Monday, October 01, 2007

Fenerbahce Out to Show Inter Win Was No Fluke

Fenerbahce Out to Show Inter Win Was No Fluke
Canaries Can Take Commanding Lead With Win on Tuesday
By Nathan L. Redd

Fenerbahce's start to the Turkcell Super Lig campaign has been less than stellar so far. Despite the domestic struggles, Fenerbahce has made a splash on the global scene with a big win over Inter Milan to kick off their UEFA Champions League run. While many critics considered the win an upset, Fenerbahce believed otherwise and they're out to show that the opening win was no fluke.

Roberto Carlos told the media in Russia during a press conference on Monday "Of course it is going to be a tough game. If we defeat CSKA tomorrow, we will gain a huge advantage in the Champions League. We are all going to do our utmost. Vederson and I have an understanding during the games, so the left-wing of Fenerbahce is always safe and strong. We are totally concentrated on the upcoming match against CSKA Moscow. If we show our real performance like we did against Inter, there is no reason for us to lose the game."

Fenerbahce has developed a pattern recently that is both disturbing and promising at the same time. The team seems to play down (or up) to their competition. They win big games against big opponents, but drop points to lower-level opponents. Despite their Turkcell Super Lig struggles, Fenerbahce fans are encouraged and confident going into the CSKA Moscow match. As poorly as the team has performed at times during the domestic games, they have kicked up their game a notch during European competition. They dispatched Belgium champs Anderlecht rather easily, then dominated Inter Milan to open the group stage. Only a few missed opportunities prevented the game from being a 3-0 Fenerbahce blowout.

The lack of focus in the Turkcell Super Lig could point to several factors. It is widely believed that Turkish opponents shift to a purely defensive mode against Fenerbahce, while European opponents play a more freestyle, fluid type of futbol. The defensive schemes by Turkish squads could be one reason Fener struggles in Turkiye. The other factor is that Fenerbahce simply prepares and focuses more for European competition. It's no secret that motivation can be easier to find against opponents like Inter Milan than Caykur Rizespor. However, Fenerbahce need realize that a poor domestic campaign could equal a brief visit in the UEFA Champions League.

With a stronger performance and 2-0 victory over Ankaragucu over the weekend, Fenerbahce heads into the CSKA Moscow match with their heads held high and broad hopes for European success. A win over the Russian champs could leave Fenerbahce in the driver's seat in group play. A loss could negate the momentum they picked up with the 1-0 win over Inter Milan. Nevertheless, expect Fenerbahce to bring their "A" game to Russia to prove the win over Inter was no fluke.

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