Did Trabzonspor tempt European fate?

 The words ‘don’t tempt fate’ can often be heard around Turkey, and in the Trabzon area in particular.

Club chairman Sadri Sener will have been wondering whether to celebrate or seek a witch doctor when his side took an early lead against Liverpool only to concede two late goals. It was of course Sener who had hoped for his team NOT to score an early goal in Thursdays Europa League tie.

With the match seemingly heading for extra time, Remzi Kacar put the ball into his own net before Dirk Kuyt sealed the game for the visitors. Black cats, voodoo dolls and the number 13 have all been banned from the Avni Aker stadium...

It was in fact a bad night for three of the four Turkish teams competing in the competition. Fenerbahce hosted PAOK Saloniki knowing that a 1-0 score line would take the game to extra time.

Emre Belozoglu’s second half goal ensured an extra 30 minutes of entertainment. However, the Greek side had the last laugh when Fabio Billica misjudged – not for the first time – a long ball that found its way into the path of Zlatan Muslimovic who finished empathically. The result means that Aykut

Kocaman’s side have failed to win in any of their four European ties this summer. Not the best way to start your first season in charge.

Galatasaray suffered their umpteenth, and possibly most painful, disappointing night this season when they travelled to Ukraine and Karpaty Lviv. After a 2-2 draw in Istanbul, Cimbom seemed to be going through when Aydin Yilmaz finished neatly on the stroke of full time. Artem Fedetski made sure the joy lasted a mere two minutes and Cimbom joined Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor in the loser’s pen. Suddenly the blogs prediction of an early dismissal for Frank Rijkaard is not so absurd.

The inept ability of Turkish sides has left the blog with just two teams to follow around Europe this season. Bursaspor will be competing in the ‘Champions’ League against lowly Manchester United, Villa-less Valencia and the only other team to actually have won their domestic league, Rangers.

TD prediction – third place finish with one win and a draw.

Besiktas have landed a slightly more favourable draw in the Europa League. Déjà-Vu will be the order of the day for Ricardo Quaresma when he faces former side Porto while BJK fans will be hoping Rapid Vienna and CSKA Sofia are just there to make up the numbers.

TD prediction – 2nd place finish and Q7 to score against his old employers.

Alas, it’s back to domestic football for the rest. Fenerbahce are still stuck in first gear, Galatasaray have not even moved out of neutral while Besiktas are edging closer to Bursaspor and Trabzonspor - flying in the fast lane.

The drama is well under way in the East. Stay Tuned!

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