Fenerbahce have conquered the dangerous Czech outfit Viktoria Plzen 2-1 on aggregate after a tense Europa League second leg in Istanbul last night.
The Czech side have caused a stir in the competition this season. Not content with topping their Group ahead of Atletico Madrid they then went on to thrash Napoli in the round of 32 to set tongues wagging across Europe that a Czech resurgence may be on the horizon.
In 360 minutes of combined football the team had managed to keep two of Europe’s most potent strikers in the form of Falcao and Edinson Cavani at bay but Fenerbahce proved too much for the side; just.
One former Liverpool player will be left indebted to a 19-year-old unknown quatitiy in the form of midfielder Salih Ucan.
The former Bucaspor youngster signed for Fener in the summer and has played at every youth level imaginable for the Turkish national side and in the end it was his goal, his first for the club, that saw them through after Vladimir Darida grabbed a late equaliser to put serious pressure on the Turkish goal for the rest of the game.
For Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt he can count his lucky stars after his woeful miss in the first-leg could have proved costly were it not for a spirited display in Istanbul. They may have won the first-leg in Plzen thanks to a solitary Pierre Webo goal but it should have been two as you can see in the video below… (watch from about 50 secs)
Kuyt has actually been in stunning form for Fener since arriving in the summer and the tireless forward has notched 15 goals already this season in 39 appearances.
The next time his opportunity pops up in the Europa League you can guarantee he will be taking it.
image: © k1ngk0ng