Turkish Football News

Islam Slimani gives Fenerbahce a glimmer of hope

After the worst start to a season in recent memory, Fenerbahce bounced back on Thursday evning with a 2-0 win against Spartak Trnava in their second UEFA Europa League group stages match.

A brace from Algerian forward Islam Slimani against the Slovakian team gave the Yellow Canaries their first win in the Europa League this season.

The Group D match at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium saw a possession-dominating Fenerbahce side although they were unable to break the deadlock in the first half despite forcing their opponents to defend throughout the entire first 45 minutes.

The Super Lig giants ended the stalemate in the 52nd minute when Trnava’s goalkeeper Martin Chudy could not clear the ball in the six-yard box and Slimani used the opportunity to score from close range. Fenerbahce increased their lead to 2-0 in the 68th minute when Slimani scored again, this time with a header from Andre Ayew’s cross from the left wing.

In the other Group D match, Dinamo Zagreb beat Anderlecht 2-0 in Belgium to continue to lead the group.

The Yellow Canaries have lost 4 of their 7 opening games in the Super Lig and were thrashed 4-1 by Dinamo Zagreb in their first UEFA Europa League fixture this season. After a number of consecutive defeats, the Istanbul club was desperately looking for a win against Trnava.

The game was also a matter of survival for Fenerbahce’s Dutch coach Philip Cocu.

According to Turkish reports, Fenerbahce has been negotiating with several coaches. The Istanbul team remains only two points clear of relegation in the Turkish top flight.

Meanwhile, the other Turkish teams in the Europa League saw disappointing results.

Sweden’s Malmo beat Besiktas 2-0 on Thursday in their second game of the Europa League group stages.

Akhisarspor, the small Turkish club making their debut in Europe this season, was also defeated by Belgium’s Standard Liege 2-1 on Thursday in their second match of the Europa League 2018-19 group stage.

Akhisarspor, or Akigo as they are known, scored their first European league goal in the 32nd minute of the away game when Standard Liege goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa managed to save Yevhen Selezynov’s header but could not hold on to the ball and Onur Ayik poked in the rebound. But Standard Liege went ahead again as Moussa Djenepo scored a goal in the 40th minute, with the first half ending 2-1.

To make matters worse, the Turkish side went down to to 10 men after Akhisarspor’s Mustafa Yumlu received a second yellow card and was sent off in the 82nd minute.

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