Eight Staff Of Turkish Club Besiktas Test Positive For Coronavirus

File: Besiktas


Eight people at Istanbul giants Besiktas have tested positive for coronavirus after players and other employees underwent medical checks, the club said Thursday, a month before games resume.

The tests were conducted on footballers, technical committee members and facility staff, Besiktas said in a statement, without giving specific details on who has the virus.

The results will raise further concerns after the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) said games in the top league would resume on June 12 after they were suspended in March.

TFF chief Nihat Ozdemir said the matches would be played without spectators but this could change depending on how the pandemic evolves.

Second division club Erzurumspor said Wednesday 11 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded, including four players.

Turkey has officially recorded 143,114 cases of the new coronavirus while 3,952 people have died, according to the health minister Wednesday.

In March, Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim tested positive for the virus as well as former Turkish national team and ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Rustu Recber.

Both have since recovered.



Besiktas Appoint Ex-Turkey Star Yalcin As Coach





Top Istanbul club Besiktas on Tuesday appointed former international star Sergen Yalcin as coach, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

Yalcin, 47, who made his name as a brilliant playmaker at the Super Lig club, joins Besiktas from Yeni Malatyaspor where he took over as coached only last 2019.

Yalcin, a gifted but temperamental player, was capped 37 times for the national side.

He replaces Abdullah Avci, sacked last Friday after the club was dumped out of the Turkish Cup by second division Erzurumspor.

“The Black Eagles” currently sit seventh in the Super Lig — 11 points adrift of leaders Sivasspor.


Bayern Sweep Aside Besiktas To Reach Quarter-Finals

Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller (C) shakes hands with Besiktas midfielder Necip Uysal (R) after the second leg of the last 16 UEFA Champions League football match between Besiktas and Bayern Munich at Besiktas Park in Istanbul on March 14, 2018. PHOTO: OZAN KOSE / AFP


A Thiago Alcantara strike and Sandro Wagner’s first Champions League goal capped Bayern Munich’s 3-1 win at Besiktas on Wednesday as the German giants cruised into the quarter-finals for the seventh year in a row.

Bayern completed a comprehensive 8-1 aggregate victory in Istanbul, having effectively clinched the last-16 tie following a 5-0 rout last month in the first leg in Munich.

For Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who replaced Carlo Ancelotti in October, this was his 11th straight win in the Champions League which set a new competition record.

After Thiago fired home early on, an own goal by Besiktas right-back Gokhan Gonul put Bayern 2-0 up right at the start of the second half.

With their team 7-0 down overall, Besiktas finally came to life, grabbing a consolation goal by Vagner Love.

But Bayern notched their third of the evening when backup striker Sandro Wagner came off the bench to mark his Champions League debut with his first goal at this level.

Having resisted the urge to name a weakened team after their first-leg romp, Bayern wasted little time taking the lead against the Turkish champions.

Top scorer Robert Lewandowski surprisingly started up front, leaving Wagner waiting for his elite European debut until the last 20 minutes.

It was a surprise move by Heynckes with tough Bundesliga games against RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund to come this month.

Nevertheless, Lewandowski played until the 67th minute but failed to add to his 32 goals this season in all competitions.

Thiago, back after injury, celebrated his first Champions League goal since netting in the 3-0 win at home to Anderlecht last September.

With 18 minutes gone, Bayern captain Thomas Mueller swung in a cross and the Spain international thumped the ball home from close range.

After claiming Bayern’s 100th goal this season, Thiago was forced off on 35 minutes — attacking midfielder James Rodriguez replaced him as the Colombian made his return from a calf injury.

Mats Hummels, who along Jerome Boateng was booked in the first half, was replaced by Niklas Suele at the break before Bayern extended their lead thanks to a Besiktas own goal.

Right-back Rafinha whipped in a cross, but with the Besiktas defence focused on preventing the ball reaching the lurking Lewandowski, Gonul turned the ball into his own net.

Besiktas pulled a goal back on 59 minutes when David Alaba lost possession deep in his own half, allowing Gonul to supply Love who did just enough to roll the ball over the line.

Alaba atoned with a crucial block to deny Besiktas forward Mustafa Pektemek soon after, and the Austrian setup Wagner on 84 minutes as his deflected cross was chested over the line by the substitute.


Mueller Starts Treble Talk As Bayern Rout Besiktas

Mueller Starts Treble Talk As Bayern Rout Besiktas
Bayern Munich’s midfielder Thomas Mueller (2ndR) and teammates celebrate after winning the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg clash against Besiktas Istanbul on February 20, 2018 in Munich. John MACDOUGALL / AFP


Thomas Mueller says Bayern Munich could repeat their 2013 treble after crushing 10-man Besiktas 5-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 ties.

Bayern have one foot in the quarter-finals with Besiktas facing a nearly impossible task for the return leg in Istanbul on March 14.

Both Mueller and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Bayern ran riot in the second half in Germany.

“Everything is possible,” Mueller said when asked whether Bayern can repeat their 2013 haul of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles.

However head coach Jupp Heynckes, 72, who oversaw the treble five years ago, insists Bayern must do better if they want all three titles again.

“Any talk like that is the job of journalists, the Champions League is a different competition and we must improve,” said Heynckes.

“Everyone in the stadium saw that we found it hard in the first half.

“We didn’t find our rhythm and we were nervous — I don’t know my team like that.

“In the first half there wasn’t any tempo to our game, our passing was off and it allowed Besiktas to attack us more.

“The opener before the break gave us a psychological advantage and in the second half we saw a different Bayern team.

“We scored some great goals and played some good football.”

– Costly red card –

Disaster struck for Besiktas after just 16 minutes at the Allianz Arena when Croatian defender Domagoj Vida was sent off for hauling down Lewandowski as he was through on goal.

Mueller broke the deadlock just before half-time when he scored his first from close range.

The floodgates then opened after the break as Kingsley Coman struck before Mueller poached his second.

Lewandowski then scored two late goals to leave him with 29 goals in all competitions this season, as Bayern — 19 points clear in the league and through to the German Cup semi-finals — claimed their 14th straight victory.

Mueller said the introduction of veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery off the bench made the difference.

“It’s been five years since all our outfield players were fit and the trainer doesn’t have it easy, but everyone who came on did a good job,” said Mueller.

“Arjen made us a bit more aggressive, Franck also did well and we need that extra bit of power from the bench.”

Robben came on when James Rodriguez limped off with a calf injury on 44 minutes.

The Dutchman was heavily involved in Mueller and Lewandowski’s second goals but was unhappy at being left out of the starting side.

– ‘Speak my mind’ –

“Of course, I was disappointed, but I don’t want to say anymore because if I speak my mind, I will end up in front of ‘Brazzo’ (Bayern’s director of sports Hasan Salihamidizic),” said Robben.

Like Ribery, Robben, who scored Bayern’s winning goal in the 2013 Champions League final is out of contract in June.

However, Heynckes sees it as a positive to have so much experience on Bayern’s bench.

“I am very pleased to have a squad like this in case of injuries and illness in the future,” he said.

“Any top player like Arjen Robben wants to play from the start, but we have so many good players.

“Anyone who signs a contract for Bayern Munich has to accept that they won’t start every game.”

Besiktas were making their debut in the knock-out stages of the Champions League and their head coach Senol Gunes said his side learned a harsh lesson.

“We won or drew all our games in the group phase, but tonight the opponent was better,” he said glumly.

“After the sending off, it became too difficult for us.

“We suffered mentally and physically, they took advantage.”

Gunes swapped striker Vagner Love for defender Dusko Tosic in the second half, but it made little difference.

“We tried to limit the damage and focus on the second half, but we couldn’t manage it,” said the Besiktas boss.

“We are an attacking team, but we had to defend and we couldn’t play our football because the opponent was too strong.”


Bayern Take On Besiktas Without Robben, Ribery


Bayern Munich’s head coach Jupp Heynckes (L) talks with Bayern Munich’s French midfielder Franck Ribery during a training session in Munich, southern Germany, on February 19, 2018.


Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes opted to leave wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben on the bench for Tuesday’s Champions League clash at home to Besiktas, with Thomas Mueller and Kingsley Coman starting.

Heynckes, 72, also selected James Rodriguez to play alongside Javi Martinez and Arturo Vidal in midfield for the last-16 first leg, with Robert Lewandowski up front.

Ribery and Robben, veterans of Bayern’s last Champions League triumph in 2013, were left out as Heynckes switched captain Mueller to the right-hand side with French winger Coman on the left.

Ribery has only recently returned from a knee injury, but it is a surprise that Dutchman Robben, who scored the winner in the final five years ago, failed to make the starting XI.

Bayern are hoping to reach the quarter-finals for the seventh year in a row.

Besiktas coach Senol Gunes has brought winger Ricardo Quaresma, a Euro 2016 winnner with Portugal, and centre-back Domagoj Vida back into the starting line-up.

Defenders Dusko Tosic and Atinc Nukan, along with midfielders Veli Kavlak and Gokhan Tore, are all out injured for the visitors.

Canadian midfielder Atiba Hutchinson captains the side, which is spearheaded by Brazilian forward Vagner Love.

Starting line-ups

Bayern Munich (4-1-4-1)

Sven Ulreich – Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, David Alaba – Javi Martinez – Thomas Mueller (capt), Arturo Vidal, James Rodriguez, Kingsley Coman – Robert Lewandowski

Coach: Jupp Heynckes (GER)

Besiktas (4-2-3-1)

Fabri – Adriano, Pepe, Domagoj Vida, Caner Erkin – Atiba Hutchinson (capt), Gary Medel – Ricardo Quaresma, Talisca, Ryan Babel – Vagner Love

Coach: Senol Gunes (TUR)

Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (ROU)


Besiktas Qualify For Champions League Last 16

Besiktas’ midfielder Talisca (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group G football match between Besiktas JK and FC Porto on November 21, 2017, at the Vodafone Park in Istanbul. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE


Turkish champions Besiktas reached the Champions League last 16 for the first time in 31 years on Tuesday, as a 1-1 draw with Porto in Istanbul wrapped up top spot in Group G.

Porto silenced the vociferous home crowd with the opening goal through defender Felipe, but Besiktas midfielder Talisca equalised before half-time to secure a place in the knockout stage.

Besiktas Draw Napoli In Champions League Group Clash

Besiktas, Napoli, Champions LeagueBesiktas have held visiting Napoli down to a 1-1 draw in Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League.

It was a tough match between Senol Gunes’ side and Maurizio Sarri’s at the Vodafone Arena in Istanbul, the Turkish capital.

Both teams had struggled to secure a goal in the first half of the game but to no avail.

A penalty was awarded against Napoli in the 79th minute after which Ricardo Quaresma set Besiktas on the lead.

In less than four minutes, the visitors made a strong fight back which led to Marek Hamsik’s equaliser.

Napoli had lost 2-3 to Besiktas at the Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday, October 19.

Barcelona Shatter Guardiola’s Hope Of Victory With Man City

Pep Guardiola, Barcelona, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, ArsenalIn the face of three games without victory, Barcelona have yet again truncated Pep Guardiola’s hope of victory, as Manchester City lost to the Spaniards on Wednesday night.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi netted the opener for the Spanish giants in a much expected tough UEFA Champions League showdown at the Camp Nou.

Efforts by the English side to balance the scoreboard in the first half proved abortive, but led to David Silva and Fernandinho getting a yellow card apiece.

As City’s Claudio Bravo bagged a straight red card, Messi showed his former coach that he was ready for the face-off, as he netted a brace in the second half (making it a hat-trick for the football legend).

Despite Guardiola’s familiarity with the hosts, Barcelona took their stand to maintain their home unbeaten record in the Champions League since 2013, as the match ended 4 – 0 with Neymar’s late goal.

The former Barcelona player and coach took the helm of the Sky Blues last summer.

Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique had expected a completely different Manchester City, now that the British side was being managed by Guardiola.

Pique believed his former coach had tried to make Manchester play in a similar way to the Spanish side.

Arsenal Shine

In England, Arsenal recorded huge success as they humbled Bulgaria’s Ludogorets Razgrad 6 – 0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners took the lead right from the first half with a brilliant goal each from Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

It was an all Arsenal affair, as the English side had another reason to celebrate with Mesut Ozil netting a hat-trick in the second half.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich have finally broken the jinx of ‘no victory’ since their last three games in all competitions.

The German side recorded a 4 – 1 win while playing host to PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night.

League One champions, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) also displayed a brilliant performance, defeating Basel 3 – 0 on the French soil.

Elsewhere, FC Rostov lost 0 – 1 to Atletico Madrid, Celtic lost 0 – 2 to Borussia Moenchengladbach, Dynamo Kyiv lost 0 – 2 to Benfica while Napoli lost 2 – 3 to Besiktas.

Teams Ready For UEFA Champions League Face-offs Tonight

UEFA Champions League
Barcelona, Manchester City

As football fans all over the world look forward to viewing Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League showdowns, various European clubs have been talking about their preparedness for the clashes.

Pep Guardiola’s formidable managerial skills will be put to the test again when his stuttering Manchester City side visit his former club, Barcelona in a much anticipated game.

Guardiola’s brilliant start in England, which saw him oversee 10 consecutive wins in all competitions, has given way to a run of three games without victory.

The former Barcelona player and coach took the helm of the Sky Blues last summer.

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

The Catalans, however, are unbeaten at their home in the Champions League since 2013.

Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique expects a completely different City, now that the British side is under Guardiola.

Pique believes his former coach has managed to make Manchester play in a similar way to the Spanish side.

Elsewhere, Ludogorets Razgrad manager, Georgi Dermendzhiev, says his side have learnt from their mistakes, as they prepare to take on Arsenal at the Emirates.

Ludogorets have been impressive so far in the campaign; drawing with Basel and leading French champions, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) last time out, before eventually succumbing to a 3-1 loss.

The Bulgarian side have won the domestic title five years in a row and have slowly built up experience of European soccer.

Coach Arsene Wenger, however, earlier warned the Gunners against their visitors’ experience and hopes his team would reflect the caution in the match.

Meanwhile, French midfielder, Francis Coquelin, is ready to fight for a place in the Arsenal squad ahead of the clash, after he was out with injury since September 24.

Arsenal midfielder, Francis Coquelin

For the Frenchman to get back in the team, he will have to beat competition from Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny in a packed midfield.

On the flip side, Bayern Munich are hoping to return to winning ways in their match against PSV Eindhoven.

Bayern, who started the season well, have not had a win in their last three matches in all competitions.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti, however, says it is too early to talk of a ‘crisis’ in the team.

Carlo Ancelotti, Phillip Lahm
Manager Carlo Ancelotti

Bayern are second in Group D with three points while PSV are in fourth place with one point.

Other fixtures to look out for tonight are: PSG against Basel, Dynamo Kyiv versus Benfica, Napoli against Besiktas, Celtic versus Borussia Moenchengladbach and FC Rostov hosting Atletico Madrid.