Satisfying End to an Unsatisfying Game: Fenerbahce 2 - 1 KayserisporCommentary • Author: Özgür R. Nazilli • Saturday, April 5, 2008
It is a widely known fact that the first game back after a European match is always a hard one for Fenerbahce. When this was coupled with the opponent being Kayserispor, one of the strongest teams outside the Big Three, it was inevitable for Fenerbahce to have a tough game. And unsurprisingly, Kayseri fought until the very last moment.
Kayseri games are always hard, as proven by the fact that they are one of the only three teams to beat Fenerbahce this season. And when they caught Fenerbahce looking ahead to the second league of the Champions League Quarter Finals, they were ready to take full advantage of it.
Kayserispor Manager Tolunay Kafkas came out with an open tactic, which was rather surprising considering that no Anatolian team dares to play an open formation against Fenerbahce, especially in Kadikoy. However, Kayseri players really wanted to come away with a draw at least, so they did their utmost to keep Fenerbahce from scoring, closing down very fast whenever Fenerbahce was on the attack. Contrary to what the scoreline suggests, this tactic worked.
This game was also a first for Fenerbahce this season, where they were both awarded a penalty, and they scored in the very last minute to turn the game around. This is usually the trademark of Besiktas, who managed to turn more than a few games around this year in the added minutes. However, the luck was on Fenerbahce's side today, and they managed to collect all 3 points at a very critical stage in the season.
What is promising that Fenerbahce showed, once again, that when they really want something, they know how to get it. In the last ten minutes or so of the match, including the added five minutes, Fenerbahce played a very one sided game and battered the opposition penalty box with attack after attack. Fortunately, this paid off and Fener avoided a demoralizing defeat just before the historic (we have used this adjective a lot this year now, haven't we?) Chelsea game.
There is not much to talk about the game in terms of the quality of the football played. Fenerbahce was obviously looking ahead and they had the relaxed air of having beaten one of the football giants of the world this week. Kayseri threatened the Fenerbahce goal more than once, and some noteworthy performances by Serdar the goalie and his defence men kept their score tally at only one. Speaking of which, Kayseri's goal was a rather bizarre one, resembling a pool game more than a football game. Kayseri's Avendano sent the ball in right from the Fenerbahce's goal post, and Saidou deflected the ball into the net, which looked to be more accidental than intentional.
However, Fenerbahce once again managed to bounce back from 1-0 down and took control of the game, first creating a penalty position in the 64th minute, via Deivid, which Alex very cleverly converted, and finally scoring a header, thanks to Semih, to top Kayseri at the final whistle.
Semih once again proved that he is a key player in the team by scoring the winning goal of the game. Despite this, I am not going to criticize Zico for using Semih as a substitution player. Semih, in my opinion, plays better when he gets in the game after the 60th minute, by which the opposition defenders are worn out and Semih, coming fresh in, can unleash his full potential against weakened defenders. I think what Zico does is very clever: he starts the game with Kezman, who does a lot of running and throws the opponent's defenders off balance, and then he subs in Semih, either as a second striker or in the place of Kezman, which gives Fenerbahce a fresh pair of legs at the scoring end. Hopefully, Semih will see the logic in this too and not be disheartened by the fact that he starts the game as a sub.
Now that this game is over, we can look ahead to the "real" test: facing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Let the games begin!