Fenerbahçe, or the Yellow Canaries, needed to beat Kayserispor by at least four goals away in their Spor Toto Super League week 14 match at Kadir Has Stadium on Sunday to pull level on points and overtake archrival Galatasaray -- which drew 1-1 with Gaziantepspor -- on goal difference.
Forget about scoring four goals, or even winning, Fenerbahçe came from behind to seal a 1-1 draw in the 88th minute and go home with a lucky point. The result meant the Canaries dropping from second to fourth in the 18-team standings and still trailing Galatasaray by two points.
The biggest beneficiaries in week 14 were Beşiktaş, which beat Orduspor 2-1 away on Saturday to move up to third from fourth, and Medical Park Antalyaspor, which beat Mersin İdman Yurdu 1-0 to go up from third to second -- equal on points with leader and defending champion Galatasaray -- but only trailing by virtue of an inferior goal difference.
And from the look of things, it appears as if Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray have a “secret treaty” -- so much so that the Yellow Canaries drop points almost every week that Galatasaray does so and have not overtaken the defending champion since week two, when both teams had two points apiece.
And so when Galatasaray drew 1-1 with Gaziantepspor on Friday, the general consensus was that Fenerbahçe was not going to win at Kayseri on Sunday. And verily it came to pass at Kadir Has Stadium.
After a lackluster first half where scoring chances were limited, both Kayserispor and Fenerbahçe came out in the second half, competing with each another on goal misses rather than scoring them.
Senegal striker Moussa Sow, Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt, Turkey midfielder Gökhan Gönül and co. squandered several chances that came Fener's way. And ex-Beşiktaş Brazil forward Bobo and attacking midfielder Cleyton Alexandre Henrique Silva, or simply Cleyton, also failed to convert clear chances for Kayserispor.
But Bobo broke the deadlock in the 83th, when he reconnected a pass from Argentine striker Pablo Mouche past Fener keeper Volkan Demirel. Kuyt, however, replied for the Canaries in the 89th minute when he headed home a Miroslav Stoch long free kick to settle the deal: Kayserispor 1, Fenerbahçe 1.
“We came to Kayseri aiming for outright victory. But in the end we had to battle for a draw [after conceding a goal]. These things happen in football,” said Fener coach Aykut Kocaman.
Undefeated leader Fenerbahçe and Borussia have already qualified for the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League and so their last Group C match in İstanbul on Thursday is going to be a mere formality. But the Canaries will need to improve their standard of play to sign off on a winning note and maintain their unbeaten record.
This match is over for good, but the saddest thing is that hooliganism reared its ugly head again, as the bus carrying Fenerbahçe players was pelted with stones as it headed towards the stadium. Some windows were broken and the bus driver injured. Someone somewhere has to look into this matter and make sure it does not happen anywhere ever again.
Surprise team Antalyaspor stayed in contention for this season's league championship contention with a 1-0 win over Mersin İdman Yurdu. The only goal of the match came from German-born striker Ömer Hasan Şişmanoğlu in the 83rd minute.
Elsewhere on Sunday, İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor beat visiting Sivasspor 2-0 for coach Bülent Korkmaz's first victory as coach. Eskişehir and Kasımpaşa shared the spoils after a 2-2 draw.