Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
Ridvan Dilmen is not only one of the greatest footballers in Turkish history; he is also one of the only pundits who actually knows anything about football.
It is for that precise reason that when he says something, it usually comes back to prove him right. When Vincent Kompany received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle, Dilmen, commentating for NTV, stated (in his most sportsman like way) that the players should play on the Belgian in order to get him sent off.
Whether or not the players were also aware of the defenders lack of discipline remains to be seen, however come the 64th minute Kompany had seen red and Dilmen was probably applauding himself in the commentary box.
Semih’s goal shortly after looked to have completed the come-back after Hamit Altintop had cancelled out Van Buyten’s first half goal. But, as we all know, this is Turkey and anything is far from simple.
Onur Kivrak, making his home debut in goal, flapped at a lofted free-kick and Van Buyten was there to head the visitors’ level again. The boos rang around, the heads shook and many felt the strong gust of déjà-vu that swept through the stadium.
Hiddink sat, calmly watching, as his team pressed for a winner. A lack of quality on the final ball was frustratingly evident until the Dutchman replaced Sabri with Gokhan Gonul.
The Fenerbahce right back is arguably the best defender in the league and proved exactly why when picking out Arda, whose shot deflected off Fellaini, and into the back of the net. Rejoice!
We have ‘broken the devils leg!’ (Sabah’s headline). The blog was obviously not the only one watching this game with a large sense of pessimism.
Likewise, the general consensus in this morning’s press is one of relief. Dilmen has expressed a desire to ‘kiss the head of Van Buyten’, citing the defenders first goal as the catalyst for a formation change at half time, hence a much improved performance in the second half.
Erman Toroglu of Hurriyet has picked up on the obvious in saying that ‘despite scoring three goals we still managed to concede two’ while Turgay Seren of Aksam questions where ‘the old Tuncay has gone’. A statement the blog completely agrees with about a player who can’t even make it into the Stoke side and is still leading the national team’s attack.
It must be said the football, at times, was very nice. Emre Belozoglu was the engine of the side and his ability rarely fails to shine through.
Likewise Arda Turan who, despite being fairly quiet at times, again created a number of chances before scoring the winner. It is further back that Hiddink should be worried about.
Onur Kivrak, the Trabzonspor goalkeeper making his home debut, was at fault for both goals and Servet proved everybody doubter right when failing to pick up Van Buyten for Belgium’s first goal. While the players showed a lot of pride and belief, they will need to step up many levels for the trip to Berlin.
The Germans put six past Azerbaijan and Hiddink will need to stiffen up his defence to avoid a similar embarrassment in October. None the less, six points is six points and a perfect start towards qualifying for Euro 2012.
Quote of the weekTurkey defender Servet Cetin after their 3-2 victory over Belgium “I’m happy to say we didn’t give away and goal scoring chances”...Sure about that one Servet?
Goal of....the season!I think this one is already in the bag. Hamit Altintop’s strike against Kazakhstan. See for yourself.
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