Sunday, January 20, 2008

Who Needs a Striker? Fener Rolls 5-0

Who Needs a Striker? Fener Rolls 5-0
By Nathan L. Redd

Internet fan message boards have been going crazy lately with Fenerli's speculating about which striker the club should sign during the transfer window. Fenerbahçe answered with a resounding "who needs a striker?" with a dominating 5-0 win in Gaziantep on Sunday.

Fenerbahçe simply overwhelmed the Gaziantepspor goalkeeper with a barrage of shots early on. In the 14th minute, Semih Senturk nearly put Fener on the boards with a fantastic header that was stopped just short of the goal line. Despite the save, Fenerbahçe needed only ten more minutes to begin sending the scoreboards into a frenzy. Kemal Aslan, making a rare starting appearance, put Fener up 1-0. A cross from the right wing into the box found a series of deflections, but Aslan took a fantastic lobbing shot from the right side of the box that sailed over the heads of the defenders and goalkeeper. The goal quited the raucous Gaziantep crowd eager to cheer on the home red and black to a victory.

Eight minutes after Kemal's goal, Alex de Souza showed why he was sorely missed during his injury. Roberto Carlos sent a fantastic pass from the left side into the box, where Alex used a beautiful left-footed shot to send the ball past the goalkeeper, putting Fenerbahçe up 2-0. Despite the comfortable first half lead, the Yellow Canaries were just getting started. Three minutes later, Kemal Aslan would make his presence felt again. Kemal took a shot just right of the goal that would deflect off of Gaziantep defender Metin's arm into the goal, putting Fener up 3-0 with ten minutes left in the first half.

With a comfortable 3-0 lead, Fener could have put it in "cruise" in the second half, but the Canaries kept pressuring the Gaziantep defense with a onslaught of shots. Deivid de Souza would get the second half scoring started with a goal in the 56th minute adding to the day's dominant performance. Thirteen minutes later, Deivid would add a second goal to put the scoreline at 5-0, quieting the home fans and sending the Fener fans in attendance into a roar. "Today we showed everyone what we are capable of achieving. We were totally focused on the victory, so a 5-0-victory is not a surprise" he told media after the match.

Volkan Demirel found himself tested rarely in the match and was able to preserve the clean sheet. Mateja Kezman, Ali Bilgin, and Gokcek Wederson all entered the game as substitutes, but the damage was already done to the Gaziantep defense. Goalkeeper Volkan Demirel told reporters after the game "We all needed such a fantastic victory. We were frustrated about not getting the results we had wanted." With a gigantic game next weekend against league-leaders Sivasspor, Fenerbahçe could not have asked for a better result to build confidence and take pressure off the board from hearing about a new striker signing. Alex de Souza, returning from injury, again showed how valuable of a playmaker and scorer he is when healthy. Semih Senturk and Deivid de Souza again showed their reliability as offensive options headed into the Sivasspor match.

The win moves Fenerbahçe back into third place in the Turkcell Süper Lig with 41 points. Sivasspor, Galatasaray, and Besiktas all won this weekend to keep pace at the top. With only two points separating them from leaders Sivasspor, Fenerbahçe can potentially take over the league's top spot with a win next weekend. Galatasaray currently stands between Sivas and Fener with 42 points. They'll travel to the capital next weekend to take on seventh-place Ankaragucu.

(photos courtesy of Hurriyet)


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