UEL: Beşiktaş JK – Sporting CP

Updated: September 30, 2015

UEFA Europa League
Beşiktaş JK (TUR) – Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)
Location: Atatürk Olimpiyat, Istanbul
Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (ITA)
Date: Thursday, October 1st
Time: 20:00 (GMT+2)
Channel: TRT 1
Matchday 2

Coming off their first big derby victory in two Süper Lig seasons, the Black Eagles will be high on morale as they face Sporting Lisbon at the Atatürk Olimpiyat on Thursday.

Beşiktaş got all three points on matchday one away at the Elbasan Arena, beating Skënderbeu by the smallest of margins: 0-1, while Sporting lost at home against Lokomotiv. Jorge Jesús’ team are therefore in need to gather their first points in Istanbul if they want to keep their chances to qualify for the next round in their own hands.

The big question ahead of this game is how badly the Portuguese club wants to endure a long European campaign, it’s no secret that they have put their sights on a first Portuguese title since the 2001-2002 season and they might just choose not to field their strongest lineup.

While Beşiktaş striker Mario Gómez confirmed towards UEFA.com on Tuesday that the Europa Leauge is an important target for his club, it remains to be seen whether Şenol Güneş will field his, on paper, strongest team. The experienced coach rested several players in the away game against Skënderbeu, giving the chances to others to prove their worth. And after a draining derby against Fenerbahçe this past Sunday, he may again choose to rest some of his key players.


Beşiktaş winger Ricardo Quaresma started his career at Sporting CP and was part of their last title winning squad during the 2001-2002 season.

Ricardo Quaresma did not make an appearance on Sunday in the 3-2 victory over Fenerbahçe and was visually dissapointed after the game. It is expected that Güneş will choose to give the flamboyant winger, who turned 32 on Saturday, the nod and start him against the club where it all started for him.

Another question is whether Mario Gómez, scoring a brace against Fenerbahçe on the weekend, will start or if he will be rested in favour of another in-form striker Cenk Tosun.

One thing is certain however and that is that Olcay Şahan won’t be playing on Thursday as he is still serving a suspension after a direct red card in last season’s Europa League campaign. Whether he will be replaced by Kerim Frei or Gökhan Töre in the starting XI remains to be seen. Given that Sporting is a significantly stronger opponent than Skënderbeu, it would not be unlikely to see Gökhan start ahead of Kerim given Töre’s importance to the Black Eagles’ game.

As previously mentioned, Sporting CP lost their opening game against Lokomotiv Moscow but they did not start with their strongest possible lineup. Leaving several regular starters such as striker Slimani and offensive midfielder Bryan Ruiz out of the starting XI. After a defeat, Jorge Jesús may choose to opt for his strongest possible lineup, but could just as easily rest some of his more important players again.


Téofilo Gutiérrez scored four goals in his short stay in Turkey for Trabzonspor, making just 17 Süper Lig appearances.

Sporting had a dissapointing outing on the weekend as they could not score past Boavista, ending in a goalless draw, failing to capitalize on Porto’s 2-2 draw away against Moreirense and therefore missing out to become loan leaders in the Portuguese top league. Sporting remains unbeaten however with 14 points out of a possible 18 in the Primeira Liga.

A familiar face in Jorge Jesús’ squad is Téofilo Gutiérrez, who played a short while for Trabzonspor five years ago. The 30 year old Colombian striker joined Sporting from River Plate this summer, but so far is yet to score his first goal for the Portuguese giants.

Another name which will sound familiar is without a doubt Bryan Ruiz, the Costa Rican was strongly linked with a move to Istanbul last summer but ultimately ended up staying another season at Fulham as the Black Eagles recruited José Ernesto Sosa instead. Ruiz joined Sporting this summer on a free transfer from Fulham. So far the Costa Rican has managed to get two assists for Sporting but is yet to score for his new employers.

Sporting will miss João Mario on a suspension while defender Paolo Oliveira is out injured, William Carvalho made his rentree last weekend. Playing in the last 25 minutes against Boavista and he may get some minutes on Thursday but will almost certainly not start.

Beşiktaş predicted XI:

Tolga Zengin (Günay Güvenç); Andreas Beck – Luiz Rhodolfo – Ersan Adem Gülüm – Dusko Tosic (Ismail Köybaşi); Atiba Hutchinson – Necip Uysal – José Ernesto Sosa (Oguzhan Özyakup); Ricardo Quaresma – Kerim Frei (Gökhan Töre) – Cenk Tosun (Mario Gomez)

Suspensions: Olcay Şahan
Injuries: Veli Kavlak, Tolgay Arslan

Sporting CP predicted XI:

Rui Patrício; Esgaio – Naldo – Tobias Figueiredo – Jonathan; Aquilani – Adrien; Bryan Ruiz – Gelson Martins; Fredy Montero – Téofilo Gutiérrez

Suspensions: João Mario
Injuries: Paolo Oliveira, William Carvalho (doubtful)

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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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