Fenerbahce 2-1 Galatasaray: Canaries maintain 14 year record
Fenerbahçe defeated Galatasaray 2-1 - maintaining a 14-year unbeaten record at the Şükrü Saracoğlu stadium.
Yellow Canaries manager Aykut Kocaman sprung no major surprises, Bekir İrtegün started ahead of Egemen Korkmaz in defense and Emre Belözoğlu replaced the suspended Cristian Baroni in midfield.
Hasan Ali started ahead of the more defensively minded Reto Ziegler. All-in-all Kocaman took a pretty big gamble playing a similar side to the one that played in the gruelling 120-minute mid-week cup game against Eskişehirspor.
Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim however, made an unusual decision to start with Johan Elmander in the hole - behind Didier Drogba and Burak Yilmaz. Elmander had not played since February and filled in to replace the injured Wesley Sneijder.
Fenerbahçe started on the front foot, creating the early chances and controlling possession from the get go but it was Galatasaray who drew first blood - totally against the run of play - Gökhan Gönül gave away a penalty; handling the ball in the penalty area.
Burak Yilmaz converted from the spot kick - his 31st goal of the season in all competition.
The lead was short-lived, Pierre Webo equalised in the 36th minute - Gönül made amends setting up the goal with a dangerous cross which was met by a flying header from the Cameroon international.
Webo doubled his lead just three minutes later after Emre thread through a well time through ball. The 31-year-old striker now has six goals since joining Fenerbahçe from IBB in January.
Emre pulled the strings in midfield throughout the first half - the tough tackling midfielder put his years of experience to good use and exploited the void left by Elmander who struggled to keep pace.
Felipe Melo put up a valiant fight in midfield and was one of the most effective players on the field. The Brazilian defensive midfielder completed the highest number of passes (54) the joint highest number of tackles with Emre (4) and the most intercepetions in the game (5). However, Melo's hard work was nullified by an uncharacteristically poor performance by Selçuk and a no-show from Elmander.
Fenerbahçe went into the half-time break dominating 56 per-cent possession with their foot on the gas.
Galatasaray brought on Nordin Amrabat for Elmander during the break however, chances were few and far between in the second 45 minutes with Moussa Sow hitting the post and Burak getting a one-on-one chance which was saved by Volkan.
The second-half was a scrappy affair, Fenerbahçe pressed well and disrupted play in midfield. Galatasaray failed to get any momentum going and with Selçuk not performing the Lions struggled to create chances and get Burak or Drogba involved in the game.
The main talking point unfortunately was not footballing related - 75th minute substitute Sabri Sarıoğlu got into a last minute altercation with Volkan who took it upon himself to strangle the right-back. The replays showed Sabri provoking Volkan prior to the incident which resulted in both players getting sent off.
The scenes following the final whistle were surreal, on the one hand you had the Fenerbahçe team celebrating with their fans near the stands; meanwhile the Galatasaray team were in the centre of the pitch celebrating the league title they won last week. Despite the fireworks, fights and flares the game ended with both sides in a rather good mood.
The win keeps Fenerbahçe in second place, three points clear of Beşiktaş - an important win for the Canaries Champions League qualification hopes.
FENERBAHÇE 2 -1 GALATASARAY
Stadium: Şükrü Saracoğlu
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır
Fenerbahçe: Volkan Demirel, Gökhan Gönül, Yobo, Bekir, Hasan Ali, Emre Belözoğlu (min. 63 Salih), Mehmet Topal, Kuyt, Meireles (min. 67 Caner), Sow, Webo (min. 81Mehmet Topuz)
Manager: Aykut Kocaman
Galatasaray: Muslera, Eboue (Dk. 81 Aydın), Semih, Gökhan, Riera, Melo, Hamit (min. 75 Sabri), Selçuk, Elmander (min. 46 Amrabat), Drogba, Burak Yılmaz
Manager: Fatih Terim
Goals: min. 33, 36 Webo (Fenerbahçe) min. 25 Burak (Galatasaray)
Red Cards: min. 90+2 Volkan (Fenerbahçe), min. 90+2 Sabri (Galatasaray)