Having been eliminated from the Europa League and 12 points behind Turkish league leaders Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe's only reasonable goal has become winning the Turkish Cup. Even though it has very little financial significance, and most of the time chairmen complain that winning the trophy is a Pyrrhic victory, the competition still has a considerable effect on the fans. Fenerbahçe's 3-0 win over Kayserispor in the Turkish Cup quarter-finals was a positive step toward a trophy, but the game they played promised nothing for the future.
First of all, Kayserispor were the team that started Fenerbahçe's downfall in the second part of the season, by beating them 3-1 at the end of January. Sergen Yalçın, who was a star for Beşiktaş and the Turkish national team in 1990's and early 2000's, took charge of the coaching position at Kayserispor just days before the second part of the season, and did a remarkable job by beating both Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray in. Nevertheless, his coaching style was also focused on short-term success, given Kayserispor were struggling to hold on to the Super League. Now, Yalçın has also started to pay the price of being short-term focused, and teams have started to figure out how to stop his practical but simple strategies.
Fenerbahçe coach Dick Advocaat was one of those people who understood Kayserispor's weaknesses, and made his team play as if Istanbul giant Fenerbahçe was the weak and defensive side throughout the game. Although this strategy brought three points with three goals and a clean sheet, I guarantee you Fenerbahçe fans are not satisfied with this humble but weak display. Added to that, the individual performances, except for Fernandao, who scored two goals, were so horrible that after a point I sincerely started to question whether Kayserispor were the side with more pedigree.
However, when Fenerbahçe's controversial goal came just before the half time whistle, the conditions for Advocaat's counter attacking game were provided. Given Kayserispor utilized a chaotic approach by by-passing the midfield and playing long direct balls, there was already plenty of space for Fenerbahçe players. But when Kayserispor widened the gap between defense and attack, pressing for a goal and worrying about counter-attacks at the same time, it was obvious that Fenerbahçe would break this very long line between attack and defense. For a team like Fenerbahçe, which more or less knows how to conduct a press around the opponent's penalty box, it is a deadly move to widen the distance between your players and make it harder to pass.
On the other hand, the reason why I derive nothing serious for the future of Fenerbahçe from this game is that the nature of the game offered nothing repeatable or scientifically assessable for me as a columnist. If Fenerbahçe had scored two or at least one goal from a pattern that they repeated, then I would have taken that seriously but for now the only weapon they have is the explosive power of Jeremain Lens and the hope that their opponent is as unsuccessful in circulating the ball as Kayserispor. The question is, is this the Fenerbahçe their fans want to watch? Or is another year just being wasted? I am keen to agree on the second argument.
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