Fenerbahce Drops 2-1 Heartbreaker in Rize
With the second half of the Turkcell Super Lig season well underway, Fenerbahce apparently is still on winter break. Fener dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to Caykur Rizespor in Rize on Saturday. The loss drops Fener to 1-1-1 since the second half of the season started, and continues their slump of poor play.
The game was expected to be an easy win for Fener. It was expected that not only would they accumulate three points, but hopefully even rest some of the starters ahead of this week's big UEFA Cup clash. Instead, Fener found themselves in a gigantic hole early in the game. For the third straight game, Fenerbahce gave up an early goal and this time, had it followed by a second Rize goal in the 20th minute putting Fener behind 2-0. A questionable penalty was called on Deniz Baris for a handball that appeared to be unintentional. The Yellow Canaries had to fight the entire game to climb out of the hole and made it a game with a goal from Semih Senturk in the 70th minute, but they could do no more.
The loss was compounded by wins over the weekend by second-place Galatasaray and third-place Besiktas. GS now moves within four points of Fenerbahce, and Besiktas sits only five points back.
The loss had a familiar feel to it with Rizespor manager Riza Calimbay on the sidelines. Calimbay was the manager at Besiktas when they pulled off the improbable 4-3 victory over Fener in April 2005 despite playing with ten men and a midfielder playing in goal.
The win puts Caykur Rizespor at the 12th spot in the league with 24 points. They are eight points ahead of last place (tied) Erciyesspor and Sakaryaspor. They are tied in points with Gaziantepspor and Trabzonspor.
Rizespor manager Calimbay was obviously excited about the victory, as his team tries to stay out of the relegation zone. “Our need for points is greater than Fenerbahçe's; we simply had to win as we are close to the bottom" he said after the game.
Fener must quickly forget about this devastating loss and prepare for Wednesday's crucial UEFA cup game vs. AZ Alkmaar from Holland. Fenerbahce's next Super Lig game comes this weekend in Kadikoy vs. last-place Sakaryaspor.