Wesley Sneijder stole the show with a sensational brace against Fenerbahçe in the Intercontinental Derby [divider]
Wesley Sneijder stole the show with a sensational brace against Fenerbahçe, giving Galatasaray a 2-1 victory over their bitter rivals in the Intercontinental Derby.
Cesare Prandelli sprung another surprise team selection ahead of the derby.
Galatasaray switched to a 4-3-3 with Sneijder moving from the regista role he had played for the last few games to the left wing. Olcan Adın started on the other flank with Burak Yılmaz the lone striker upfront.
There were no surprises from İsmail Kartal who stuck with Fenerbahçe’s usual 4-3-3 formation. Emmanuel Emenike started upfront with Dirk Kuyt out wide and Alper Potuk replaced the injured Moussa Sow on the other wing.
Galatasaray struggled against Fenerbahçe’s dynamic three-man midfield in the first half and Emenike gave the Lions problems on the counter attack with his speed and pace.
The first-half ended goalless as neither side were willing to take many risks in such a critical game. The second half started in similar fashion to first until Fenerbahçe defender Bruno Alves decided to reenact a scene from the Karate Kid and fly-kick Felipe Melo in the back on 54 minutes. Alves was subsequently sent off forcing Kartal to take off his most effective attacking player Emenike for defender Hasan Ali Kaldırım.
Galatasaray grew in confidence as the game wore on and Fenerbahçe grew increasingly more tired. Despite having the man advantage the Lions rarely threatened and the game looked destined to end in a goalless draw until Sneijder worked his magic on 88 minutes to score from outside the 18-year-box. Two minutes later he managed to surpass himself and score an even more spectacular goal to wrap up a memorable win and bag his third goal of the season. Sneijder has now scored more goals from outside the penalty area than any other player in Europe this season. Alper Potuk scored a late consolation goal in the fourth minute of additional time but he was unable to prevent Galatasaray moving – temporarily – to the top of the table.
Prandelli was pleased with Sneijder’s defensive contribution, the 30-year-old competed more tackles (4) than any teammate other than Felipe Melo. Following the game Sneijder revealed that he would prefer to be played behind the striker in future. Kartal meanwhile praised the Netherlands international while goalkeeper Volkan Demirel said, “I had nothing to do for much of the game and then Sneijder pulled that off, I didn’t even see the ball coming.”
Galatasasaray’s stay at the top of the table was short lived as Beşiktaş beat Sivasspor 3-2 to move back into first place.
The game was technically a home game but played hundreds of km away in Ankara due to the Istanbul Atatürk Olympic stadium’s pitch being unplayable. Demba Ba was magnificent scoring a brace and setting up Olcay Şahan for the winning goal with an audacious back heel flick. The Senegalese international became the first player this season to score twice and setup a goal – Ba now has six goals in all competitions.
Akhisar recovered from their 4-0 hammering against Başakşehir to move back into joint second position along with Galatasaray on 13 points. The Akigo’s beat Kasımpaşa 2-0 with goals from Uğur Demirok and Gekas. The Greek international now has seven goals in six league appearances this season.
Mersin were unable to keep pace with the leading pack this week and succumbed to a 3-1 loss against Trabzonspor which saw them drop into joint fourth place on 10 points alongside Fenerbahçe. The win was Trabzonspor’s first of the season, summer signings Oscar Cardozo, Medjani and Belkalem all got on the scoresheet but Mehmet Ekici was the star of the show pulling the strings in midfield and setting up two of the goals.
Başakşehir maintained their unbeaten run with a goalless draw against Konyaspor. The point took the away side up into seventh place. Başakşehir have conceded the fewest goals in the league this season (2), Abdullah Avcı’s side have an even better away record having yet to concede.
Bursaspor and Eskişehirspor continued their dismal start to the season with a 2-2 draw keeping them in 11th and 14th place, respectively. 19-year-old central midfielder Ozan Tufan stood out for the Green Crocodiles yet again. Tufan completed more passes (40) than any of his teammates with 90 percent accuracy. On the defensive end he made more tackles (7) than anybody else in the game and caused the opposition problems with his pressing.
At the foot of the table Erciyesspor were unable to find a way past Gençlerbirliği. The goalless draw saw Gençler rise into eight spot while Erciyesspor dropped into 17th position. Meanwhile Balıkesirspor remained rock bottom after drawing 2-2 with Rizespor.