FOOTBALL >Beşiktaş extends lead with epic win
Beşiktaş achieved an epic 4-3 win over Trabzonspor late on April 8, throwing down a gauntlet to its two closest followers, which will clash with each other on April 10.
The visiting leader jumped ahead after just four minutes when the league’s top scorer, Cenk Tosun, slammed home a one-time shot from inside the box on a low cross by former Barcelona left back Adriano Correia Claro, or simply Adriano.
The Black and Whites missed a few chances before Trabzonspor, which is chasing a European spot of its own, leveled through Okay Yokuşlu on 25 minutes, with the teams going into the interval all squared at 1-1.
Beşiktaş regained the lead through Vincent Aboubakar at the beginning of the second half, but back-to-back goals from Fabián Castillo and Hugo Rodallega fired the home side in front after 65 minutes.
The resilient Black Eagles refused to give up and responded with a stunning free kick from Anderson Talisca and then an injury-time header by Canadian stalwart Atiba Hutchinson to steal the three points and the show in the Black Sea province of Trabzon – but not before Rodellaga hit the bar direct from the kickoff following Talisca’s strike.
Both sides could have won or been sad with a possible draw, said Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş after the game.
It was an emotional evening for Güneş, a former Trabzon hero as a legendary goalkeeper and a coach, because his side gave the Black Sea giants their first loss at their new home, Medical Park Arena inside the Şenol Güneş Sports Complex.
“We were great in the first 25 minutes but could not stop a goal on our rival’s fist attack. It is good that we did not gave up,” he said, adding that he was concerned with his side’s defensive mistakes ahead of a Europa League round of 16 away game against France’s Olympic Lyon on April 13.
Tosun’s opener, his 17th this season, was actually the first goal Trabzon has conceded in the stadium.
“The two teams probably played the best match in the league this season,” he said after the game.
Hutchinson humbly said he only “touched the ball” for the winner on Gökhan Gönül’s cross, although pundits praised the midfielder for his decision to run into the box and perfect timing.
Before the April 8 game, Trabzonspor had won eight and drawn two of 10 games in the second half of the season, allowing it to climb to fifth spot with 44 points, just three behind Fenerbahçe for the final Europa League spot.
Trabzon coach Ersun Yanal said it was an inspiring game while noting that Beşiktaş’s current success was rooted in five seasons ago, when the Istanbul side began playing very compact football – something he hoped his side would also do.
“There are many things that we won in this loss. Trabzon is on the right path,” he said.
With the win, Beşiktaş rose to 61 points on the year with seven matches remaining. Başakşehir, its closest follower on 53 points, will host Galatasaray, which sits in third on 49 points, on April 10.
Başakşehir’s Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor is likely to rejoin the squad after injury, according to club sources. Whatever the result of the Başakşehir-Galatasaray match, the score will benefit Beşiktaş, as it means that at least one, if not both, of its rivals will lose points.