A match that started with the hope that Galatasaray supporters would be given a one day sojourn from their nightmare season ended not with an awakening but a downward spiral. Two second half goals from the Yellow Canaries led Fenerbahçe to a comeback victory over their rivals, winning 2-1 at Türk Telekom Arena. The loss sends Galatasaray to a club record 12th league loss while giving Fener a temporary three point lead on Trabzonspor in the Süper Lig.
The match started promising for Galatasaray, who used the energy of their new arena's first derby to push their opponents on their heels. A strong opening from Lorik Cana neutralized Alex, cut-off the supply line to Mamadou Niang, while allowing Gala to execute Gheorge Hagi's plan, which appeared to center around attacking Fener left back Andre Santos.
The plan paid off in the 14th minute when Kazim Kazim, in his first appearance against his former club, overpowered the Brazilian along the byline, won the ball and played it back toward the middle of the area for Milan Baros. The Czech attacker's shot was saved by Volkan Demirel, but the rebound came out to the recovering Kazim, whose first touch shot the ball beaten Demirel's legs for the opening goal.
Even after the goal, it took Fener 20 more minutes to wake-up, the first half playing out as if the Canaries wanted to reach halftime so they could regroup. Yet by the end of the half, Fenerbahçe had put together 10 good minutes, finally creating a game that saw more room in the midfield for Alex, allowing their captain to spread the ball from flank-to-flank and through to Niang.
While the match would reach halftime with Gala up 1-0, Fener was able to maintain some of their momentum when the second half kicked-off. This, along with fitness issues, let to Hagi bringing Arda Turan off the bench, the attacker's swap for Kazim Kazim giving the home side a boost. Turan's fresh legs compounded the problems he would otherwise cause and bought Galatasaray 15 minutes where Fenerbahçe was forced to adjust.
At the end of that time, however, Fener was ready to come back into the match. But the Canaries needs some help from Gala's defense, who failed to mark Semih Senturk on a restart in the 75th minute, allowing the Turkey intentional to meet a Alex cross at the edge of the six, giving Robinson Zapata no chance to prevent the equalizer.
Near full time, it was a similar story. A ball worked from left-to-right allowed Gokhan Gonul to put a cross toward the spot from 30 yards out. The out-swinging ball met Alex, who leaned back to redirect the ball to the near post, scoring Fenerbahce's winning goal.
The win puts Fenerbahçe three points up at the top of the Süper Lig, pending weekend action. For Galatasaray, the mood could be summed up at match's end by Milan Baros. The Czech attacker after exchanging his jersey for one of his opponents', had to be restrained from going after the head referee post-match. Baros was already on a yellow yet was shown straight red, possibly excusing himself from Gala's next three matches.