A brand new feature on this website is the introduction of weekly & fortnightly columns focusing on various leagues, countries and regions across the World. Firat Aktav here has the latest talking points in Turkish football.
Intriguing tactical battle undone by a red card as Fenerbahçe beat Besiktas
As match day 8 is left behind, defending champions Fenerbahçe managed to make their way to the top, after defeating league leaders Beşiktaş 0-2 away from home in a contest where the hosts played nearly the half of the match a man down.
İsmail Kartal’s men started the game brilliantly and took the lead within 3 minutes after Alper Potuk’s excellent run from the left flank, in the end of which he teed up Emenike for the early lead. Fenerbahçe then managed to control the tempo and were impressive on the counter, with the visitors continuing to threaten down the left flank through Caner Erkin and Alper Potuk, while 34 year-old Emre Belözoğlu continuously moved to the left to create overloads.
Necip Uysal, whose natural position is a central midfielder had started the game in the right-back position and was constantly overloaded by Fenerbahçe players. Beşiktaş head coach Slaven Bilic was forced to swap flanks for Olcay Şahan and Kerim Frei, as the latter was not so effective on the defensive end. However two errors from Şahan got him sent off late in the first half and Fenerbahçe looked hardly troubled afterwards.
Still, Fenerbahçe failed to control the ball and the tempo of the game in the second half, especially after positive substitutions by Bilic. Beşiktaş held on to the ball more despite being down to ten men, however could not create from open play at all, while substitutions by Kartal had a negative impact as Fenerbahçe became more and more defensive. A crucial error in Beşiktaş defense left Moussa Sow one on one with Tolga Zengin and he fired home the second with 4 minutes to go and this goal gave Fenerbahçe their first two goal margin of the season, first away win and put them to the top of the table.
Fenerbahçe’s first half performance was their best of the league, however against 10 men, they looked lost and tried to close out the game by only defending deep. Kartal’s substitutions and tactics in the second half were rather questionable and may cause problems later on in the league. Beşiktaş on the other hand looked in panic and stressed as they failed to create a single chance from open play. Bilic might need to think of the errors on the defensive end, as Beşiktaş conceded 5 in the last two games and dropped to being 4th in the table.
Leaders Fenerbahçe will host Rizespor on match day 9 but they will be without left back Caner Erkin due to suspension and Emre Belözoğlu due to injury, while right back Gökhan Gönül’s condition is uncertain. Beşiktaş will first host Partizan on match day 4 of the Europa League and will visit another İstanbul club, Başakşehir on match day 9.
Turkish football community curious as Kocaman makes a return
Aykut Kocaman, who coached Fenerbahçe from July 2010 to May 2013 made his return to coaching with Konyaspor after a year and a half of absence. Kocaman had won the league with Fenerbahçe in 2010-11, managed to guide them to second place for two consecutive seasons afterwards while winning back to back Turkish Cups and leading Fenerbahçe to the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2012-13, where they suffered a dramatic exit against two time back to back finalists SL Benfica.
Konyaspor were without a single win in the past five games and coach Mesut Bakkal resigned after the poor performances. Konyaspor board signed Kocaman at the beginning of last week and he made his return to Konya years later, after having guided them to 7th place in 2005-06 season. Konyaspor managed to secure a home win with a late goal from Ömer Ali Şahiner, after being down to ten men on 84 minutes as center back Selim Ay was dismissed.
Turkish football community is curious and anxious to see what Kocaman can do with Konyaspor. Can he guide his team to the top of the league and compete with the big 3 or secure a place for European competition? Time will tell, but Kocaman is known for his patient build-up and long term plans, therefore it might be a bit too early to judge despite the win and the fine performance.
Bursaspor overcome poor early season form and continue to impress
Bursaspor’s season started in terrible fashion as the club saw an early exit from the Europa League by failing to score a single goal against Georgian side Chikhura Sachkhere. Disappointing results followed as they lost to İstanbul giants Galatasaray and Beşiktaş at home, but the team started gaining confidence slowly and effectively afterwards.
A devastating 5-0 win against Balıkesirspor away from home showed signs of excellent football and Bursaspor continued to impress with a decisive 3-0 win against Sivasspor, who are known to play brilliant open football under the guidance of the legendary Roberto Carlos. Bursaspor are now in the top 5 and will visit Kayseri Erciyesspor on match day 9.
After two devastating 4-0 losses, the first against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and later on in the league against Başakşehir away from home, Galatasaray managed to bounce back to defeat Kasımpaşa at home, coming back from a 0-1 deficit with Umut Bulut’s last gasp winner, which came in the dying moments of the game.
Akhisarspor also continue to impress, as they remain in the top 3 following a 1-1 draw against Trabzonspor. Theofanis Gekas scored yet again to make it 9 goals in 8 games, as the Greek striker is still the leading scorer of the league.
Talent Radar Player of the Week
Once again he 19 year-old Ozan Tufan proves to be excellent in midfield for Bursaspor. Again deployed in the main holding role in Şenol Güneş’s 4-2-3-1, first as the partner of Bekir Yılmaz and later on was partnered with the excellent Fernando Belluschi. Tufan’s stability, calm distribution and ability to influence the game from deep positions was again crucial in Bursaspor’s 3-0 home win against Sivasspor.
Written by Firat Aktav
- Turkish Column: Kartal’s positive changes shadowed by supporter unrest while Ersun Yanal returns - November 14, 2014
- Turkish Column: Fenerbahçe’s tactical battle, Aykut Kocaman returns & more - November 5, 2014
- Turkish football column: Wesley Sneijder’s brilliance, Fatih Terim’s issues & more - October 22, 2014