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Luck finally runs out on Beşiktaş

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
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With Beşiktaş's elimination from the Europa League at the hands Olympique Lyonnais on Thursday, Turkish football's European venture this season has come to an end.

But, before analyzing the game, I would like to congratulate Beşiktaş for going all the way to the UEFA Europa League quarter-final and for the dedication to put their best on the pitch, evident in goalkeeper Fabricio "Fabri" Ramírez's tears after the game.

I have to point this out at the very beginning, Beşiktaş's strength was clearly not enough to hold Lyon back, or for that matter, advance to the semi-finals.

Strategically, tactically or individually, the Black Eagles did not deserve to prevail over Lyon and it was only through a chain of incredible events the match went to a penalty shootout.

After regularly warning Beşiktaş about the chaotic nature of their game, I think I have every right to claim that coach Şenol Güneş is responsible for their weak display in both games against Lyon.

Lyon, in both games, easily found opportunities and generously wasted them, while in the second game Beşiktaş goalkeeper Fabri's incredible effort must be taken into account as well.

Beşiktaş, on the other hand, struggled to create opportunities in the 210 minutes of play, but luckily enough, they did not waste the ones that fell their way.

Lyon's strategies were far superior to Beşiktaş's complete chaos and disorder, in terms of producing chances.

For instance, Lyon's striker Alexandre Lacazette managed to slip through the Beşiktaş defense at least seven or eight times in the two games they met and the set-pieces that created opportunities for him had similar patterns.

Beşiktaş, however, showed no sign of organization and most of their opportunities came through chaos. As a result, Anderson Talisca and Ricardo Quaresma had to put extra effort to create opportunities, and after a while both of them were physically and mentally exhausted.

In addition, given Beşiktaş's defensive woes, midfielders Oğuzhan Özyakup and Atiba Hutchinson were not able to make any contribution whatsoever in building the attack, leaving Talisca and Quaresma even more isolated.

Although Talisca put up a good show to score the two vital goals that allowed them to go to extra-time, Quaresma was completely out of control and did more harm than good.

If Güneş had addressed this issue after the first-half whistle and replaced Quaresma with Gökhan İnler or Tolgay Arslan, their performance in the midfield may have improved significantly.

Güneş, however, decided to take Özyakup out and play another defensive midfielder in the form of Necip Uysal, right in between the two center backs, virtually making it easier for Lyon to pass inside Beşiktaş's half, and honestly they could have scored six goals in the second half.

Unsurprisingly, everyone is blaming Dusko Tosic and Matej Mitrovic, for missing the penalties, just like the blamed Fabri after the first game. But, what they forget or decline to accept is that performance-wise, Beşiktaş were nowhere near Lyon and they should be glad that the result wasn't a disaster.

Rather than being emotional, we should ask why Beşiktaş played in such fashion. Even though the team has shown some good performances in the league, coach Şenol Güneş has now paid the price for his chaotic below-par approach.

There is a vast difference in quality between top-level European football and the Turkish game, meaning, Beşiktaş will have to improve their game by leaps and bounds if they want to compete against Europe's creme de la creme.

In order to become a serious contender in Europe, they need to stop relying on luck and play the game scientifically.

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