Rachel – Given turmoil, Canaries take title with surprising ease

Given turmoil, Canaries take title with surprising ease Fenerbahe made winning this year’s Spor Toto Super League championship look simple when it secured the title with three weeks to spare, but they probably could have finished it off earlier were it not for off-pitch woes.“I feel such great joy to be here with Fenerbahe. This has not been an easy season for anyone. There were times I cried, but all of these were for Fenerbahe,” Senegal forward Moussa Sow said after Fenerbahe was assured the title.Since the club has led the league, often by a healthy margin, since week five, Sow is mostly referring to the legal disputes and accompanying anguish the Yellow Canaries have found themselves in since they were involved in the match-fixing scandal of 2011.“We deserved this with the football we have played. We put up an incredible fight,” coach Ersun Yanal said after the club’s 0-0 home draw against aykur Rizespor. “We feel honored to serve Fenerbahe,” he added.Like many matches this year in Turkey, the Rize match took place in front of women and children only, the going punishment for fans’ unruly behavior. There are still three matches to go, but Fenerbahe won the fight.“We thank everyone who has put in their work, we had a strong belief in this from the very first week. We said we would be champion, and after that [we] let whoever would come in second behind us worry about that. We did not disappoint,” Yanal gushed.The 52-year-old coach from Izmir has every right to be thrilled, as this is his first championship in a career stretching back to 1992. Drawing against minnows at home is hardly what Fenerbahe is known for, but the one point it squeezed out of Rize was enough to crown the Canaries champion.Fener friends“In three years there is not one setback we have not had, yet we won the Turkish Cup twice and pursued the league until the end,” veteran Turkey defender Gkhan Gnul said. “To be honest, I cannot be too happy. I wanted to rejoice without all of these things happening to our chairman.”The club’s beloved chairman YIldIrIm will likely spend more time behind bars, despite having spent a year in prison already. He has been accused of heading an armed crime ring on top of match-fixing.On the pitch, the Canaries showed no sign of being preoccupied by the ongoing legal battle for their alleged involvement in corruption. This year, the club served the first of its two-year ban from UEFA competition over the debacle. Because it also dropped out of the Ziraat Turkish Cup early, the club poured all of its energy into the Super League.The ban continues next year, meaning that the rivals Fenerbahe has worked so hard to suppress, Galatasaray and BeIiktaI, will be representing Turkey in the champion’s place. The club can be forgiven for feeling a pang of sadness amid the celebrations.“For Fenerbahe, this championship was very important. We made a stand. Our Chairman Aziz YIldIrIm took a position, and we continued this stand,” Yanal said.“We had a very emotional year,” Pierre Webo said. “Our chairman is a great man. And we went straight to him to celebrate our championship,” the Cameroon striker, who contributed eight goals to the Canaries’ season, added.Flying colorsAs of week 31, Fenerbahe had lost only five matches and drew in five more. The season got off to a sour start when the Canaries lost to tiny Torku Konyaspor in match one, but they quickly recovered.The Canaries became known for their last minute wins under Yanal, especially in the season’s first half. While not an ideal method, it kept fans and foes alike on the edges of their seats until the end of each match.In the first 12 weeks, Fenerbahe had won in the final minutes four times, narrowly edging Ka­sIm­pa­Ia 3-2, Kay­se­ri Er­ci­yess­por 1-2, Bur­sas­por 3-2 and Me­di­cal Park An­tal­yas­por 1-2 in this fashion.At several points in the season, Fenerbahe was as much as 13 points clear of its nearest rival. One thing that makes the club particularly deadly is the fact that it has a broad offensive line, rather than revolving around a single player. But if there is a star, it is Moussa Sow, who has scored 13 goals thus far. Nigeria’s Emmanuel Emenike is not far behind with 12.With numbers like these and a consistent top notch game throughout the season, no one can deny that Fenerbahe deserves the cup. Even without European competition to distract it, the Canaries have been harried by problems off the pitch, but they passed with flying colors.Fenerbahe players dance at the center of Iukru SaracoIlu Stadium after the Yellow Canaries were crowned the 2013-14 Spor Toto Super League champions, last Sunday. (Photo: DHA)

SOURCE: Todays Zaman