Emre Belozoglu will look to make it two wins from two when Fenerbahce travel to Yeni Malatyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig on Thursday at 5pm (UK time).
Belozoglu started his interim tenure with a debut win in the dugout last time out, edging bottom club Denizlispor 1-0 to climb above Galatasaray into second and close the gap on current table-toppers Besiktas.
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Where to watch Yeni Malatyaspor vs Fenerbahce on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: beIN SPORTS
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Scoreline prediction: Yeni Malatyaspor 0-2 Fenerbahce
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Yeni Malatyaspor vs Fenerbahce build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Yeni Malatyaspor have been in dire straits since the turn of the year and are currently in the midst of a winless run that dates back to mid-January. That patchy form culminated in the dismissal of Hamza Hamzaoglu last month, and has seen Irfan Buz take the reins, looking to help YMS climb out of the bottom four.
Fenerbahce, likewise, parted with a manager last month, with Erol Bulut dismissed and Belozoglu installed in the Ulker Stadium dugout, but unlike YMS, they are looking up rather than down, hoping to overtake Istanbul rivals Besiktas in the Super Lig title race and seal top-flight glory for the first time since 2014.
- Yeni Malatyaspor (vs Istanbul Basaksehir): Damlu; Chebake, Wallace, Kaya, Hafez; Eskihellac, Ildiz, Acquah, Fofana; Tetteh, Buyuk.
- Fenerbahce (vs Denizlispor): Bayindir; Gonul, Aziz, Szalai, Erikin; Gustavo, Gumus, Tufan, Pelkas, Valencia; Samatta.
Mesut Ozil is still on the road his recovery after the playmaker was stretchered off against Antalyaspor in March. He revealed the injury was an outer ligament tear in his ankle, and he makes up a pretty thin casualty list for Belozoglu that includes former Roma midfielder Diego Perotti and Sadik Ciftpinar.
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Players to watch:
- Yeni Malatyaspor: If Buz is to mastermind a resurgence and beat the drop then he will need to coax a more consistent goal threat out of his squad and not just rely on the scoring pedigree of Adem Buyuk. The 33-year-old former Galatasaray forward has netted 12 Super Lig goals this term, at least three times as many as YMS’ next highest scorer, Benjamin Tetteh. The Sparta Prague loanee could be the host’s greatest route to three points on Thursday despite the scarcity of his goals. At 6ft 4in, the 23-year-old appears almost as a rugby prop masquerading as a footballer, with 164 aerial duels won this season (the sixth-most of any Super Lig player this season) underpinning his superior height advantage, which could cause chaos in the Fenerbahce box if Buz’s men make use of deadball scenarios.
- Fenerbahce: It was a hard-fought victory last time out, a scrappy 1-0 win against basement club Denizlispor, but Belozoglu certainly won’t mind how they come, as long as they get over the line. The difference on the day was Mbwana Samatta, whose 64th-minute finish ended a personal run of 11 games without a goal for The Yellow Canaries and just kept the club hot on Besiktas’ heels. The Aston Villa loanee will now be hoping his finish against Denizlispor can be the catalyst for a prolific spell as we enter the business end of the season. With just five goals in 24 appearances, you would be hard-pressed to label Samatta’s temporary stint in Turkey a resounding success, but if he can hit form now and inspire Super Lig glory, he could yet go down in history.
Turkish Super Lig 2020/21 recent form:
- Yeni Malatyaspor: LDLLD
- Fenerbahce: WDLWD
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