Emenike crisis almost overshadows Fener derby win

Defending champion Fenerbahe beat BeIiktaI 1-0 in their Istanbul derby on Sunday to pull within two points of Super League leader Galatasaray and one within third-placed BeIiktaI. But the saddest thing is that this important victory, which put Fenerbahe back in the Spor Toto Super League race, has almost been eclipsed by the Emmanuel Emenike crisis — on and off the pitch.

The 27-year-old Nigerian striker missed an incredible scoring chance

Defending champion Fenerbahandccedile beat BeIiktaI 1-0 in their Istanbul derby on Sunday to pull within two points of Super League leader Galatasaray and one within third-placed BeIiktaI.

But the saddest thing is that this important victory, which put Fenerbahandccedile back in the Spor Toto Super League race, has almost been eclipsed by the Emmanuel Emenike crisis — on and off the pitch.

The 27-year-old Nigerian striker missed an incredible scoring chance in the 19th minute, shooting over the bar with only BeIiktaI keeper Tolga Zengin to beat. The Fener fans, rightfully, were incensed.

They booed and taunted Emenike and chanted in unison that the Nigerian be replaced by Senegal forward Moussa Sow.

The chants continued every time Emenike touched the ball.

Enough is enough, Emenike seemed to say, as he gestured to coach Ismail Kartal that he be replaced. And as Kartal ignored his request, Emenike did what has not been seen in topflight Turkish football for a very, very long time.

The Nigerian pulled off his shirt, raced off the pitch and toward the dressing room He was restrained by the Fener coach, officials and teammates and then persuaded to return to the field of play.

A player pulling off his shirt after scoring is always booked in accordance with the regulations of FIFA and UEFA.

Emenikeand#39s action therefore required a andquotdouble bookingandquot and why referee FIrat AydInus failed to do so defies logic and common sense.

Emenike, however, managed to complete the first half against his wishes but was substituted by Cameroon striker Pierre Webo after the interval.

There are reports of an altercation between Emenike and BeIiktaI coach Slaven Bilic in the corridor to the dressing room To compound matters, Emenike left the stadium in protest — to who knows where — and that is also an infringement of football rules.

Kartal, however, spoke well of Emenike in his post-match news conference.

andldquoHe [Emenike] is a man with a clean heart,andrdquo he said. andldquoHe does not want to miss goals and wants to contribute to this team more than anyone else.

In the final analysis Emenike is a Fener man and a member of the club,andrdquo he added.

Emenike, a Fenerbahandccedile hero last season when he scored 12 goals to help the Yellow Canaries clinch their 19th league title, has found the net just four times in 25 outings this season.

And this fall from grace has turned the Nigerian into someone the Fenerbahandccedile fans really love to hate.

The Nigerian forward has been booed and taunted many a time this season by irate Fener fans, but his reaction, or more accurately overreaction, on Sunday, means things have literally fallen apart and the center just can no longer hold.

Moussa Sow, who scored the only goal of the game, sympathized with his embattled co-striker after the match. andldquoEmenike is very sad, but this match is now a thing of the past,andrdquo he said.

andldquoThe fans need to support him and be by his side.andrdquo

The fact of the matter though is that Fener fans have supported Emenike so far this season, but the player does not seem to be a happy man and his performance, naturally, is aersely affected for this reason.

In other words, Emenike may have outlived his usefulness at Fener and seeking pastures new might be the best solution. As the popular saying goes, andldquoYou can lead a horse to water, but you canand#39t make it drink.

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SOURCE: Today’s Zaman