League fever resumes after tense Turkey Cup games
The Spor Toto Super League will continue this weekend with week 24 matches, as tensions between title hopefuls rise amid fierce criticism of referees.
Tensions peaked on the night of March 1 when Beşiktaş hosted Fenerbahçe in a Turkish Cup semifinal first leg game at Vodafone Park, four days after it won a league game 3-1 at the same venue against its city rival.
The cup game ended in a 2-2 draw, with three players, two from Fenerbahçe and one from Beşiktaş, being sent off amid aggression from both teams throughout the match.
Beşiktaş found the first goal in the 14th minute with Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo, though Fenerbahçe responded with its own Spanish striker, Roberto Soldado.
Fenerbahçe midfielder Alper Potuk was shown his second yellow card in the 44th minute, leaving his team with 10 men on the field. The visiting side’s defender Şenol Özbayraklı gave his team a 2-1 lead just before the end of the first half.
The second half saw Ricardo Quaresma, who replaced Domagoj Vida, shown a red card in the 52nd minute after a brawl between the two sides’ players stopped the match for about 10 minutes.
Fenerbahçe goalkeeper Volkan Demirel was also shown his second yellow card and was sent off in the 76th minute following an argument with the head and assistant referees.
Fenerbahçe’s substitute goalkeeper Carlos Kameni was picking the ball out of his net moments after he stepped onto the pitch, when Anderson Talisca’s shot hit Fenerbahçe defender Hasan Ali Kaldırım and went in. After the game, Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman complained about the “hostile atmosphere” at Vodafone Park, saying “there is no point in talking about the game.”
“The first game [on Feb. 25] was the same. Strange things are happening here. Excessive roughness, unbelievable tolerance [from the referee]. It is a miracle that we are leaving here with a draw,” Kocaman said in the post-game press conference.
Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş was not happy either.
“I listened to coach [Kocaman], he referred to the referee. I’m not happy with the referee either. Everybody is complaining, I cannot understand it. There is no point in me talking,” Güneş said.
Fenerbahçe will now host Akhisarspor on March 4 in the Spor Toto Super League, while Beşiktaş will travel to Trabzonspor on March 5 in the closing game of the week. The top two clubs in the standings, leader Galatasaray and Başakşehir, in second spot on goal difference, play their game on March 3. Başakşehir entertains İzmir club Göztepe at home in an afternoon game, while Galatasaray travels to cellar-dweller Karabükspor later in the day.
Also on March 3, Kasımpaşa hosts Osmanlıspor. In the March 4 games, Gençlerbirliği hopes to extend its 10-game unbeaten streak when it hosts Alanyaspor, relegation-threatened Konyaspor takes on Malatyaspor at home, and Antalyaspor visits Sivasspor.