Cardozo scores brace to revive Trabzon’s hopes for Europa spot

A late Oscar Cardozo header brought the Trabzonspor Black Sea Storm a 3-2 home victory over already-relegated Balikesirspor in their Spor Toto Super League clash at Handuseyin Avni Aker Stadium on Saturday and kept his side alive in the race for a Europa League ticket.
Trabzonspor climbed to the fifth spot after the win, going three points clear of Bursaspor, and reduced the deficit between them and fourth-placed Istanbul Baiakiehir to two as both Europa contenders will be playing their penultimate-matches on Monday.
Visiting Balikesirspor, which had left with nothing to lose or gain in the Super League, was comfortable against Trabzonspor and opened the scoring in the 28th minute with Aykut andceviker. Trabzonspor responded with Card Medjani in the 35th minute as the first half ended in a 1-1 tie.
Paraguayan striker Cardozo left his mark on the matchand’s second half. His 50th-minute goal gave Trabzonspor a 2-1 edge. However, Balikesirspor did not intend to let the match go without a fight. The visitors hit in the 69th minute with Eray Ataseven: 2-2. With five minutes to the final whistle, Cardozo met Yusuf Erdoganand’s cross with a header and set the score: 3-2.
andquotWe finished the home matches with a victory. It was a match that we would win and we won,andquot Trabzonspor coach Ersun Yanal said in his post-game remarks. He recalled that 10 players missed out on action in the Balikesirspor match. andquotWe had many suspended and injured players. We came this far with so many players missing,andquot he noted.
Yanal added that Trabzonspor needs time to form a good squad that is able to handle battle on several fronts, including the Super League battle for the title and the European competitions. andquotHandling and managing several targets is pretty tough. Here in the Napoli match [during this seasonand’s Europa League], we had 13 players on hand. At such times, when you lose a player to injury and get another one suspended, you can have 13-14 players to maintain the fight.andquot
Trabzonspor started the season with back-to-back transfer bombs under the helm of coach Vahid Halilhodzic in an attempt to end its championship drought of over 30 years. When the team got stuck in the middle rankings and drew ire from its fans, the Bosnian tactician was sent packing, and former Turkey and Fenerbahandce coach Yanal came to the rescue and led the team to battle for the Europa League, the least he could do.
The Black Sea Storm meets Sivasspor in the final week of the season and following that match, Yanal said, the club will start planning for the next season.
Balikesirspor coach Cihat Arslan noted after Saturdayand’s match that it was a clash between a team with no goals and a team with a goal. He said his team put up a good fight for their pride and dignity. andquotMy players were good and good things happened. A pleasant night ended unpleasantly. We were able to get at least one point,andquot he said.
While recalling that he took over the Balikesirspor coaching duty in the last five weeks of the season, Arslan said during his tenure his team scored 13 goals, which, he noted, is more than the scoring tally of the championship contenders, but their poor defense pushed the team over the edge. andquotThis is the bitter end of a relegated team, but I think we deserved something better than this.andquot
Other results in Spor Toto Super League: Genandclerbirliii 1, Mersin idman Yurdu 2 Kasimpaia 3, SAi Kayseri Erciyesspor 3 and Torku Konyaspor 1, andcaykur Rizespor 1.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman