Opportunity Wasted: Fener, Manisa End Scoreless
Heading into Sunday's game, Fenerbahce knew they had a tremendous opportunity to move six points up in the Turkcell Super Lig following Besiktas's draw on Saturday. Instead, Fener played tentative, uninspired futbol resulting in a 0-0 draw and their second consecutive scoreless affair. The draw with Vestel Manisaspor keeps Fenerbahce only four points up on second place Besiktas.
Fener manager Zico has been feeling the heat for most of the season, but the lack of his scoring and his one-forward approach has critics slamming him for Fener's mediocre performances of late. Late in the game, Canary fans began chanting "Yönetim istifa, Zico istifa" (Management resign, Zico resign)" as the team couldn't muster a goal.
Vestel Manisaspor came into the game with the second-worst defense in the Turkcell Super Lig, allowing 42 goals in 28 games so far this year. Fenerbahce, back at home in Kadikoy, was expected to put goals on the board, especially with much of the squad healthy and available. Nothing worked, however, and Zico shifted from his one-forward approach late in the game, substituting in Deivid de Souza, Tumer Metin, and Semih Senturk. It would not matter though, as Fener failed to score a goal yet again. It was Fenerbahce's third consecutive game without a win.
After the game, Zico spoke to the media, saying "Our opponents aim throughout the game was not to let us play. My players were under pressure and they hurried things. The hastiness of the players, caused by their desire to land the title and take on leadership responsibilities, brought about simple mistakes. We should overcome the pressure.”
Regarding the fans chanting for him to resign, Zico stated “Those who love Fenerbahçe must think twice; the players are the ones to take us to the top, they deserve support. They want to achieve this as well and as their coach, I have 100 percent confidence in them. The supporters may protest; this was not the first time and it will not be the last. In futbol, you survive as long as you are good. I think that I do the right things at the right time. I am responsible for my job and I try to pass on everything I know to the team.”
When asked about the failure to capitalize on Besiktas's draw on Saturday, Zico commented that “They wanted to win too,” he continued, “people think that Fenerbahçe stands unopposed. We play 11 against 11 on the pitch and every team we play against has its own objective. Football needs giving it you all on the pitch, you do not win a game before kickoff.”
Fenerbahce must now travel to Gaziantep in Southeast Turkiye this weekend to take on Gaziantepspor. Kickoff is scheduled for Friday, April 20, at 20:00 (1 PM EST in the U.S.).