When Dirk Kuyt's shot found the net, Fenerbahçe fans suddenly forgot the dull game that their team was playing and started to sing songs about winning the championship. For the other set of fans, there was no enjoyment to be had. Despite the fact that the game was balanced for most of the time, the picture derived from this game by Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray fans was completely different. The aftermath of the game was so heated that it radicalized both sides. Fenerbahçe Coach İsmail Kartal even claimed that anyone who says Fenerbahçe is not the best team in the league is "malevolent."
"We were physically and tactically better than Galatasaray. Praise to god, football luck was on our side today. Yes, they have some talented players and they found some opportunities, but if you look at the bigger picture you will see that we were just better than Galatasaray. The only thing that I pray for is that this luck will be with us until the end of the season. If you look at even the games that we lose, you will see that we were always the better side, but we lacked luck."
Well, someone must be really confident about his team and strategy to make such a claim. Nevertheless, I think Kartal's claim is just false. When I look at the games in which Fenerbahçe lost points, I see an ineffective and chaotic game plan. Added to that, like in the Konyaspor game, luck was on Fenerbahçe's side more than its opponent, and the Galatasaray game was no different. Hamza Hamzaoğlu's team also put in a pathetic performance on Sunday night, but they found some opportunities and they could have made them count. I'm assuming Kartal counts them as serious opportunities when he talks about luck.
Furthermore, Fenerbahçe created just one opportunity other than the goal. It was a game that Fenerbahçe had to win but the team just could not find anything. If Kuyt had not scored the goal, would Kartal have been able said these? I do not think so. Fenerbahçe were a patient and dominant team once, when Ersun Yanal and Aykut Kocaman were in charge. Nonetheless, today the only plan is to create chaos inside the opponent's penalty box and hope something comes from it. Nonetheless, a team cannot chase great achievements with such a strategy. Kartal has to elaborate his view of the game and especially Fenerbahçe's game. Otherwise, it won't not be a surprise if Fenerbahçe lose next week.
On the other hand, Hamzaoğlu also did not seem to analyze this game properly either:
"We started the game really well, made a lot of passes. We accepted the game in our opponent's half. Fenerbahçe pressed us and we answered with the same amount of pressing. In the second half we made a lot of unnecessary long passes and I was not able to change this situation. Added to that, our substitutions did not make the impact that they were supposed to."
Hamzaoğlu's statements after the game were not as aggressive as Kartal's. Galatasaray are still leading the Super League and this fact gives Hamzaoğlu some respite. Nevertheless, it is obvious that İsmail Kartal suffered significantly from the pressure of this game. However, Galatasaray were under a different kind of pressure in this game, that is the Galatasaray's chronic anxiety they experience in Kadıköy. Hamzaoğlu's team simply made everything a lot easier for Fenerbahçe by sitting too deep. Although Fenerbahçe were also focused on defense, Galatasaray's six defensive players did not participate in an attacking play once. The only opportunities the team found came at the beginning of the game, when both sides were just blind and imbalanced.
Volkan Demirel simply was the best player in the game between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray. His reactions from both Selçuk İnan's long shot at the beginning and Yasin Öztekin's close try were superb. He also commanded his defensive teammates very well and Volkan is unique, in this regard from, any other goalkeeper in Turkey. He even intervened in long throws and crosses that were aimed at the edge of the area. This gives great confidence to his teammates in the area. On the other hand, Fernando Muslera was not bad, but he could have done better. He could have saved the goal, but it was a shot that only top class goalkeepers could save.