No prize given for honesty as player turns himself in to ref

No prize given for honesty as player turns himself in to ref

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
No prize given for honesty as player turns himself in to ref

This set of photos show Bursaspor’s Turgay Bahadır confessing to referee Kamil Abitoğlu, admitting that he handballed in the build-up to a goal that would be disallowed during the team’s Samsunspor game. AA photo

Is there something such as a prize for good conduct in football? The answer is no, if referee Kamil Abitoğlu’s decision to punish Bursaspor’s Turgay Bahadır for turning himself in is anything to go by.

During the first half of the match day’s closing game, Turgay passed a high ball to teammate Stanislav Sestak, only for the Slovakian forward to score past Samsunspor goalkeeper Ahmet Şahin on Nov. 21. After allowing the goal, Abitoğlu was immediately surrounded by visitors’ players, who heatedly claimed Turgay had handled the ball. Abitoğlu then called Turgay and asked if the claims were true. The Vienna-born attacker admitted that Samsunspor’s players were right in their appeals and that, yes, he had handled the ball.

“He asked me if I had [handled], and I told him the truth,” Bahadır told NTV Spor television channel following the game. “I would do the same if that happened in the Champions League final. At the end of the day, everybody would see that the ball struck my arm.”

However, Turgay’s honesty was not received with similar goodwill. His team’s goal was not only disallowed, but he was shown a yellow card, much to the player’s surprise.

“I did fair play to him,” Turgay said. “I wish he did fair play to me as well by not showing me a yellow card.”

In the second half, Michael Basser scored a goal that actually counted for Bursaspor, so Turgay would have had no reason to be upset if not for the yellow card that could have been withheld.

If Turgay caused his team to lose a goal, he could have found consolation in the weekend’s opening match. Both goals of the Mersin İdman Yurdu vs. Trabzonspor match were scored from own goals. Trabzonspor defender Giray Kaçar put a cross ball into his own net to give Mersin the lead, but the scoreline was equaled when the one-man wall of Andre Moritz could not put Adrian Mierzejewski’s free kick anywhere other than his own goal.

Clumsiness from defenders was not limited to that game. Istanbul BB defender Ekrem Ekşioğlu put Antalyaspor midfielder Ali Zitouni’s possibly wide shot into his own net. Ekrem’s own goal paved the way for a debut-match disappointment for new coach Arif Erdem, who took over the Istanbul BB coaching job after Abdullah Avcı was appointed to the Turkish national football team hot seat.

Erdem is best remembered for the striking partnership he formed with Hakan Şükür at Galatasaray, but he is not best remembered for the 105 goals he scored for the Lions. He had a reputation for diving in the area to win penalties for his team. He was so notorious that Turkey’s popular mock news website reported Istanbul BB was getting ready to start “holding its training sessions at the Istanbul State Theater.” It is tough for players to get rid of such tags, and Erdem will try to fight that image along with other things during his spell.

Mostly having a reputation for being a joker and a crowd-pleaser, Emanuel Eboue may have to cope with a similar prejudice from referees and rival fans alike. The Ivory Coast defender was subjected to a hail of thrown objects – from water bottles to lighters – from Beşiktaş supporters during Galatasaray visit to the Fiyapı İnönü Stadium, but many football fans decided to focus on the fact that Eboue played the matter up somewhat. He held his head when a bottle visibly hit his stomach and the fact that he was the victim is likely to be overshadowed by and fans and members of the media who are quick to label a player as theatrical.

The Beşiktaş-Galatasaray derby provided no goals but dished out a great spectacle and started many debates (including whether the attacks on Eboue were racist) as Turkey’s derbies usually do. A football fan can do nothing but wait in earnest for the Dec. 7 meeting between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, the fiercest rivals of all.

Down south, further from the title challenge, there was a victory that had crucial significance for the league’s bottom team. Ankaragücü beat Kardemir Karabük to claim its first win this season. It was not enough to drag the team off the bottom, but it was a start nevertheless.