Thursday, November 30, 2006

No Reign in Spain: Fenerbahce Falls 1-0

Fenerbahce had opportunities to move to a secure spot in Group H of the UEFA Cup with a win, but it wasn't meant to be today as Fener fell 1-0 to Celta Vigo in Spain. The lone-goal came from Vigo's Canobbio in the 77th minute.

Fener came into the game with a ton of momentum, knocking off Italian leaders Palermo 3-0 and beating Turkish rivals Trabzonspor. However, Fenerbahce couldn't capitalize on opportunities today to move into sole possession of second place in Group H.

Only five minutes in, Canobbio had a free kick opportunity after a Tuncay foul, but Volkan made a crucial save to keep it scoreless. Just a few minutes later, Tuncay was fouled in the penalty area by Angel, giving the Canaries a free kick. Alex took the free kick, but it was saved by the Celta GK. In the 33rd minute, Mateja Kezman picked up the game's first yellow card. Two minutes later, Celta's Gustavo Lopez picked up a yellow card of his own. Kezman had scoring opportunities at the 40 and 43-minute mark, but both attempts were off-target. The two teams went into the locker rooms at halftime scoreless.

The second half brought on more corner kicks and more opportunites for Fenerbahce, but they couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. Alex took a shot in the 57th minute which rattled off the post, nearly putting Fener ahead 1-0. In the 71st minute, Zico substituted Deivid de Souza for Kezman, hoping to give the Canaries a spark. Instead, six minutes later it was Celta who struck first, going up 1-0. Celta's Placente picked up a yellow card a few minutes later, and Zico opted to substitute Mehmet Yozgatli and Tumer Metin in for Deniz Baris and Ugur Boral.

Alex de Souza had another opportunity at the 82nd minute mark, but his free kick hit the Celta wall. Alex would get one more opportunity on a corner kick in stoppage time, but the kick was off, preserving the 1-0 win for Celta Vigo.

Fenerbahce had 12 total shots, compared to only 8 for Celta. Of those, 6 were on target for Fener, with 5 on target for Celta Vigo. The story of the game may be the number of fouls committed - Fenerbahce fouled Celta 14 times, while Celta committed only 6. Fener also had 7 opportunities from the corner, compared to 5 for Celta.

Fener must now put the loss behind them and begin preparation for Turkish rivals Galatasaray on Sunday in Kadikoy. More analysis on today's game to come...

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