Lions record long-sought win over Fenerbahçe to go top

Lions record long-sought win over Fenerbahçe to go top

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Lions record long-sought win over Fenerbahçe to go top

Galatasaray players congratulate Felipe Melo, (2L) who scored the third goal against Fenerbahçe. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Galatasaray is in a buoyant mood after wresting top spot in the Spor Toto Super League from Fenerbahçe with a convincing victory over their eternal rivals on Dec. 7.

The Lions were dominant from start to finish as they routed Fener 3-1 in front of 45,000 supporters at the Türk Telekom Arena in Istanbul.

Galatasaray’s first win over Fenerbahçe in more than three-and-a-half-years propelled them into top spot for the first time in two seasons.

Coach Fatih Terim heaped praise on his players after the game.

“My team put in a magnificent performance tonight, especially in the first half. That is the right word: magnificent,” he said during a post-match press conference.

Galatasaray piled on the pressure early against its rival, with forward Colin Kazım Richards, Milan Baros and Johan Elmander finding several chances. However, goalkeeper Volkan Demirel stopped no less than five clear-cut chances to keep his team in the game.

However, a brilliant individual effort by Emmanuel Eboue opened the scoring for Galatasaray in the 33rd minute. The Ivory Coast defender dribbled past Nigerian Joseph Yobo and put the ball into the net.

Galatasaray found a second before the break to put Fenerbahçe on the back foot. Elmander stole the ball from Brazilian defender Fabio Bilica, who was having a disastrous night, and entered the box from the left. He looked for a passing option before electing to shoot; Volkan got a hand to the ball, but it was not enough to prevent the Lions from doubling their lead.

The second half saw Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman bring attackers Semih Şentürk and Slovak Miroslav Stoch on, but Galatasaray was still sharp in counter attacks. One counter led to a corner, which resulted in Felipe Melo putting the ball into the net for the third time.

The star of last season’s 2-1 derby victory with one goal and an assist, Alex de Souza got his name on the score sheet with a last-minute goal, but the strike was purely academic.

It was the first time Galatasaray scored three goals against its archrival in almost two decades. During that period, Fenerbahçe was overwhelmingly dominant in the derby, which is the biggest rivalry in Turkish football, posting wins as big as 6-0 (2002) and 4-0 (2006).

The victory was, in some ways, a return to form for Galatasaray, but Terim said the team was only beginning.

“I had only one promise to Galatasaray fans: Creating a team that they would be proud of. Today we saw some parts of that,” Terim said. “We are a newly built team and we have a lot to do.”

Galatasaray now leads Fenerbahçe thanks to a superior goal difference as both teams sit on 28 points.
In other Dec. 7 games, Eskişehirspor beat Medical Park Antalyaspor 1-0 while the Kardemir Karabük vs. Gaziantepspor match ended in a goalless stalemate.