Turkish eye of the storm
Besiktas 1-0 Bursaspor (05:11:10)
Three fans were put in hospital with knife wounds following the Besiktas v Bursaspor match on Sunday, meaning every news agency reported on it for all the wrong reasons. EFW Turkish correspondent Ulas Gürsat was at the match reporting on what really happened. Ulas is a football reporter for the Turkish daily Haberturk Newspaper:
A small bit of history was made on Sunday at the İnönü Stadium, because for the first time in seven years away fans were allowed to travel to a match involving Beşiktaş and Bursaspor. What could possibly go wrong?
These two teams have become huge rivals following events surrounding the finale of the 2003/04 season. Bursaspor were fighting relegation with Akcaabat Sebatspor and Rizespor, both of whom had to play Beşiktaş as the season drew to a close. Beşiktaş lost those games, and in the eyes of Bursa, did so on purpose - therefore relegating them to the second division, and thus the newest football rivalry in Turkey was born.
It took Bursa three seasons to regain their spot in the Süper Lig. Upon doing so the Turkish FA instructed both clubs not to allow away fans into their respective grounds for this fixture for fear of crowd trouble. Neither team were happy with the ruling, but after today, it will probably be back for some years to come.
This match kicked off at the unusual time of 14:00. It's quite rare for matches involving 'big teams' to kick-off in daylight. Beşiktaş had played in Europe on the Thursday beforehand, and Bursaspor are due to play Glasgow Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday. Therefore - in the interests of both clubs - the authorities settled on an afternoon start, which isn't something we're used to, but everyone seemed to like it - to begin with, anyway.
Beşiktaş is a district of Istanbul, and almost everybody in that area supports Karakartallar (The Black Eagles). But they also have fans from all around Istanbul and indeed the whole of Turkey. I started my short journey to the stadium from Kadıköy, a large, populous, and cosmopolitan district on the Asian side of Istanbul. I took the ferry with the other BJK fans from Asia, and even though it was early, their fans were not only in high spirits - they were drinking spirits, and the singing had already started.
Sunday morning worship. The Black Eagles take to the streets of Istanbul.
The ferry pulled in just 500 metres from the ground. Upon our arrival, there was a heaving mass of excitable fans. The reason? Well, my appearance had coincided with the 1200 visiting fans and shouts of pleasure and confusion were raining across the streets. The BJK fans approached their rivals, but had three of four lines of police in their way. By way of a greeting, the two sets of fans exchanged pleasantries in the form of beer cans, glasses, stones and small bombs.
Beşiktaş fans were very determined to get to their rivals, but the police were equally intent on stopping them. Bursa fans, for their part, threw everything they could lay their hands on to defend themselves whilst trying to gain entry into their section of the stadium. This continued inside the İnönü, but this time seats were the weapon of choice.
Beşiktaş fans gather to welcome their rivals.
Bursa fans make their way into the stadium.
Pleasantries are exchanged.
Fighting, that's done. Now to support the teams.
Tensions continued to rise throughout the match, not helped when a Bursa fan ran onto the pitch with a green flag. He knew he couldn't gain entry to the pitch from the away sector, because of the fences, so he posed as a BJK fan, and ran onto the field of play from the home end. Beşiktaş fans are famous for their noise, today was no different, and if anything they were louder than normal. It's an incredible experience to watch a match here.
It was a tough game played out in front of a full stadium. The home side won it with a Filip Holosko strike. Bursa blamed the defeat on the sending off of their star man Volkan Şen. He was showered with missiles as he left the pitch for his troubles.
Bursa fans fenced in to their section.
So this chap invaded the pitch from the home section. Mentalist.
Volkan Şen is not alone as he exits the pitch after his red card.
My view from the press box.
Happily, there was no further trouble after the match, but I learned later that three people had been taken to hospital with knife wounds during the violent scenes before it. Beşiktaş took the all important three points, but they won't be taking any of their fans to the return fixture if this was anything to go by.
For many more photos of the day CLICK ME.
- Feel free to comment below -