Bitter rivals Fener, Trabzon to square off in Super League game
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULDec 26, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Dec 26, 2016 12:00 am
An uneasy rivalry between Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor, two fixtures of Turkey's top league, will make a comeback today as Trabzon host the Istanbul club for their 118th Super League match in more than four decades
Gunshots, stone-throwing fans and match-fixing allegations have overshadowed the rivalry between Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor for decades and now the two major clubs of Turkish football, once again are set to face off for a Spor Toto Super League game.
Today, in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, the two teams will take to the pitch for their 118th match in 42 years.
Fenerbahçe aims to add the match to its list of 47 victories against Trabzon, while Trabzonspor, who currently sits in 12th place, looks to secure its 38th win against Fenerbahçe.
Trabzonspor may be poised to lose as its league statistics remain gloomy, with no victories in the last 14 games both in the Super League and second tier Turkish Cup, failing to score any goals in the last eight games.
Fenerbahçe boasts 36 wins in 86 matches in the Super League versus Trabzonspor, while Trabzonspor has only 22 wins under its belt. Fenerbahçe's Yellow Canaries secured 112 goals in its Trabzonspor rival history, while Trabzonspor has only 85 goals.
Still, the Black Sea Storm may wreak havoc against the Istanbul side as it is ahead of Fenerbahçe in home games, with 20 victories in four decades.
The history of the rivalry is marked with fan violence and match-fixing allegations that saw Fenerbahçe conceding its place in the league to Trabzonspor five years ago.
Although no link was found to Trabzonspor, an armed attack on a bus carrying Fenerbahçe in Trabzon while traveling home from a match in neighboring Rize last year, has prompted concerns over fan violence. The team barely escaped from a certain death after a bodyguard jumped to steer the bus from plunging off a cliff when the driver was panicked by gunshots hitting the windshield.
Though it was a far cry from the potentially deadly incident, Fenerbahçe was subject to fan violence in 1978 as well when Trabzon fans hurled stones on the rival team during a home game, leading to a lengthy delay in the game. About nine years later, stones hit a bus carrying Fenerbahçe players, this time while the team was heading to a hotel after a match.
In 1998, a stone hitting Fenerbahçe coach Otto Bariç on the waist would make it to the headlines on sports pages with the grim image of the Croatian coach collapsing on the pitch.
Following Fenerbahçe had withdrawn from the match, leading sporting authorities to award Trabzonspor a 3-0 win and a two-year ban for Fenerbahçe from the Turkish Cup.
Match-fixing allegations that ended up with the imprisonment of Fenerbahçe executives, only to be later acquitted of charges, in what the club president Aziz Yıldırım described as 'a plot against Fenerbahçe,' further aggravated the rivalry. Trabzonspor fans and firebrand executives of the team fueled the conflict by continuously accusing Fenerbahçe of fixing matches.
Trabzonspor hopes to repeat the success of a 1992 match where they won 4-1 against the Yellow Canaries, which boasts a 5-1 win in its Kadıköy stadium in 1989.
The match will also be the last one for Trabzonspor at Hüseyin Avni Aker stadium, before it moves to the newly built Akyazı Stadium, located on an artificially created island. The stadium, with a capacity of 42,000 spectators, opened last week in a grandiose ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.