Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
I’m going to break a handful of rules from the Idiot's Guide to Journalism and start this blog with a video.
A picture paints a thousand words, and this video may have been watched by more than 150,000 people, but it certainly doesn't explain the whole story of a quite incredible day in Ankara.
Former Fenerbahce captain Umit Ozat was forced into retirement in 2008 after he collapsed on the pitch playing for Cologne in Germany. He then joined up with Roger Lemerre at Ankaragucu before taking over as manager in the summer of 2010.
The video above shows Ozat flooring an unhappy fan who was trying to do what a lot of fans have wanted to for almost a year. Then, having knocked him to the floor, Ozat attempted to stamp on the 21-year-old university student's head.
As if that wasn’t enough to have the media squirming like little girls at a school disco, they then witnessed Manisaspor manager Hikmet Karaman turning up to his post-match press conference wearing an Ankaragucu scarf. The former Ankaragucu boss went on to praise the clubs' fans and claimed that "people should know when it’s time to pack up and leave" – something he has done with a lot of clubs.
In response, Ozat blubbered that he had never "kissed anyone’s hand to stay" and that the board, despite having received his resignation, had asked him to continue.
It was all too much for some (despite Ozat offering to fund the bruised student’s education) and Sabah lead with the headline "Embarrassed in Europe" after the event reached the back pages of France, Italy, Germany and Spain to name a few.
Meanwhile, as Don King prepared to sign up Turkey’s latest talented boxer, there were two VERY important matches to be settled.
On Saturday, Bursaspor disposed of free-falling Galatasaray thanks to Kenny Miller’s first goal and a front runner for howler of the season by goalkeeper Ufuk Ceylan. It was a result that left Cimbom way down in ninth, putting even a European finish in doubt, and pushed Bursa within two points of the summit.
Bursa’s win all but added the pressure on Senol Gunes and his Trabzon side who were in Istanbul to face Fenerbahce. It was of course Trabzon who held Fenerbahce in this fixture last season and prevented their opposition from league glory on the final day.
Well aware that a loss could put them out of the title race this year, the Fenerbahce players set about their opponents like a pack of hungry wolves, leaving no blade of grass uncovered and suffocating the Trabzon midfield. Much to the delight of the home crowd Diego Lugano’s header followed by Mamadou Niang's deft finish effectively sealed the game after 23 minutes.
Trabzon were handed a potential lifeline in the 65th minute when Selcuk Sahin received his marching orders for two yellow cards – but Arkadiusz Glowacki ensured a stress free finish when he also saw red. The Polish defender – a first-half substitute – received two cautions in as many minutes and scuppered any chance of a late comeback while Fener’s win closed the gap to just four points.
They may be four points behind but Fenerbahce will have gained a lot of confidence from the weekend and, if they can sort out their poor away form, will most certainly be near the top come May.
Bursaspor have experienced league success and never gave up last season despite trailing Fenerbahce in the run in. It will be interesting to see if this Trabzonspor side, who have looked much stronger mentally under Senol Gunes, will be able to recover after taking just one point from their first two games following the winter break.
And finally, here's a question for you – Can you name the youngest scorer in MLS history? If you got it right, you might now be thinking: Whatever happened to Freddy Adu?Well now I can tell you. He has joined Turkish second division outfit Caykur Rizespor. The former poster boy of US soccer never quite lived up to his billing as a teenage superstar. Obviously fame as a 14-year-old has its downfalls and six years on, following spells at Benfica, Monaco and Aris, the striker has opted for Turkey. Still just 21, the blog wishes him the world of luck – it might just be what he needs!
Weekend results: Eskisehirspor 1-0 Konyaspor, Ankaragucu 1-3 Manisaspor, Fenerbahce 2-0 Trabzonspor, Gaziantepspor 1-1 Genclerbirligi, Istanbul BB 2-1 Besiktas, Bucaspor 4-0 Kasimpasa, Bursaspor 2-0 Galatasaray, Karabukspor 0-0 Kayserispor, Sivasspor 1-1 Antalyaspor
Follow Turkish Delights writer Sefa Atay on Twitter and check out his Travel Guide to Istanbul
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