Fenerbahce SK vs. SL Benfica
To get to the semi-finals of this season’s Europa League, SK Fenerbahce had managed to eliminate Lazio, Viktoria Plzen, and BATE Borisov before themselves. In the same manner, Benfica had managed to eliminate Newcastle United, Girdondins de Bordeaux, and Bayer Leverkusen in previous Europa League match-ups. Fenerbahce had been in the competition longer than Benfica, however, and so they had played a few more teams than their opponents on the night. The Turkish side had emerged top in Group C and were, therefore, no underdogs to the Portuguese giants, who were thought to be the stronger team by the majority. Benfica hadn’t lost a single match in their Europa League campaign before this match. Despite having been goalless for a whole 72 minutes, this one turned out to be quite a match!
The game would have started so well for the Portuguese visitors had it not been for a smart save by Volkan Demirel on the 5th minute. Salvio had a decent chance, but it wasn’t meant to be. Aimar then had another chance to put his side ahead just 8 minutes from Salvio’s attempt, but just missed the target. Fenerbahce were able to dominate from then on, coming close more than once and even hitting the woodwork once. Fenerbahce were awarded a good chance to take a well-deserved lead on the brink of half-time when they were awarded a penalty from a foul by John on Gokhan Gonul inside the area. Cristian took the penalty but, once again, just hit the woodwork despite defeating Artur. The home players were frustrated for having missed a chance like this as the half-time whistle was blown. Benfica were, more than anything, relieved that they have survived the threat of the Turks as they went into their dressing room at half-time.
At half-time, Fenerbahce looked more like the team to win, as Benfica had been clearly outplayed. Fenerbahce started on a high, with their fans cheering even louder as the game got more intense. A good attempt in the early minutes of the second half inspired the Turkish side even more as they looked to break the deadlock. Unfortunately, however, Dirk Kuyt’s shot hit the woodwork once again! How very frustrating for the Turks! Benfica were gifted a good chance just 9 minutes into the second 45 as well but, just as their opponents had done thrice already, they hit the woodwork. Benfica were just unlucky, as a goal would have certainly changed their game.
The woodwork had been Fenerbahce’s biggest enemy on the night but, as it turned out to be, the woodwork was instrumental in what would be the only goal of the game. After a goalless 71 minutes on the pitch, Egemen Korkmaz finally managed to break the deadlock with a header just off the post and into the net from a Cristian corner, a well-deserved goal for the home side.
The last 20 or so minutes were intense, but Fenerbahce managed to prevent their visitors from getting an equalizer, and it ended 1-0 to the home side after what had been a very, very frustratingly long search for the goal that would separate the sides ahead of their second-leg clash.
- Fenerbahce had 2 more attempts (9) over Benfica (5)
- Fenerbahce were 66.66% on target and enjoyed a whole 62% of the possession, while Benfica were 40% on target and had the remaining 38% possession
- Fenerbahce were awarded 19 free-kicks on the night, while Benfica got 16
- 25 fouls were committed between the two teams on the night; Fenerbahce committed 32% of those fouls (8 fouls), while Benfica committed the remaining 68% (17 fouls).
- Fenerbahce got 8 corners, while Benfica only received 4
- Volkan Demirel made 2 saves compared to Artur’s 4
- Fenerbahce hit the woodwork 3 times, while Benfica did so once
- 6 substitutions (3-a-side) were made during this match; Aycut Kocaman and Jorge Jesus replaced two midfielders and one striker each.
- 7 yellow cards (3 to Fenerbahce and 4 to Benfica) were issued by referee on the night, Milorad Mazic
- No players were sent off during this game
Aycut Kocaman and Jorge Jesus lined up the following squads:
Fenerbahce Starting XI
Demirel, Korkmaz, Yobo, Ziegler, Gonul, Topal, Meireles, Cristian, Sow, Kuyt, Webo
Subs: Gunok, Irtegun, Sahin, Krasic, Topuz, Ucan, and Senturk
Benfica Starting XI
Artur, Pereira, Garay, Jardel, Melgarejo, Matic, Gomes, Aimar, John, Salvio, Cardozo
Subs: Lopes, Roderick, Martins, Gaitan, Urreta, Lima, and Rodrigo
Final Score: Fenerbahce SK 1-0 SL Benfica
Goals and Assists
- Egemen Korkmaz’s goal was a header on the 71st minute, assisted by a Cristian corner via a little deflection and off the woodwork; this goal was Egemen’s 2nd in the competition
Written by Ange Marline