It was the first clash between two of the Istanbul-based 'Big Three' this season and it was as heated and charged with passion and drama as ever. Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray will once again do battle for the Super Lig title this season and after six league games the former two are locked on 13 points at the top, while Galatasaray are fourth with 11.
Sunday's game between Besiktas and Fenerbahce provided the usual fireworks of an Istanbul derby, both on and off the field. Flares were lit in the crowd while on the pitch there were five goals, including two own goals and plenty of tough challenges.
It was Besiktas who secured the vital three points, but they had to fight very hard for their win.
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The home side went a goal up following a Simon Kjaer own goal in the 19th minute and then doubled their lead shortly after through their in-form summer signing Mario Gomez who nodded the ball home from close range.
The home side then conceded an own goal through their left back Dusko Tosic as they led 2-1 going into the break.
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The game had a typically competitive edge and the creative players from both teams struggled to get into the game in the first half, notably Fenerbahce's main man at present Nani, and Gokhan Tore for Besiktas. Rather, it was the hardworking midfield players Atiba Hutchinson and Raul Meireles who saw most of the ball in the opening 45 minutes.
One of the main talking points leading up to the game was whether Fenerbahce coach Vitor Pereira would play his marquee summer signing Robin van Persie from the start. The Dutchman was once again left on the bench as he watched Fener striker Fernandão miss several clear-cut chances and struggle on his own up front. The ex-Manchester United and Arsenal man was brought on at 60 minutes and again showed his manager why he should be a starter with a clinically taken goal just four minutes after his introduction after a wonderful run from Fener winger Volkan Sen.
It was Mario Gomez and Besiktas who had the last laugh, however, as the ex-Bayern Munich frontman scored his fourth goal for his new club, meeting a brilliant Gokhan Tore cross from the left with a trademark diving header. Besiktas and Fenerbahce are now locked together at the top of the league and the rivalry will no doubt continue to run on, right the way to the end of the season.
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