Can Bartu, the legendary midfielder of Fenerbahçe and one of the truest gentlemen of Turkish football, passed away just hours before the biggest derby in Turkey. In his times, Fenerbahçe versus Galatasaray derby was indeed a great game, an event which the entire nation waited excitedly for. He lived and played in an era when football was not a big, ugly industry, and values like respect and humility were still upheld. Now, what remains from those glowing days of derbies is just a ruin, a fifth-class bar brawl which excites almost no one in the country.
For the last two decades, what comes to mind when the derby arrives is not football, but players fighting like children, lots of swear words and even more red cards. The last derby in November was a perfect example of the "post-modern" derbies, with the game being incredibly boring and dull and players fighting with each other at the end of the game, trying to compensate for their lack of talent with toxic masculinity.
This time we as the audience were a bit luckier, there was still a red card and fights here and there, but there was not a major act of violence as we usually watch in derbies. Still, the game was nowhere near entertaining, as both sides used all of their energy to prevent their opponent from scoring a goal. This was understandable for Fenerbahçe since they are experiencing probably the worst season in their history and they were playing against a team which is competing for the top.
However, Fatih Terim, despite being the clear favorites of the game and being in desperate need for three points, still did not push his team forward to press Fenerbahçe. With Badou Ndiaye and Fernando ordered to stay in front of defenders, Terim practically left only four players to attack Fenerbahçe's seven men defense. Even when Fenerbahçe went down to 10 men, Terim still held his team far back from the midfield line, hoping for miracles from crosses from the wing.
He indeed found his miracle, when Fenerbahçe center-back Martin Skrtel was temporarily injured and there was no one to cover his spot. Right-back Mariano delivered the most crucial assist of the season to Henry Onyekuru and the Nigerian winger tipped the header above Victor Moses. Nevertheless, Galatasaray did not continue to press their wounded opponent to seal the game, rather they sat even deeper in their half, allowing Fenerbahçe to build-up attacks. They were punished just five minutes later by young Fenerbahçe midfielder Eljif Elmas. Even though the referee made a mistake, Galatasaray allowed this goal to happen and prevented themselves from scoring more against the worst Fenerbahçe team of all time.
In the end, the game was a tragic comedy, in which both sides did not produce anything noteworthy, because they were too afraid to concede a goal. Hence, it could be said that they got what they wanted; they sought a draw and got a draw. Başakşehir also got what they wanted, as Galatasaray missed the chance of narrowing the gap to three points. Only the fans in the stadium and the fans on TV did not get what they wanted and it seems like they will not get what they want and deserve for a long time.
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