Beşiktaş Loses But Improves As Undefeated Streak Comes To An End

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Updated: August 27, 2018

 

I don’t think it was possible for the match I am writing about in my first Beşiktaş International article to be more eventful and bizarre. In week three of the Turkish Super League, Beşiktaş faced Antalyaspor who picked up one of a possible six points in the first two weeks of the competition. Although Beşiktaş were top of the league going in to the match, their performances in the first two weeks and Europa League qualifying matches were far from confidence inspiring. I am not too sure that I believe in karma however in this case what went around certainly came around. In last week’s game against Erzurumspor, Beşiktaş could have easily conceded five or six goals in a bismal first half in which they somehow only conceded one. After this week’s first half which Beşiktaş dominated, I was left confused and trying to understand how they managed to concede three goals. Antalyaspor went in 3-1 ahead at the break. After falling 2-0 behind in twenty four minutes Beşiktaş could only pull back one goal with Negredo before conceding another to make the score 3-1 when the forty five minutes were up. At the end of the first-half, the team’s new signing, goalkeeper Karius must have been wondering how a defense line-up comprising of top level international defenders such as Pepe and Vida could have looked so poor.

In the second half, Pepe managed to grab another goal bringing his tally up to two goals in three league matches this season. Quaresma grabbed the assist, bringing his tally up to three assists and one goal this season. The Antalyaspor game once again underlined the importance of Atiba’s presence in midfield when both Beşiktaş and Antalyaspor had possession. Question marks were raised about whether Medel would have delivered a better performance than Vida in centre-back. However, not all is bad. Negredo had a terrific first half in which I found my-self questioning whether he could reach the thirty five goal mark he set for himself last year. Beşiktaş dominated the game in terms of possession and played significantly better than in their previous matches. Gökhan Töre who came on in the ninetieth minute showed glimpses of his quality which we remember from the days before his injury.

The fact that Beşiktaş executed fifty nine crosses shows just how dominant they were in the match in which they had 74% possession. Whilst dominating in possession they also managed to create significant chances. As Pepe’s header shook the bar and Antalyaspor goalkeeper Boffin made unbelievable saves I was left thinking about what my grandfather used to say: “If it’s not your day, the ball just won’t cross the line”. I do have to say that in the early days of the season I prefer playing well and losing to woeful performances that end up with a lucky victory. Despite, terrible defending in the first half, I think that Beşiktaş played well and that there was significant improvement from the two matches played last week. However, I also can’t help but think that if a blind man took fifty nine crosses to a blind striker one of them would have gone in. That’s the same ratio as tonight! Food for thought and evidence that we need to sign a good number ten who gives us attacking options other than crossing from the wings. Oğuzhan clearly isn’t consistently good enough to play in the role of a Talisca or Sosa. As Beşiktaş’s forty five match undefeated streak at Vodafone Park in the league comes to an end there is still hope for the future if the hunger of today can be supplemented with a bit of quality via a transfer as well as better defending, organization and starting line-ups with the addition of Atiba, Lens, Karius and hopefully our new number ten.