Super Lig Result: Fenerbahce 1-0 Over Besiktas
The up-and-down season of Fenerbahce's 100th Centennial took a major curve upward on Saturday, as Fener defeated Besiktas 1-0 at Inonu Stadium. The win puts Fener five points ahead of second-place Besiktas with only three games remaining.
The unpredictable Yellow Canaries needed only one goal in the game. Mateja Kezman received a lob pass from Tuncay Sanli on the right side that put him just on-sides with BJK Goalkeeper Vedran Runje way out in front of goal. Kezman lobbed the shot over the top of Runje with no defenders behind, putting Fenerbahce up 1-0. Besiktas had been successfully setting offsides traps in previous games, catching Sivasspor offsides 15 times last week. Zico, however, had caught on and designed several plays that would catch the Eagles behind the striker. Kezman took full advantage of the opportunity on this day, and BJK Manager Jean Tigana was obviously furious at his team's defense after Kezman's goal.
The score remained the same going into the half, and Zico changed his tactical approach to a defensive-minded one in the second half. Tigana went with an obvious scoring approach, desperately needing at least one point to keep BJK's title hopes alive. Early in the second half, he made the controversial move of replacing Argentine star Matias Delgado with his South American teammate Bobo, telling reporters afterwards that he was upset with Delgado losing the ball too much. Bobo had two great looks, but Fener Goalkeeper Serdar Kulbilge was able to snuff out both shots.
The Besiktas chances took a major blow late in the second half, as Ibrahim Toraman was sent off with a red card after nailing Serkan Balci in the face, giving him a bloody nose. “I have never made intentional fouls in my career, plus, Serkan is my friend” said Toraman. “The referee did not see anything, the linesmen did not see anything and it was the fourth official who warned the referee Fırat Aydınus. I still can not see how that happened.” Down to ten men, Besiktas could not penetrate the Fenerbahce defense to score an equalizer.
The win put Fener squarely in good position to win their 17th Turkcell Super Lig title with only three games remaining. The derby, billed as the "Game of the Year" lived up to the hype and after the game, an estimated 10,000 Fenerbahce took to the streets of Istanbul to celebrate.
Ümit, Kezman, Selçuk, Edu, Serdar Kulbilge, and Serkan all received yellow cards for Fenerbahce. The Canaries won't have time for celebration, as they must travel to Izmir on Sunday, May 13 to face Trabzonspor. The game is being played in Izmir as part of Fener's punishment issued by the Turkish Futbol Federation after the Fortis Turkish Cup. Izmir, however, is known as a Fenerbahce hotbed of fans, and Ataturk Stadium should no doubt be filled with Navy Blue and Yellow-clad fans to cheer on their team.