Beşiktaş again fails to break Olympic Stadium hoodoo
Things hardly change in Turkish football. Beşiktaş -- going into the week 32 match in the Spor Toto Super League against İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor at İstanbul's Atatürk Olympic Stadium on Monday evening -- had not won in five matches in all competitions between the two teams.
Beşiktaş, or the Black Eagles, again could not overcome the Atatürk Olympic Stadium hoodoo on Monday, holding İstanbul BB to a 2-2 draw and extending its winless streak at this jinxed venue to six games.
The record books show that in five league matches and one Turkish Cup game between the two teams, İstanbul BB has won three matches and three have been drawn -- including Monday's tie.
İstanbul BB therefore has become Beşiktaş's Turkish football perpetual nemesis, and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel for the Eagles.
The writing was already on the wall after only six minutes on Monday, when veteran attacking midfielder Efe İnanç scored with a cracker of a shot from outside the box to put İstanbul BB 1-0 up.
Portugal all-rounder Manuel Fernandes equalized for Beşiktaş in the 36th, tapping in the ball with the left foot after a perfect one-two combination with striker Mustafa Pektemek -- and the first half ended 1-1.
The Eagles started the second half more offensively and went 2-1 up after only four minutes (49th) when Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa, capitalizing on a superb pass, sent a long cross into the İstanbul BB box and striker Mustafa made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
But 22-year-old Bosnia and Herzegovina lefty Edin Visca scored a bizarre goal with his knee in the 70th to equalize again for İstanbul BB and make sure Beşiktaş remained winless against this gutsy team.
“First and foremost, I want to thank all our fans who came here [to the Olympic Stadium] to support us,” Beşiktaş coach Carlos Carvalhal said. “We played against a very formidable opponent. We were very strong physically and mentally throughout the match, and I think everyone watched an interesting game,” he asserted.
Young Portuguese winger Bebe, acquired on loan from Manchester United this season, made his first appearance for the Eagles as a late substitute since his injury in preseason that forced him to remain at the club's infirmary for almost the entire season.
Beşiktaş had already qualified for the four-team championship playoffs that will kick off on April 15, before Monday's match. Gençlerbirliği, drawing 0-0 with Orduspor on Sunday, had given the Eagles an insurmountable advantage.
But the Eagles, currently trailing leader Galatasaray by 17 points and second-placed Fenerbahçe by 10, do not stand much of a chance in the playoffs. The simple reason is that the playoffs will not begin at zero points, but the total points each of the four teams has garnered during the regular season will be divided by two. Therefore, the team with the most points stands a better chance of winning and becoming champion.
And Carvalhal knows this fact more than anyone. “There are two matches left, and we want to win all of them and finish the season as best as we can in anticipation of the playoffs,” he said.
It is also worth noting that the new Beşiktaş administration, headed by Chairman Fikret Orman, watched the match from the VIP stands.