Monday, October 29, 2007

Fenerbahce-Besiktas Setting Up for Gigantic Clash

Fenerbahce-Besiktas Setting Up for Gigantic Clash
By Nathan L. Redd

There is always excitement in the air once derby week arrives, but this weekend's battle between Fenerbahce and Besiktas is setting up to be a potential legendary match. It appears that Fenerbahce has put their early season struggles behind them, and both squads come in with confidence from their recent games.

Ten days ago, Fenerbahce disposed of Konyaspor behind an offensive explosion of four goals at Sukru Saracoglu. A few days later they picked up one point in their UEFA Champions League contest at PSV Eindhoven. Down to ten men for much of the second half, a draw was satisfactory in the road game. Fener then returned to Istanbul and took care of business against cross-town rivals Kasimpasa with a 2-1 victory on Saturday. Fenerbahce claimed the Turkcell Super Lig title last season from Besiktas late in the year, and Zico's group is hoping to produce the same result this year.

Besiktas has been at or near the top of the standings for much of the season already. Last week, however, they pulled off a massive win at Inonu Stadium with a victory over Liverpool in UEFA Champions League action. The Liverpool coaching staff provided the Black Eagles with lots of bulletin board material prior to the match, but it was Besiktas who dominated the English giants in Istanbul. They followed the win with a scoreless draw against Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor, which could have been a case of simply looking ahead to Fenerbahce.

Only two points separate the rivals in the standings, and a victory this weekend could catapult Fenerbahce into a tie with Sivasspor for second place. Fenerbahce will get another warm-up for Besiktas on Wednesday, when they open Fortis Turkish Cup action against Gaziantepspor at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium. Besiktas will play host to Caykur Rizespor at Inonu Stadium on Wednesday as well. Both clubs will be looking to fine-tune their game plans and rosters for their upcoming derby. Zico has the luxury of an improved performance recently by oft-maligned striker Deivid de Souza, while Besiktas star Bobo is coming off a fantastic game-winning performance against Liverpool last week. Zico still has many decisions to make regarding the status of Mateja Kezman, but the rest of the squad has picked up the offensive slack in his absence. Fenerbahce has lost only one game in their last ten, but they know they still have much ground to make up in the Super Lig because of the numerous draws they attained to start the season.

Fenerbahce and Besiktas kick-off at 19:00 (12 PM EST in the U.S.) on Saturday, November 3rd from Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Kadikoy.

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