Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fenerbahce 0 - 0 Gaziantepspor: A Disappointing Dress Rehearsal

Fenerbahce 0 - 0 Gaziantepspor: A Disappointing Dress Rehearsal
By Ozgur R. Nazilli

Fenerbahce came away with a goalless draw from a match in which Zico gave a chance to his reserve players, as he said he would.

It was a rather poor match at Kadikoy, with the emptiness of the stadium reflecting the low expectations the fans had. As stated in an interview during the week, Zico fielded an 11 not unlike the one which played against Gaziantep in the league game earlier this year. This time however, the result was a disappointing 0-0.

Or was it? The score was 0-0 alright, but was anyone really disappointed by this? The Fener fans are very disillusioned with the Fortis Turkey Cup since last years eventful cup run, which in the end led to the Board coming to the brink of pulling the team from the league. Last year, President Aziz Yıldırım had declared that they would see Fortis Turkey Cup as a "warm-up" tournament from now on, and let their younger players gain some first team experience. Zico followed suit and the result was 10 new (and young) players on the pitch, and Appiah, who was fielded in order to help with the recovery from his injury by building up his fitness again. The roster was so reserve-oriented that the goalkeeper was Volkan Babacan, the very promising but very inexperienced 19 year old goalie of Fenerbahce, who probably played his first serious match for Fener.

The only exciting moment in the game was when Vederson's fierce drive bounced off the woodwork into the goal and back out again, which was disallowed by the referees. Zico and Vederson both commented on the position and rightfully claimed that our goal was stolen from us. That can be verified by the slow motion replays of the position, where the ball bounces about half a meter into the goal and back out.

In short, the fans were not very disappointed with the end result, since everyone is fully concentrated on the league and the Champions League. The fans would have been happy with a win over Gaziantep, since a win is always a win, but no Fener fan places too much emphasis on the Turkish Cup, let alone the Antep match. Zico is doing the right thing by using the cup games to give the youngsters first team experience, since the Turkish League and the European tournaments are far too valuable to do that. Hopefully, for the rest of the cup, Fener will have a good run, which will in turn help the younger players with their confidence and their developments. After all, that is what the Fortis Turkey Cup is all about for us.

(Photo courtesy of Hurriyet.com)

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