Friday, November 24, 2006

Fenerbahce vs. Palermo Game Analysis by Ahmet Turgut

The following was posted by my good friend Ahmet Turgut on www.turkishsoccer.com and I wanted to share with our readers:

Fenerbahce Downs Palermo!
By Ahmet Turgut

Palermo were perhaps focusing on their upcoming Inter clash with a second consecutive UEFA Cup defeat, losing 3-0 at Fenerbahce.The Sicilians were without eight first team players for their first ever meeting with the Turkish outfit, including Eugenio Corini, Mark Bresciano, the injured David Di Michele and Cup-tied Amauri.

Fenerbahce came flying out of the blocks with Lugano’s free kick skimming the upright, then on five minutes a splendid save from third choice goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu kept out Mateja Kezman’s strike.

Palermo also threatened when Andrea Caracciolo held up Giovanni Tedesco’s cross for Franco Brienza and brought a tough tackle out of Lugano.

Tedesco’s diving header was wide, although he had been flagged offside, and Sirigu beat away a fierce Alex set-piece from 30 metres.

Edu got in front of Munari to turn a corner kick just past the post and Brienza combined passes with Tedesco to drill off target.

But it was Fenerbahce who took the lead after 18 fast and furious minutes of football. Kezman dribbled past Andrea Barzagli down the right flank and cut back for an unmarked Stephen Appiah to side-foot home. The Ghanaian is certainly a familiar face to Serie A fans, as he played for Juventus and Parma.

The Sicilians fought back, but Caracciolo has been on disappointing form in Europe so far this season and wasted a couple of golden opportunities.

First he hesitated and allowed goalkeeper Volkan Demirel to rush off his line and clear Tedesco’s ball off his feet, then two minutes later Brienza’s pass saw Caracciolo spring the offside trap only to fumble the first touch.

Palermo were very unlucky not to draw level on 36 minutes in Turkey, as Fabio Simplicio’s free kick from 35 metres took a touch off Edu and thumped the crossbar in what was so nearly an own goal.

Former Chelsea man Kezman took advantage of a defensive mix-up between Alberto Cossentino and Barzagli before firing over the bar and Mehmet Yozgatli made a similar move on Gianni Munari, but Barzagli was able to charge down Kezman’s finish.Sirigu may be Palermo’s third choice shot-stopper, but the 19-year-old performed a fantastic save on the stroke of half-time on Kezman’s left-foot strike from point-blank range. The Serb picked up the loose ball and fired his second attempt wide.

Francesco Guidolin made two changes the break, introducing Christian Zaccardo and Mattia Cassani, the latter almost immediately thumping a good shot from the edge of the box that was well held by Volkan.

Caracciolo really should’ve drawn the Italians level when Edu swung at thin air, but once again he was slow to react and allowed the Brazilian to recover. The ex-Brescia forward had another opportunity go begging with Volkan rushing out and in the end his team was made to pay for these mistakes.

On the hour mark a corner kick was not cleared effectively and Kezman toe-poked the ball on to the crossbar, but Lugano was first to nod in from a yard.

Fortunately for the Rosanero, Kezman had a goal disallowed for offside moments later, then he passed back for Appiah to drill just over the bar as Fenerbahce kept on pushing.

The scintillating Kezman skipped past Cossentino and nutmegged Zaccardo before Dellafiore was able to cut him off at the pass.The result was put beyond any doubt nine minutes from time when Tuncay smashed a magnificent right-foot finish under the bar from the edge of the area, but once again there were no pink shirts to close him down.

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