Champions Humbled

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 17, 2019 19:35


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Champions Humbled

By Satish Sekar in Denizli © Satish Sekar (August 16th 2019)


Defending champions Galatasaray could not have had a worse start to the defence of their Süper Lĺg crown. Denĺzlĺspor beat the champions 2-0 thanks to two goals as ten-man Galatasaray tired.

Denĺzlĺspor benefited from the sending off of Marcos do Nascimiento Teixeira after 43 minutes. Teixeira received his second card after fouling Hugo Rodallega near the half way line. The defender was perplexed. It was a foul, but the card seemed harsh. There was no review, so he left the pitch dejected. Galatasaray changed their game plan.

Recep Niyaz shot from distance beat Uruguay’s veteran keeper Fernando Muslera to his left to give Denĺzlĺspor the lead after 75 minutes. Galatasaray had to chase the game. Moments after missing a sitter Rodallega redeemed himself. As the five minutes of added time were ending Rodallega doubled the lead from close range on the right of the area. Again, Muslera was beaten at his near post.


Before the match, and after it too, much of the talk was over a player who still plays for another team, AS Monaco. Colombian talisman Radamel Falcao is 99% set to join the Turkish champions. On the showing, they need him.
Selcuk İnan wasted a glorious opportunity after Jakup Durmaz teed him up. His weak shot was easily saved by Adam Stackhowiak, shortly after the keeper got away with a bizarre incident. Lacking support Dutch international Ryan Babel attempted a cross, which deflected off Zakariah Bergdich and bounced over Stackhowiak.

It could have been embarrassing, but nobody had followed in, so it was cleared. And just before that after delightful play by Babel, his cross from the right indirectly found its way to Mbaye Diagne, but the striker’s shot was tame and easily saved by Stackhowiak.

Turning Points

The most obvious came midway through the first half. Younes Belhanda had already had a penalty claim turned down. Another was rejected until VAR stepped in. It proved so controversial last season that a major revamp was introduced in Turkey ahead of the current season.

To the disgust of the Denĺzlĺspor faithful, referee Abdulkader Bitigen, reversed his decision to wave play on. After reviewing the incident Bitigen concluded that not only had Oğuz Yilmaz fouled Diagne, but that it was a penalty, and that Yilmaz deserved a yellow card. Diagne wanted to take the spot kick, but İnan stepped and his weak effort allowed Stackhowiak to emerge the hero.

Adding insult to injury there was a long delay as Babel’s positioning for the spot-kick displeased the referee enough for Bitigen to remonstrate with the Dutch winger before booking him.

Teixeira trudged off disconsolately after being penalised for fouling Rodallega. It was a major turning point, as the tactics changed for the second half. It could have been worse as Rodallega missed a sitter shortly afterwards. He did the same just before ending the match as a contest in second half added time.

Champions or not, Galatasaray looked rusty. Steven Nzonzi has already been signed from AS Roma, but on tonight’s showing Radamel Falcao cannot arrive soon enough.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 17, 2019 19:35