Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
After the disappointment of losing the league title, coupled with failure to qualify for the Champions League, Fenerbahce’s 4-0 win over Antalyaspor on the opening weekend could not have been better timed. The only problem was, there was nobody there to see it. The game, played in near silence, was the first of two home games that Fener will play without the support of their fans after the riots on the final day of last season.
Exclusive riot footage from phonecam-wielding TD – CLICK TO WATCH
One of the small group who were allowed to watch the most notable was new signing Mamadou Niang. The Senegalese striker touched down in Istanbul to complete his switch from Marseille and put pen to paper on a three-year deal.
Aykut Kocaman’s decision to start Semih Senturk for the first time this summer proved a master stroke as the Turkish international grabbed two goals and an assist within half an hour. A 4-0 half time score effectively ended the match and Fenerbahce can now go into Thursday’s Europa League tie at PAOK full of confidence.
Galatasaray provided their travelling fans with little to cheer about with a lacklustre display at Sivasspor – though it was hardly a surprise after Frank Rijkaard opted for Harry Kewell as his lone striker. With Cimbom only ever looking dangerous through Arda Turan, their failure to bring in any half-decent players this summer was glaringly obvious. Turkish Delights predicts a tough season for Rijkaard and his men unless they bring in some creative midfielders.
Reigning champions Bursaspor and this year’s league favourites Besiktas both scraped through with 1-0 wins. Goldilocks Guti chipped in with his first assist for the Black Eagles while Q7 Quaresma ran more rings around himself than any of the opposition defenders. Elsewhere, newly-promoted Karabukspor got off to a perfect start on a weekend where nine teams failed to score a single goal.
Weekend Results Gaziantepspor 0-0 KasimpasaSivasspor 2-1 GalatasarayBucaspor 0-1 BesiktasEskisehirspor 0-0 GenclerbirligiAnkaragucu 0-2 TrabzonsporKarabukspor 2-1 ManisasporFenerbahce 4-0 AntalyasporBursaspor 1-0 KonyasporIstanbul Buyuksehir 0-2 Kayserispor
The ‘Hakan Sukur’ Player of the Week AwardThis week’s award for goalscoring prowess is conveniently named after one of Turkey’s greatest-ever strikers. While Semih’s ‘sure you want to sell me?’ performance for Fenerbahce was certainly eye-catching, Teofilo Gutierrez is a man on a mission at the moment and deservedly earns TD’s player of the week award. After blasting a hat-trick in the Turkish Super Cup the Colombian striker continued his goal-scoring streak with both goals for Trabzonspor this weekend. Next stop... Anfield!
Press Story of the WeekDaily sports paper Fanatik have claimed that Fenerbahce are ‘days away’ from announcing the signing of Robinho. Despite the Brazilian being heavily linked with Besiktas this summer, reports in Turkey believe Fenerbahce have stepped in to seal the deal. Sabah claim that Fener agreed to provide the Brazilian dummy-spitter with a private driver, luxury villa and personal bodyguard, but his demand of a private jet for away games had thrown a Boeing 747-sized spanner in the works. TD wonders if, when the Turkish winter kicks in, the Brazilian will also require a sun lamp.
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Will we be seeing the introduction of a regular Guti-news section to the blog? Would be good to keep tabs on him!
Goldilocks info bar may have to be introduced!
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