ESRA – New signings give Storm Europa aantage, Karabuk wins in debut

New signings give Storm Europa aantage, Karabuk wins in debutTrabzonsporandrsquos new signings Oscar Cardozo and Carl Medjani scored to give their side a commanding 2-0 aantage over visiting Russian club FC Rostov in Thursday nightandrsquos clash at home for the group stage of the Europa League at Huseyin Avni Aker StadiumIn another Europa League first-leg game involving a Turkish team, tiny Black Sea side Kardemir Karabukspor subdued French powerhouse St. Etienne 1-0 to give Tolunay Kafkas and his men a victory in their European debut at Dr Necmettin IeyhoIlu Stadium The only game of the match came from Zaire-born striker Domi Kumbela in the 60th minute.

The Black Sea Storm, as Trabzonspor is also called, cruised to a crucial victory before the second-leg match in Russia on Aug. 28 despite the warnings of coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who also joined the club this season and started his second spell with it.

Halilhodzic said his team is not yet ready for the new season and that it would be surprising for Trabzonspor to go through past Rostov. Thursdayandrsquos match was a litmus test for the new Trabzonspor to prove its credentials as a serious contender in the Europa League and the domestic Super League.

The result: so far so good.Halilhodzic did seem quite pleased with the performance of his players and the result, but was still critical.

andldquoI think Trabzonspor had a great match. I can say that this was a tough game.

It was our first match,andrdquo he said in post-game remarks to reporters, and warned that his team has problems related to keeping up their momentum and speed and their lack of practice. He said at least two more months of training are required to get everything on track and that a creative midfielder or forward could complete the team Trabzonspor had a storming start into the match and came on strong from the early minutes on.

Medjaniandrsquos powerful shot on goal from the right edge of the box was saved by the Rostov goalie in the 24th minute. Trabzonspor dominated the game entirely in these minutes and had attacks from the left wing.

Sefa YIlmaz and Mustafa Yumlu flicked headers to send the ball into the goal following a Soner AydoIdu corner The ball later hit a Rostov player and then landed at the feet of Medjani, who made no mistake and put his side ahead 1-0 in the 37th minute.Trabzonspor continued to seek chances to score in the second half.

Cardozo capitalized on a mistake in the Rostov defense he seized the ball and sent it to the Russian sideandrsquos net, lifting over the goalie in the 73rd minute to give his side a 2-0 aantage. andldquoIt was an important goal both for me and my team,andrdquo said Cardozo, a new Trabzonspor striker from Portuguese side Benfica, after the match.

He thanked the Trabzonspor fans for their displays of love and respect. andldquoI hope I managed to make them happy,andrdquo he added.

The Paraguayan star took possession of the ball and passed it dozens of times during the game, and four of his shots were on target.Halilhodzic was cautious after the match, saying: andldquoItandrsquos not over yet.

Rostov will cause trouble for us on their turf.andrdquo He added that the Russian club has canny players who manipulated Trabzonspor players to get the referee call a foul in their favor The Bosnian tactician argued that Trabzonspor should have been awarded a penalty when Yusuf ErdoIan was fouled.

He was also upset that Fatih Atik missed a glaring chance to score a third goal. andldquoIf he had managed to net a goal, that score could have made us comfortable in Russia,andrdquo he said.

Trabzonspor had a historic season in the Europa League last year and will be aiming to set new standards this year The Storm played six matches up to the group stage of the competition last season it won five of these games and was held to a draw in one. The team maintained its unbeaten streak in the group stage and completed it with four wins and two draws.

Olympique Lyon humbled at home by little-known AstraOnce-mighty Olympique Lyonnais suffered huge embarrassment with a 2-1 home defeat by unheralded Romanians Astra Giurgiu in their Europa League playoff first leg. Lyon, who won seven French titles in a row between 2002 and 2008 and made the Champions League semi-finals in 2010, took the lead thanks to Steed Malbranque on 25 minutes.

However, Nigerian Kehinde Fataiandrsquos goal after the break and a Constantin Budescu penalty nine minutes from time boosted Astra Lyon will still hope to turn the tie around in Romania next Thursday and qualify for the group stage of Europeandrsquos second tier club competition. Other notable first-leg results: Moldovaandrsquos Zimbru Chisinau surprised Greeceandrsquos PAOK 1-0 at home while Swedenandrsquos Markus Berg scored all four goals in Panathinaikosandrsquo 4-1 win in Greece over Danish league leaders FC Midtjylland while Legia Warsaw, thrown out of Champions League qualifying over an ineligible player, won 1-0 at Kazakhstanandrsquos Aktobe.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman