Luck finally runs out for Canaries — against Erciyes

Fenerbahce’s Super League championship hopes suffered a big blow on Wednesday evening, when the defending champion could only manage a 1-1 home draw with almost relegated Kayseri Erciyesspor in week 31 at iukru Saracoilu Stadium in KadikOy.

Can’t depend on luck all the time, but this is what Fenerbahce, nicknamed the Yellow Canaries, failed to realize.

The Canaries had come from behind to beat doomed Balikesirspor at home in week 29 and struggling Sivasspor the following week. But ismail Kartal’s men finally ran out of luck, and also of ideas, against gritty Erciyes on Wednesday — drawing and dropping two points at KadikOy and leaving their title chances in tatters with only three games to go and 12 points at stake.

Have no fear

“A drowning man will clutch at a straw,” and that was Kayseri Erciyesspor.

Defender Egemen Korkmaz headed home a Diego Ribas corner kick to put the Canaries 1-0 up after just two minutes. But Fatih Tekke’s Erciyesspor had no fear for title-chasing Fenerbahce and took the game to the Canaries despite conceding the early goal.

And tiny Erciyesspor, buried deep in the relegation zone, was rewarded with an equalizer four minutes later (sixth minute). The goal by Erciyesspor’s 23-year-old Cameroon center-forward Jacques Zoua also came from a deadball situation. Zoua found a loose ball in front of him after a corner taken by left back Anil Karaer and the Cameroonian made no mistake in whacking the ball into the back of the net.

Both teams had their chances throughout the game, Erciyesspor hit the woodwork twice and had a goal disallowed for offside. Fenerbahce also had a goal disallowed for the same reason and had a late penalty call denied.

The result left the Canaries trailing eternal rivals Galatasaray, which Mersin idmanyurdu nipped 1-0 away on Tuesday, by three points. Fener bridging the three-point gap at this point in time is not mission impossible, but it is indeed mission difficult, because the Canaries’ fate is no longer in their hands but in those of arch-foe Galatasaray. Simply put, the Canaries may well forget about the championship as long as Galatasaray does not drop points in the remaining three matches.

Fener coach Kartal was only cautiously optimistic after the match. “We really wanted to win and our players were very determined, but it was not to be,” said the frustrated trainer.

“I congratulate my players for their efforts, especially in the second half. You can’t always get what you want and today [Wednesday] was one of those days. We are trailing tour rival [Galatasaray] by three points with three games to go. We will strive to win the remaining games and then see how things work out,” he added.

If we may add: It is true the title has not yet been sewn up — mathematically or otherwise — but the Canaries’ championship ambitions nonetheless have been dented by the heartrending draw with Erciyes.

Also on Wednesday, Trabzonspor pipped visiting 2009-10 champion Bursaspor 1-0 at Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium to gain the upper hand in the race of a spot in next season’s second-tier UEFA Europa League.

Black Sea side caykur Rizespor made the impossible possible by beating favored southeastern side Gaziantepspor 2-1 away. The result means Rize, with 34 points, has virtually survived relegation from topflight Turkish football this season.