OKAN UDO – Fener sends Mersin home empty-handed despite misses

Fener sends Mersin home empty-handed despite missesFenerbahe beat visiting Mersin Idmanyurdu 1-0 in week 15 of the Spor Toto Super League at Iukru SaracoIlu Stadium on Saturday evening to grab not only three precious points but also the league — at least for 24 hours — depending on BeIiktaIandrsquos clash away with Torku Konyaspor that was still being played on Sunday night when Todayandrsquos Zaman went to press.The Yellow Canaries, as Fenerbahe is popularly known, started week 15 in third place with 30 points, trailing Galatasaray by one and BeIiktaI by two.

But with Galatasaray dropping two points in Ankara on Friday after a 1-1 draw on Friday and BeIiktaI idle until Sunday night, Fenerandrsquos victory on Saturday meant Ismail Kartalandrsquos men temporarily claimed the top spot. Defensive midfielder Mehmet Topalandrsquos goal in the 32nd minute was the only thing that separated the two teams.

There was bad blood between Fenerbahe and Mersin days before the match following statements by Mersin coach alImbay, whose team was beaten 3-2 by Galatasaray, that referees favor the Istanbul andldquoBig Three.andrdquoandldquoAnatolian teams are being victimized,andrdquo alImbay said.

andldquoItandrsquos very difficult for a champion to emerge from Anatolia The Anatolian clubs always struggle against the big [Istanbul] teams and they canandrsquot do anything about it. And I say referees are responsible for 90 percent of this.

The referees try not to make mistakes when an Anatolian team is playing against a big team But in doing so Anatolian clubs are victimized we really have been victimized,andrdquo he noted.alImbay complained that they were not awarded a penalty in the Galatasaray match and took a swipe at the referee.

Fenerbahe wasted no time in responding to alImbayandrsquos comments. andldquoCoaches have also been involved in making accusations aimed at influencing the referee and manipulating the outcome of a game.

This was an unfortunate remark and they should refrain from making more,andrdquo the Istanbul club said.alImbay perhaps gambled and it backfired.

The coachandrsquos comments did Mersin no good, but Fenerbahe players on the other hand were incensed by those remarks.The Canaries threw everything they had at Mersin from the word go, but the superb goalkeeping of 26-year-old Bulgarian Nikolay Mihaylov and the terrible misses by Fenerbaheandrsquos erratic Senegal striker Moussa Sow in front of the goal saved Mersin from a routing.

The slim margin of victory did not reflect Fenerandrsquos domination: Kartalandrsquos men scored only one, but missed more than half a dozen clear chances.Referee Bulent YIldIrIm was also not influenced by alImbayandrsquos allegation.

He awarded Fenerbahe a penalty in the 83rd minute after Brazilian attacking midfielder Diego Ribas was brought down by Mihaylov in the box. Diego took the penalty himself and missed — shooting straight into the waiting hands of the Mersin keeperAlso on Saturday Istanbul BaIakIehir thrashed visiting Kayseri Erciyesspor 3-1 and a resurgent BalIkesirspor beat Kardemir Karabukspor 1-0 on the road.

Week 14 of the Super League concludes with Trabzonspor hosting EskiIehirspor at Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium on Monday evening. Kickoff is at 8 pm.

SOURCE: The East African