Last week, FollowFollow spoke to James Kelly, senior writer at These Footy Times, in the build up to the Europa League qualifier showdown at Ibrox. His prediction of a narrow victory for Rangers came to fruition, in what was a deserved win. The Turkish football enthusiast shared further thoughts and findings in summary as the fans and Turkish media reflected on the current state of Galatasaray.
It has been a troublesome week for Fatih Terim’s side. After going out of the Europa League at Rangers last Thursday, following up four days later with a 1-0 Süper Lig loss to Kasımpaşa was a less than ideal response. Admittedly the winning goal from Yusuf Erdoğan was an absolute stunner, which I implore you to go and watch afterwards, but it could easily have been more.
Much like at Ibrox, Galatasaray were second best. Last week ineffective performances from Radamel Falcao, Sofiane Feghouli and Younès Belhanda meant the Turks lacked a cutting edge going forward. Prior to the match I tweeted about the scenario of Gala losing, potentially making it the first time since 1982 that none of the Big Three (Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray) would play in Europe. After Rangers win, I received several damning replies about where Turkish clubs go.
User @ALKFutbol pointed to the high average age of Galatasaray’s team as the problem: “The team is old, overrated and inexperienced. (Fernando) Muslera has been the team’s saving grace for the past six years which has only put paper over cracks. The goal Marcão scored came from a defensive error. Who knows what could have happened; the team ain’t good enough”.
To combat this user @Sapooo16 believes turning to younger players is a good option: “Big Three clubs should initiate signing players from bigger teams’ U18-23 -could be a one/two-year loan with buying option- and make the league attractive. (Alexander) Sørloth was a great example. Without revenues of European tournaments teams will struggle financially and Turkey will lose points”.
Understandably such disappointment was reflected in the Turkish media. Well known pundit Erman Özgür questioned if tiredness from the derby with Fenerbahçe a few days earlier was the reason. Speaking on TV show Tivibu Spor, he said: “Did Galatasaray feel the effects of fatigue in the derby? Saying that they did not look tired in the derby. Perhaps the thought was ‘let’s not score in this game, we will score goals (on Thursday).’ Expectations were high today, but they were disappointing against a side they should be superior to.”
Focus has been broadly placed on what this result means for the future of Turkish domestic football. Cem Dizdar, from sports newspaper Fanatik, said: “What are we witnessing here? Our coefficient is gone, next year we will not be able to go to the Europa League or something like that. These are the results of overlooking the same reasons for years. Giving the money of the world to players considered stars to bring them here, then lamenting ‘We cannot sell them, we cannot buy them if we cannot sell them.’ These are the results”.
The results Dizdar refers to sees only Başakşehir and Sivasspor representing Turkey in Europe this season. With the former in a Champions League group with Manchester United, PSG, and RB Leipzing, and latter having a 36-year-old Arouna Koné as their main striker, things don’t look promising. Scotland looks set to overtake Turkey in UEFA’s coefficient rankings, provided Rangers enjoy a decent European campaign. I wish you the best of luck.
James Kelly @jkell403 – speaking to Graeme Hanna.