Beşiktaş made a comfortable winning start to the Europa League but the two other Turkish teams in the competition, Fenerbahçe and Akhisarspor lost against their rivals Thursday. The Black Eagles beat Norwegian Sarpsborg 3-1 in their first game in Europa League 2018-19 group stage. In the Group I game, Beşiktaş pressured the Norwegian side well at home in Istanbul's Vodafone Park. It had relatively more possession but Sarpsborg had created better chances in the first half of the match. The sides met for the first time in UEFA competition and it was Sarpsborg's first trip to Turkey. Beşiktaş finished fourth in Turkey last season, while Sarpsborg was third in Norway.
After the win, Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş said: "We could not finish the match without conceding a goal. We must check our failures on conceding goals. We deserved to win."
The win will also boost Beşiktaş's morale ahead of the Monday's Super League derby against Fenerbahçe. Fenerbahçe, however, disappointed its fans after getting thrashed 4-1 by Dinamo Zagreb in their Europa League opener. The teams met for the first time in the UEFA competition. Croatia's Dinamo Zagreb won the domestic league and cup last season while Fenerbahçe was league and cup runners-up in Turkey. The defeat was one of Fenerbahçe's many poor performances this season. The Istanbul team has lost three and won only two matches as of game week 5 of the Super League.
After that match, Fenerbahçe's Dutch coach Philip Cocu said: "I am responsible for this bad result and very angry. I completely understand our fans' feelings and agree with them. We should not have thought about Monday's match (derby against Beşiktaş) on Thursday night. I hope our players would concentrate on the derby match better."
Replying to rumors about his possible departure, Cocu said: "I don't decide on anything or judge. I only think about how I can transmit my energy to my players."
Meanwhile, debutant Akhisar also faced defeat in their first match in the Europa League. It was beaten 1-0 by Russia's Krasnodar. The first two teams from every 12 groups will reach the last 32 round of the Europa League. The final will be held in the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan on May 29. Galatasaray is the only Turkish club to win the Europa League when it beat Arsenal 1999-2000 final.