Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
The word untouchable is one that has often surrounded Fenerbahce and a select number of players. It is, however, quite obviously something that Aykut Kocaman cares very little for.
Within weeks of taking over, Kocaman shocked many by stating that no player was exempt from being substituted. Was this the end of Alex De Souza’s career in a blue and yellow shirt? Not entirely.
At times it may have seemed so, never more so than when Kocaman removed his star player not once, but twice in the opening weeks of the season.
But credit to the Fenerbahce boss - he is not as deluded as the blog once thought. A much-needed kick up the backside has seen Alex return to form and in Mamadou Niang the club finally have a 20-goal striker.
The Senegalese striker has seven goals in six games - causing Fanatik to launch an online poll as to ‘how many goals Niang will score this season’. A lot at this rate.
Niang can score goals with his eyes closed...
Kocaman has stayed true to his intentions of reforming Fenerbahce in to a hard-working, disciplined team who play quick attacking football.
In doing so he dropped Fabio Bilica and Cristian Baroni from the squad for Saturday’s game against Genclerbirligi. Andre Santos was also named on the bench after his poor run of form and lack of desire to perform any defensive duties while playing at left back.
The result? A 3-0 win and arguably Fener’s most impressive performance so far this season.
All in all it was a good weekend for Fenerbahce ahead of the international break. Leaders Bursaspor dropped points with a 0-0 at Istanbul B.B. Belediye were the only team Bursa failed to beat in Istanbul en route to lifting the title last season, and they proved to be a banana skin once again.
It’s not been a good week for Ertugrul Saglam after his side lost their second Champions League game. Their 1-0 defeat to Rangers means they must get at least a point from two games against Manchester United or the trip to Valencia. A tall order given that their European form shows stats of – Conceded five, Scored zero.
Trabzonspor and Besiktas met in the ‘battle’ of the weekend. The hosts snatched a 1-0 win as tempers frayed all over the pitch –the highlight being Teofilo’s attempted left jab at Ibrahim Toraman which saw more handbags thrown in three minutes than you’d see in your average Istanbul marketplace on a Saturday afternoon.
Teofilo was off while Guti ran around asking everyone to ‘play nicely...please’.
Frank Rijkaard took one step closer to the guillotine when his side lost 2-1 to Karabukspor.
The Galatasaray board seem to be running out of patience with their under-performing manager and many papers have singled out the Derby with Fenerbahce as his last chance – giving the Dutchman exactly three weeks to devise a plan to beat Fenerbahce away. Something that no manager in the past 10 years of the club has managed to do...
The other highlight of the weekend came in Ankara where Ankaragucu’s Metin Akan sent an ‘anything you can do I can do better’ message to Dimitar Berbatov in his side’s 4-1 win over Konyaspor.
Bulent Uygun has resigned as manager of Bucaspor. The Fenerbahce legend announced his decision following the 0-0 draw at home to Eskisehirspor. With his side faring better than many others in the league, the arrival of new Chairman Seref Ustundag could be the only possible reason for his sudden change of heart.
In other news, Gus Hiddink faces a Bavarian beer sized task as Turkey travel to face Germany this week. The squad flew out to Berlin on Monday morning to start a mini-camp ahead of Friday night’s Euro 2012 qualifier.
Dortmund’s Nuri Sahin has been included in the squad following his impressive start to the Bundesliga while Mesut Ozil will no doubt start for Germany to add a little spice to an already highly anticipated game.
RESULTS Fenerbahce 3-0 Genclerbirligi, Trabzonspor 1–0 Besiktas, Karabukspor 2-1 Galatasaray, Ankaragucu 4-1 Konyaspor, Manisaspor 0–2 Kayserispor, Bucaspor 0–0 Eskisehirspor, Sivasspor 1-1 Gaziantepspor, Istanbul B.B 0-0 Bursaspor, Antalyaspor 3-1 Kasimpasa.
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