Money well spent? CL qualifier shows star-studded Fener’s limits

Fenerbahandce hoped to show off with its new star signings and a brand new coach who proved his credentials in the world football arena in its very first serious test against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League qualifiers, but it turned out that itand’s too soon to expect miracles from the team, which looked promising against all odds of being a new squad.
Vying for success in its first European appearance in two years, the Istanbul giant has spent millions of euros in an attempt to create a dream team, which would make their passage to the worldand’s lucrative and prestigious football platform, the UEFA Champions League, easier. The Shakhtar Donetsk match ended in a goalless draw in Istanbul, and Fenerbahandce will seek to maintain its chances for the Champions League with an away win or draw in Ukraine. The new Fenerbahandce squad seemed promising however, Shahktar is a team not to be taken lightly since unlike Fenerbahandce, they have the experience of playing together for several years under the helm of coach Mircea Lucescu. The Ukrainian side missed glaring chances in the first half, while Fenerbahandce was lucky they saw no goals in their nets and was the better side in the second half.
Even though it would be too early to call the qualifier against Shakhtar Donetsk at home a litmus test for the capabilities of the newly formed team, the importance of the two-leg qualifiers cannot be ignored as playing among the top European teams is a matter of pride and dignity for the Canaries andndash for a team having fallen out of grace due to its implication in a domestic match-fixing scandal, which kept them barred from Europe for two seasons.
h2Van Persie needs time to fulfill expectationsh2 Fenerbahandce fans have the highest hopes for former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie, who worked wonders in the attacking line of the Premier League side. The Dutchman is out of form due to missing many games because of a long-lasting injury last season in England. Therefore coach Vitor Pereira did not field him until the 68th minute of the Shakhtar match. His arrival sparked great interest at the stadium, with fans cheering for the Dutchman. During the time he was on the pitch, van Persie was far from impressing audiences, as he obviously needs more time to see his good old days back. Van Persie will receive 4.9 million euros per year plus a further 20,000 euros per game.
Unlike the Dutch star, his former Manchester United teammate, Luis Nani, who moved to Fenerbahandce with 6 million euros for his release clause, was fielded in the starting lineup and stayed on the pitch the entire game. Although he powered Fenerbahandce attacks along with Diego Ribas from the midfield, Nani did not look impressive, either. In an exciting moment for Fenerbahandce, a Nani pass found Fernandao, whose header barely grazed the crossbar in the 35th minute.
Brazilian striker Fernandao, who Fenerbahandce acquired from Atletico Paranaense for a 3.5 million euro transfer fee, was ambitious and a bit too aggressive on the pitch, while his efforts did not bring any goals for the hosts. The top scorer for the Super League side Bursaspor last season, Fernandao signaled that he might be a leading option as the teamand’s striker despite other strong candidates, including van Persie and Moussa Sow, should he keep up the good work.
Brazilian defensive midfielder Josef de Souza, with a price tag of 8 million euros to leave Sao Paulo, made important interventions in Shakhtar attacks and showed he has more to offer. Danish defender Simon Kjaer, for whom Fenerbahandce paid 7.65 million euros to French club Lille, was also successful in stopping the visitorsand’ attempt on goal, while he did not seem to be communicating well with his partner in defense, Bruno Alves. Once he gets over adaptation problems, he is likely to be an irreplaceable part of the Fener defense.
There is still everything to play for in the return leg in Ukraine on Aug. 5, and the Fener faithful believe their team is good enough to see off Lucescu and his Shakhtar in the CL third qualifying round.