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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bursaspor earns their first point in the last match of Champions League!

Sercan Yıldırım's second-half equalizer gave Bursaspor a 1-1 draw with Rangers on Tuesday, the only point the Turkish titleholder collected in Group C of the Champions League, the Associated Press reported.

The Turkish international striker collected a pass from Ozan İpek to shoot past goalkeeper Allan McGregor in the 79th minute.

Rangers led through Kenny Miller's 19th-minute strike, smashing in a cross from Steven Whittaker into the top corner.

Rangers finished third in the group with six points and will play in the Europa League. It will be the first time the Scottish club continues in European competition after Christmas since 2007, when it lost 2-0 in the UEFA Cup final to Zenit. St Petersburg.

Bursaspor came last in the group after losses in all five previous games. Manchester United and Valencia went through in that order to the last 16.

"We played well: we got into positions, we got the goal and then created even more chances," Bursaspor coach Ertuğrul Sağlam said after the game. "We did everything we could against a team which played so defensively. I can guarantee that next year, if we qualify, we will perform much better."

Saglam had made eight changes to his starting lineup, including leaving out winger Volkan Şen, who was sent off for protesting against a yellow card during Bursaspor's Turkish Spor Toto Super League defeat against Beşiktaş at the weekend.

Rangers manager Walter Smith fielded his regular team despite having already secured qualification to the second-tier club competition, although Darren Cole was given a debut.

Bursaspor dominated most of the possession, with Yıldırım driving the home side forward. Rangers' goal came against the run of play and ensured the visitors led into halftime.

Bursaspor coach Sağlam brought on Ömer Erdoğan and Pablo Batalla to start the second half, and the hosts kept up the pressure as Bekir Ozan and Batalla both came close soon after the interval.

Teammate Frederico Insua sent a free kick narrowly over on the crossbar in the 75th minute.

Four minutes later, the hosts were rewarded for their pressure - Yıldırım collecting the cross from the left flank and finding the net despite McGregor getting a hand on the ball.

Yıldırım almost made it 2-1 soon after, dribbling into the box but failing to hit the target.

"We applied pressure but we just could not find the second goal," Yıldırım said. "If we had, things would have been better for us."

Still, the draw was enough to save Bursaspor from joining an unwanted group of teams finishing the Champions League campaigns with losing all their matches. Previously, eight teams, including Turkey’s Fenerbahçe have lost all of their group matches in the competition.

Sercan was later named man of the match by the official website of the UEFA and said he savors that honor.

"To be named man of the match is a great honor, especially as I'm just 20 years old and the Champions League is such a massive competition," the forward was quoted as saying on the website. "I have had a taste and I'd love to have more. We have learned a lot during this campaign and I hope Bursaspor can take part in the competition again in the near future and improve by doing so."

Rangers’ striker Steven Naismith, who scored the winner in the two teams’ first meeting in the Group C, also had time for Turkish champion.

"Maybe Bursaspor was naive in some of their previous games, but they're a good team with quality players and I'm sure we'll see them again in the Champions League,” the Scot said.

Bursaspor, which is the first team in 26 years to bring the Turkish title out of Istanbul, is currently second in the Super League standings. The Crocs also became the first Turkish team that is not from Istanbul to compete in the Champions League. Previously, Trabzonspor and Sivasspor played in the preliminary rounds of the competition through the runner-up spot in the Super League, but failed to make it to the Champions League.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    This is a really nice post. Thanks for sharing this information.