and two Fener players dangerously kicking their rivals.
Two early second-half goals by home side Başakşehir, which was fighting for fourth place in the Turkish Spor Toto Super League and qualification for next year’s UEFA Europe League, disappointed Fenerbahçe, which was chasing leaders Galatasaray from three point behinds with one game to spare.
But Fenerbahçe was determined not to give in without a fight, as the intensity of the match skyrocketed.
Digeo Ribas’s 81th minute shot from a narrow angle inside the box reduced the cushion to one, but this was only two minutes before Fener fell one man short when Mehmet Topuz kicked his rival on purpose and was sent off. Still, the Yellow Canaries found an equalizer with Pierre Webo in the 88th minute.
In the second minute into injury time, Fenerbahçe’s Bruno Alvez cut the ball with his arm on the goal line, causing a penalty and being sent off. Caner Erkin was also sent off due to his reaction to the referee.
Başakşehir failed to convert the penalty.
Shortly after, Webo’s harsh kick to the neck of Alexandru Epureanu also earned a red card, leaving his side with seven men.
However, referee Ali Palabıyık preferred to fine Volkan Demirel with a yellow when the Fener goalkeeper kicked his rival in front of the rival box area, which could have left Fener with six men and resulted in a game suspension.
A win by decision, the UEFA code applied when a team is reduced to six men, would have guaranteed Başakşehir fourth place, which is now at 58 points, two points above rivals Bursaspor and Trabzonspor, Fenerbahçe’s historic rivals.