Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
Thirty-two... the number of minutes Turkish Delights has sat, thinking long and hard, about where to start with Sunday’s Fenerbahce-Besiktas derby – before remembering Bernd Schuster’s pre-match comments: "Derbies are always the same. You either win or lose."
So, as the stadium stewards usher the German away despite his best efforts to prepare his team for a penalty shoot-out after the 1-1 draw, let's analyse this season’s first derby.
Rule One: Take your chances!Sunday’s match was most definitely a lesson learned for Fenerbahce. Despite looking like the away team for the opening 15 minutes, Fenerbahce could have gone in at half time three goals up. Mamadou Niang, who scored the opener, was guilty of a glaring miss that his facial expression suggested his uncle could have scored. The same applied to Issiar Dia and Alex De Souza at stages in the game where a goal would have killed off their opponents.
Falling Like FliesThe seven minutes of injury time added on in the first half was an accurate display of a stop-start first half. Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel twice needed treatment for a tap on the knee before his opposite number was introduced to Ibrahim Uzulmez’s boot and swiftly taken to hospital with concussion. Besiktas defender *** Dag also needed two rubs of the magic sponge before realising that his ankle was the size of the ball he was trying to kick and subsequently used the second of Schuster’s three substitute cards before the half-time whistle.
No digging this timeThose of you who have been paying proper attention will remember Fabio Bilica making a molehill from a penalty spot in last season’s fixture (see video below). Referee Cuneyt Cakir was very quick to stand on the spot in order to prevent a repeat performance before Guti – who, we can inform with a heavy heart, can no longer be called Goldilocks after sporting a cropped barnet – duly dispatched the penalty to salvage a point.
"Oi!" says the pitchfork-waving groundsman CLICK TO WATCH
Is Guti the new Alex?Schuster played the Spaniard in a more advanced role and his second-half performance changed the game for Besiktas. While Alex failed to get any grip on the game for Fener, Guti was pulling all the right strings for the visitors. No surprise that it was through his umpteenth perfectly weighted through ball that Besiktas won the penalty – converted by Guti.
Turkey’s Dani AlvesHaving combined every speck of knowledge the blog possesses, TD has decided that Fenerbahce’s Gokhan Gonul is currently the best player in the country. Incorporating an endless desire to run with some good defending, the right back was the first person this season to limit Tricky Ricky Quaresma to one stepover and a backheel.
As derby fever begins to wane, the people of Istanbul have started to remind themselves that there are another 16 teams in the league, so let's weave them together in a quick narrative.
Galatasaray maintained their ‘rise’ by grinding to a 1-0 win at Bucaspor. The Izmir side are not to be confused with champions Bursaspor, whose game at Gaziantepspor was abandoned after the referee’s assistant was struck by an object thrown by the home fans. More on this in a later blog, but the locals were angered by the decision to allow the champions' 57th-minute goal, which was setting them on their way to a fifth successive win.
By contrast, Manisaspor had lost their last four games before disposing of second-placed Trabzonspor thanks to a wonder strike from Ariza Makakula (see video below). They weren’t the only team left in a state of shock after Sivasspor conceded a 94th-minute equaliser against Eskisehir. Eski sehir translates as ‘old city’ while ‘big city Istanbul’ (Istanbul Buyuksehir) held fifth place with a win over Konyaspor.
Another team ending in Spor are Antalyaspor who overcame Kayserispor after former Juventus striker Mauro Zalayeta had halved the score line to make it 2-1. Half is the amount of stadium currently in use at Kasimpasa, who lost 3-0 at Ankaragucu, the same score by which Karabukspor finished off Genclerbirligi, which subsequently finishes off this week’s round-up. Phew!
Makakula's wonderstrike CLICK TO WATCH
Fenerbahce 1-1 BesiktasIstanbul BB 1-0 KonyasporKarabukspor 3-0 GenclerbirligiAnkaragucu 3-0 KasimpasaAntalyaspor 2-1 KayserisporBucaspor 0-1 GalatasaraySivasspor 1-1 EskisehirsporTrabzonspor 1-3 ManisasporGaziantepspor A-A Bursaspor (Match abandoned on 57 minutes at 0-1)
Turkish Delights will be providing a live Mehmet Topal report from the Mestalla stadium as La Liga leaders Valencia host Atletico Madrid on Wednesday evening. Tune into Twitter at 22h BST/CET.
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