Fener comes back from the dead again to grab 3 points

Lady Luck has been very generous with defending champion Fenerbahce, aka the Yellow Canaries, for two consecutive weeks now.

The Yellow Canaries came from behind twice to overcome almost-relegated Balikesirspor 4-3 in week 29 of the Spor Toto Super League in Istanbul. And it was almost the exact carbon copy in week 30 against struggling Sivasspor away on Saturday, Fenerbahce again coming from behind twice and needing a last-gasp goal from Senegal striker Moussa Sow to win 3-2.

The Canaries stayed in hot pursuit of this season’s championship with Saturday’s win, but their performance posed more questions than answers as to how long they will depend on luck as the league title race enters a very crucial phase.

Mathematically, Sivasspor is still staring down the barrel of relegation and so took the game to Fenerbahce after referee Halis Ozkahya blew the whistle for kickoff at 7 p.m. Sergen Yalcin’s men were rewarded after just eight minutes when diminutive French midfielder Mehdi Tewfik Taouil scored to put the hosts 1-0 ahead. But former Brazil international midfielder Diego Ribas evened things up just a minute later (ninth minute), slotting an Alper Potuk cross into an empty net.

Sivasspor took the lead again in the 24th minute when Brazilian right back Cicero Joao de Cazare, or simply Cicinho, scored from a free kick — rifling in a cracker that beat Fener keeper Volkan Demirel hands down and crashed into the roof of the net. The first half therefore ended 2-1, advantage Sivas.

With Galatasaray beating Torku Konyaspor 1-0 the previous day, the Canaries needed victory at all costs on Saturday to remain in the championship race. And with this in mind, the players came out fighting in the second half.

They were rewarded in the 59th when super-sub striker Pierre Webo, who came on as a substitute for Nigerian forward Emmanuel Emenike at half-time, scored with a powerful shot from inside the Sivas box to make it 2-2. And Sow sealed the victory for the Canaries exactly three minutes before full-time.

“We were in full control of the game,” Fener coach ismail Kartal said after the match. “Sivasspor is a team capable of scoring against any opponent and has several quality players. We were lethargic in the first half and conceded two goals as a result of individual errors. In order to win, I brought on Webo at half-time,” he noted.

Despite the victory, Kartal looked frustrated and forlorn at his post-match news conference because dark clouds seem to be hovering over his team. But the truth of the matter is that Kartal is the only one who can solve this problem. And he can take this advice: “The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work,” said late American writer and publisher Harry Lewis Golden.

Fenerbahce hosts doomed Kayseri Erciyesspor in a postponed match this coming Wednesday and faces Mersin idmanyurdu away on May 17.

Also on Saturday, Istanbul beat cellar-dweller Balikesirspor 2-1 away to all but put the final nail in the coffin of the Aegean side 2009-10 champion Bursaspor crushed visiting second-from-last Kardemir Karabukspor 7-1 to dent the Black Sea side’s slim hopes of survival while Genclerbirliii and fourth-from-bottom Akhisar Belediyespor shared the spoils after a goalless draw in Ankara.