Late Alex de Souza Bullet Salvages Point Against GaziantepNews • Author: Nathan Redd • Sunday, February 1, 2009
Maybe it was a hangover from last weekend's Trabzonspor match. Perhaps the fatigue of playing their third game in seven days. Whatever the reason, Fenerbahçe put in a lackluster performance on Sunday and needed a late goal from Alex de Souza to salvage a point against visiting Gaziantepspor. With league-leaders Sivasspor also earning just a point this weekend, it was an opportunity wasted for the Canaries to move up in the table.
Fenerbahçe looked lethargic and not ready to play on Sunday against Gaziantepspor. The Canaries were dominated throughout much of the match, with the Falcons controlling the pace of the game in the second half.
Fener had their chances, but were unable to convert on most of their opportunities. Gaziantep, on the other hand, created more chances and are likely disappointed in not winning a game they thoroughy controlled and deserved to win. Missed attempts by the Gaziantep front saved Fener from leaving the pitch with no points at all.
Striker Dani Güiza again struggled in form, with several opportunities given to him by the midfield that were not converted. He had his first chance just six minutes in with a decent attempt that went wide left. Roberto Carlos would have a chance seven minutes later with a 31-meter free kick, but his shot went wide right. Fener attacked in the first twenty minutes, but Gaziantep kept defenders back to put a stop to any Canary promise.
It would be Gaziantepspor that would spend most of the game on the attack. A free kick 23 minutes in hit the Fener defense, but the Falcons kept up the pressure on the Canaries' back line. Their effective midfield play also kept Fener from creating much to work with, as the Canaries' midfield gave up the ball on numerous occasions. Still, Fener would get good looks at the goal. Just over half an hour in, a Roberto Carlos set-up on the left side found Alex de Souza in the box, but his attempt would go wide. Six minutes later, Emre Belözoğlu would go wide left on his run-of-play attempt. Nevertheless, the former Newcastle star played a lively match in the midfield.
Gaziantep had a promising opportunity to take the lead just before the break. A pass from the midfield on the right side found Volkan Demirel out of goal, but the keeper was able to deflect the shot and kill the attack. The two teams went into the locker rooms at the half with no score.
The second half started with sloppy play in the midfield and neither team able to make much of it. Ten minutes in, Emre Belözoğlu delivered a nice, left-footed cross from the right into Alex de Souza in the box, but the beautiful pass was headed away by the Gaziantep defenders. Coach Luis Aragones went to his bench 58 minutes in, bringing in Semih Şentürk and Colin Kazım-Richards for Deivid de Souza and Uğur Boral. However, Gaziantep would nearly get on the board just seconds later. A chip-pass from the left side found Tabata on the run with only Volkan to beat, but his attempt soared wide right in what should have been a likely goal. A minute later, Tabata would get another shot on a Gaziantep counter attack, followed by a Beto shot that was just off the mark.
Gaziantep coach Nurullah Sağlam would go to his bench in the 62nd minute, bringing on former Canary Mehmet Yozgatlı. Sağlam's team continued their second half domination by winning the battle in the midfield, limiting Fener to only nine shots and just three on the mark by the 64th minute.
Fener would get two good looks over the next four minutes. A corner kick saw Alex de Souza's pass into the box intercepted, then Dani Güiza received an attractive pass from the midfield on the right side. With no one to beat but the keeper, Güiza's shot rolled wide left of goal.
Gaziantepspor continued to control the game over the final twenty minutes, with Mehmet Yozgatlı nearly slipping the ball past Volkan Demirel when the keeper found himself too far out of goal to defend. With fifteen minutes of regulation left, a foul just outside the box gave the Falcons a 20.7-meter free kick that required a diving save by Volkan to deflect the ball out. Gaziantep kept up the attack, however.
Aragones would look to his bench one final time in the 79th minute, bringing on midfielder Josico for Selçuk Şahin. After 80 minutes of scoreless football, both teams would break through over the next four minutes. A Gaziantep attack in the 82nd minute saw Tabata's cross into the box leave an unmarked Erman Özgür. Erman's left-footed volley would soar past Volkan to give Gaziantep the 1-0 lead.
Just two minutes later, Alex de Souza would help the Canaries salvage a point. A cross from the right side found Semih in the box, who headed the ball to his left finding Alex. His bullet shot fired past goalkeeper Murat Şahin to tie the game at 1-1. The two teams continued to battle over the final six minutes of regulation and added three minutes of stoppage time. Güiza would get one final shot at goal in the 92nd minute, and Gaziantep would attack requiring a sliding Diego Lugano tackle to keep the Falcons from taking the lead once again.
After three minutes of added time, the teams finished with a 1-1 draw. Fener will now get ready for the second leg of their meeting with Bursaspor in the Fortis Turkish Cup. That match is scheduled for Thursday at 20:00 from Bursa Ataturk Stadium.
STADIUM: Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saracoğlu
REFEREES: Özgüç Türkalp, Serkan Gençerler, Hüseyin Fidan
FENERBAHÇE: Volkan Demirel, Önder Turacı, Diego Lugano, Yasin Çakmak, Roberto Carlos, Deivid de Souza (Semih Şentürk - 59th), Emre Belözoğlu, Selçuk Şahin (Josico - 79th), Uğur Boral (Kazım-Richards - 59th), Alex de Souza, Dani Güiza
GAZİANTEPSPOR: Murat Şahin, Erkan, Bekir, Deumi, İsmail, İlhan (Mehmet Yozgatlı - 62nd), Murat Ceylan (Julio Cesar - 90+1) Hakan, Tabata, Ivan (Erman Özgür - 72nd), Beto
GOALS: Erman Özgür (82nd), Alex de Souza (85th)
YELLOW CARDS: Selçuk, Emre, Önder, Kazım (Fenerbahçe) ; Murat Ceylan (Gaziantepspor)
(photo courtesy of Hurriyet)