Şenol Güneş and Ersun Yanal, two of the most progressive coaches in the Super League, created one of the best games in Turkish football history on Saturday night. Beşiktaş's visit to strong Anatolian side Trabzonspor produced seven goals and the visiting side got the three points in the last minute in a 4-3 victory.
Even though the result itself is pretty self-explanatory, those who watched the game know that this was a unique game compared to the usual slow and physical nature of the Turkish Super League.
This was a game of time and space, and the coach who managed to utilize time and space better than the other, with a slight difference, won the night. First of all, for those who do not know Trabzonspor, the Anatolian side is the most important team in Turkey after the Istanbul giants, with six Super League trophies.
Thus, with their revival in the second half of the season, winning eight of 11 eleven games and losing only once, they have become the real Trabzonspor with Ersun Yanal again and have started to threaten the top four.
The reason why their form was so horrible in the first half of the season is that, like most of high quality strategies, coach Ersun Yanal's strategy required some serious time to show its effects. But as the whole of Turkey now acknowledges, it has shown its effects pretty well.
Ersun Yanal's game mainly depends upon the success of the transition set-pieces and how fast his team can take up their positions in attack and defense. Unlike in the domination game, his team does not circulate the ball for a stable attack, but instead play vertically as much as possible to catch the opponent off-guard.
Nonetheless, the tough part of this strategy is that if you cannot organize collective action well; the only result of trying would be completely chaotic attacks and lots of opponent counter-attacks due to the lost balls that occur because of deficiencies in positioning. Characteristically Ersun Yanal does not create specific set-pieces for the final third, but sends his players as quickly as possible to the right spots to create more time and space for the optimal performance.
Needless to say, he managed to do so against Beşiktaş and his team scored three goals.On the other hand, Beşiktaş have a more hybrid system, as I have examined many times in my column. Although the team is not a completely dominant one, but they do not play the counter-attacking as radically as Trabzonspor either.
Coach Şenol Güneş trusts his individual talents, especially Ricardo Quaresma and Anderson Talisca to produce opportunities, which is structurally very different to Trabzonspor. This strategy obviously makes Beşiktaş more fragile against opponents that know how to subdue talented players. But, it also made Beşiktaş's game more stable and predictable against teams like Trabzonspor due to greater ball circulation.
In the game, there were two opposing, sophisticated ideologies of attack, which were enough alone to create a good game, but one player for Beşiktaş gave his team an advantage in this battle, Atiba Hutchinson. Between Beşiktaş's defense and attack, Atiba Hutchinson both served as a bridge for the attack, and a emergency back-up for the defense.
His energy and active participation in the game made Beşiktaş more fluid in attack and tougher in defense. Thus, with his goal in the final minute, Hutchinson literally gave the three points to Beşiktaş.
However, I congratulate both teams for creating such a great game and producing strategies that are progressive. Now Beşiktaş have to put in the same performance against Olympique Lyonnais this Thursday in the Europa League semi-finals. If Lyon coach Bruno Genesio watched the game between Trabzonspor and Beşiktaş, then he knows who to watch for.