Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
It’s the day after the much anticipated derby and my feeling of disappointment has just turned to shock.
As I reel through the morning papers I can’t help but notice Fanatik’s dedication of NINE pages to last night’s derby. Nine whole pages on a 0-0 draw and arguably the least exciting derby of the last decade.
It isn’t until I flick through that I realise each page consists predominantly of an article surrounded by adverts for cars, televisions and credit cards. Relief.Now it’s my turn to make what I can of last night’s game between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.
First things first, the game was as aesthetically pleasing as James Corden in Speedos...on a treadmill...in a desert – that is unless of course you are a Sunday league defender who values head tennis, crunching tackles and minimal flair as quality football.
Without Milan Baros, Arda Turan and Harry Kewell at his disposal, Hagi was forced to set his team up in a 4-6-0 formation with attacking midfielder Juan Pablo Pino playing the lone striker role.
Credit to the Romanian, it was a formation that saw Galatasaray dominate the first half with Fenerbahce failing to force goalkeeper Aykut into a single save.
An initial damage limitation mentality suddenly turned in to optimism and, with Elano back in the starting line up having previously fallen out with Frank Rijkaard, Hagi’s men began to create chances - kind of.
It was the Brazilian who set Pino running for the game’s best chance. The impressive Colombian rounded Volkan only to see his shot hooked off the line by Gokhan Gonul.
Cimbom’s midfield trio of Ayhan, Cana and Mustafa Sarp continued to close every gap, preventing any balls through to Alex, while Lucas Neill battled with Mamadou Niang.
The Australian was booked in the first half and could quite easily have been sent off in the second half as Fenerbahce upped the tempo. Despite an improved start to the second period, Fener still failed to create any clear cut opportunities.
With 20 minutes left Kocaman removed Alex for Semih and Fenerbahce seemed to lose the momentum that they had started to build up. The Fenerbahce captain was way below his best but could have provided a constant threat from set pieces during the closing period.
As it was the game petered out with very little else worthy of note. Pino’s 93rd minute shot worried the home fans but Volkan’s smart save prevented any sort of embarrassment and ensured a share of the points.
The Fenerbahce players trudged off as though they had lost while the Cimbom fans rejoiced over their point as if they had won.
Well, it has been 10 years so who can blame them!
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