STSL: Gençlerbirliği: 2 Beşiktaş: 1

Updated: October 13, 2017

After two consecutive losses of points, Beşiktaş came out of the international break with just one goal in mind and that was winning in a traditionally tough away game in Ankara.

Unfortunately this message seemingly hasn’t sinked through to the players as it was apparant from the first seconds of the match that the team lacked desire and determination to grab the opponent by the scruff ot heir neck. On the contrary, the hosts were the better side in the opening quarter of the match and took an early lead after just 15 minutes thanks to a Vedat Muriqi tap in goal following an insufficient parry from Fabri.

Beşiktaş responded and started looking for the equalizer but at no point did they reach a satisfactory level of play, the lines seemed too far apart, the midfield struggled and held up the play for far too long. Toward the end of the first half there was a clear offensive to find that equalizer and the hosts had to fall back, but Beşiktaş were unable to truely test the keeper at this stage.

Şenol Güneş responded at halftime by taking out both striker Álvaro Negredo and winger Jeremain Lens for Ryan Babel and Ricardo Quaresma, both wings. Straight up offensive subs for offensive subs, leaving him with little option on the bench if that equalizer wouldn’t come quick enough.

Beşiktaş looked a bit better in the opening minutes as now they were better capable of keeping the team wide enough with two natural wingers as opposed to having Cenk on the left in the first half. Unfortunately that got cut short really early as Ryan Babel saw a direct red card, just 3 minutes after having come on, due to a high boot which made contact with the opponents arm. It was clear from the replay that Babel had only eye for the ball and he was extremely dismayed by the referee’s decision, however one can not argue that it was still a reckless challenge.

Despite being a man down, it was all Beşiktaş who dominated the play. Unfortunately this didn’t exactly lead to a plethora of chances, the best opportunity for the Eagles came after an Atiba Hutchinson header was parried by goalkeeper Johannes Hopf. While the reigning and defending champions were pushing for the equalizer Gençlerbirliği struck on the counter attack in the 73rd minute after Tokelo Rantie offered Scekic an easy tap in goal. Down to 10 men and now down by two, the match seemed done and dusted at that point.

However, Ricardo Quaresma earned his side a penalty in the 87th minute after being brought down in the box and Cenk Tosun converted the resulting spotkick: 2-1.

Beşiktaş mounted a last grasp offensive but failed to find the dramatic equalizer and are now left with just one point from their last three games, falling further behind in the title race.

All-in-all it was an uninspiring performance against an opponent who didn’t even transcend their usual level, on the contrary, Gençlerbirliği might have had more desire but clearly lacked the quality to truely outplay the Black Eagles. This defeat, this loss of points, is 100% down to the players and perhaps the coach as the team clearly lacked motivation and seemingly isn’t aware of their current position int he standings as this was a match they always had and should have won, regardless of how tough of an away game this is traditionally.

It would seem that after winning back-to-back titles, many players have grown complacent, they need to realize that every new season starts from scratch and that your successes in the past won’t earn you any points in the new season. If our players do not realize this soon and turn things around, they can go back to the Europa League (if that) next season and say goodbye to Champions League football.

Stadium: 19 Mayis Ankara

Referee: Halis Özkahya

Gençlerbirliği XI: Johannes Hopf; Ahmet Oğuz, Uğur Çiftçi, Sergey Politevich, Ousmane N’Diaye; Zeki Yavru, Ahmet İlhan Özek, Aleksandar Scekic, Serdar Özkan (69′ Tokelo Rantie), Abdul Khalili (84′ Mehmet Taş); Vedat Muriqi (81′ Petar Skuletic)

Reserves: Taha Demirtaş, Mert Çetin, Alper Uludağ, Orhan Şam, Marko Milinkovic, Diallo Guidileye, Mehmet Taş, Tokelo Rantie, Petar Skuletic, Jailton Paraiba

Head coach: Mesut Bakkal

Beşiktaş XI: Fabri; Gökhan Gönül, Pepe, Dusko Tosic, Caner Erkin; Atiba Hutchinson, Oğuzhan Özyakup (78′ Tolgay Arslan), Anderson Talisca; Jeremain Lens (46′ Ricardo Quaresma), Álvaro Negredo (46′ Ryan Babel), Cenk Tosun

Reserves: Tolga Zengin, Utku Yuvakuran, Matej Mitrovic, Fatih Aksoy, Adriano Correia, Necip Uysal, Tolgay Arslan, Ryan Babel, Ricardo Quaresma, Mustafa Pektemek

Head coach: Şenol Güneş

Goals: Vedat Muriqi (15′), Aleksandar Scekic (73′), Cenk Tosun (87′ pen.)

Yellow cards: Politevich (28′), Vedat Muriqi (45′), Zeki Yavru (90+4′)

Red card: Ryan Babel (48′)


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Kaan Bayazit

Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International
Freelance sports writer specialized in Turkish football and Beşiktaş. Co-host of the Black Eagles podcast. Frequently featured in World Soccer Digest Japan and many other international media outlets. Following Turkish football for close to two decades. Proud father to Aedin.
Kaan Bayazit
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