Wounded Fenebahçe aims to extend league lead
Fenerbahçe will aim to return to winning ways when it plays Kasımpaşa in the Turkish Süper Lig on Oct. 3 following a devastating loss in the Europa League.
The Istanbul club lost 3-0 to Olympiacos of Greece on Sept. 30 at home in a Group D match, with Brazilian striker Francisco Soares scoring an early goal for the visitors. Giorgos Masouras added two more in the 63rd and 68th minutes to put salt to Fenerbahçe’s wounds.
Coach Vitor Pereira is aware that he does not have much time to turn things around to avoid further slump.
“It is a difficult result for us; we have to make up for it on the road [in the group match in Athens],” he said.
“On Sunday, we need to give our fans the three points they deserve,” the Portuguese added, referring to the league leader’s Kasımpaşa match.
The experienced coach believes that his relatively young squad has the potential to be much better.
“I believe in the future of this team because it has quality and character,” Pereira said. “My players played with their emotions, not their minds. We are just gaining experience, making mistakes, and we want to fix these mistakes.”
The other Turkish club in the Europa League, Galatasaray, returned with one point from France after holding Marseille to a goalless draw on Sept. 30.
The club next travels to Rizespor for a Süper Lig game on Oct. 3.
There was tension at the Velodrome stadium as three police officers were injured after smoke bombs and firecrackers were thrown at the game.
The match was delayed by eight minutes late in the first half as projectiles were lobbed from the end of the stadium where fans of the Turkish club were grouped, officials said.
There were also clashes between rival sets of fans before calm was restored.
“Tonight, it took 550 police officers for a football match to take place. Three of them were injured; they have my full support,” prefect of police, Frederique Camilleri, wrote on Twitter.
Galatasaray fans were banned from traveling from Turkey for the high-risk game. However, the club boasts thousands of supporters throughout the rest of Europe.
“Our supporters are important to us. I asked them to stay calm. They listened to me,” Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim said after the game.
Trabzonspor, which trails Fenerbahçe by one point in league standings, visits Kayserispor on Oct. 2, while third-placed Altay will travel to Gaziantep on Oct. 3.
Defending champion Beşiktaş, licking its wound following a 2-0 loss at Ajax in a Champions League match on Sept. 28, will aim for its first league win in three matches, when it hosts Sivasspor on Oct. 2.
Elsewhere in the Süper Lig, Antalyaspor hosts Adana Demirspor, Karagümrük plays city rival Başakşehir at home, Alanyaspor visits Konyaspor, Göztepe hosts Giresunspor and Malatyaspor takes on Hatayspor at home.