Saints Beat Besiktas Match Report
Saints had to come from behind today to beat Turkish giants Besiktas in the final game of this section of our pre-season.
Maya Yoshida and Gaston Ramirez were both still missing from the line-up after returning late after Confederation Cup duty in Brazil for their countries.
Nathaniel Clyne was out after collecting a knock during training which gave Calum Chambers another start for the first team. Artur Boruc came in and played the entire game.
Gönen, Kurtulus, Sivok, Franco, Gülüm (Süzen HT), Kavlak, Özyakup (Demirci HT), Fernandes, Töre (Toraman 73), Şahan (Dentinho HT), Almeida (Pektemek 63).
Unused subs: Güvenç, Akgün, Escudé, Uysal, Kayhan.
Boruc, Chambers (Wanyama HT), Fonte, Hooiveld (Lovren 70), Fox (Shaw HT), Cork, Schneiderlin (Davis 58), Ward-Prowse (Isgrove 70), Lallana (Puncheon 58), Do Prado (Lambert HT), Rodriguez (Mayuka 70).
Unused subs: Gazzaniga, Turnbull, Stephens.
The game began with the two sides evenly matched. The Turkish fans were extremely loud in support of their idols and it was them who raised the decibels further on 10 minutes when Manuel Fernandes's free kick found the head of Hugo Almeida.
The ball was headed downwards towards our goal but Artur Boruc saved superbly throwing himself down and tipping the ball round the post much to the relief of the 50 odd Saints supporters in attendance.
Saints were playing some neat build up play but had a long wait before actually making the Besiktas keeper make a save. On 38 minutes after some good approach play Fox saw his shot saved before James Ward-Prowse had a superb free-kick saved brilliantly just a minute later.
Saints made three changes for the start of the second half with Victor Wanyama, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw coming on for Chambers, Guly and Danny Fox. Jack Cork was switched to right-back, which could be indicating that Mauricio Pochettino views him as another potential back-up for Clyne.
But it was a Beşiktaş substitute who had the first chance of the new half as Dentinho found himself perfectly-poised to tap in Gökhan Töre's cut-back only to side-foot the ball over Boruc's crossbar.
The Turkish outfit continued to press forward dangerously and Fernandes went close before lone front-man Almeida tested Boruc with a fierce near-post effort. In an effort to regain a foothold Saints brought on Steve Davis and Jason Puncheon for Morgan Schneiderlin and Adam Lallana in the 58th minute.
Hardly had they appeared before Besiktas struck. 62 minutes were on the clock when Muhammed Demirci gained possession in midfield before sending a superb rising drive past the outstretch fingers of Boruc into the top corner of the net. A simply unstoppable goal though doubtless Pochettino saw it differently.
Saints responded by bringing on Dejan Lovren, Emmanuel Mayuka and Lloyd Isgrove for Jos Hooiveld, Jay Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse in the 70th minute.
3 minutes later and Mayuka had the ball in the back of the net but was narrowly offside so lost his first goal scored for Saints after a slick attacking move. Rickie Lambert did a lot better 2 minutes later when the Turkish defenders allowed him to bring the ball down before swiveling and blasting a powerful shot into the net. 1-1 and all to play for.
Mayuka then just 2 minutes later was able to run onto a delightful chipped pass through before smashing a sublime dipping shot over the keeper into the net. His first Saints goal and even more importantly the lead over Besiktas.
Steve Davis then broke from our half before running into a shooting position before chipping their keeper only to see his delightful effort clip the crossbar before going out.
Saints were not to be denied though as on the stroke of time youngster Lloyd Isgrove slid in at the near post to tap the ball into the net from a Luke Shaw centre to extend the lead.
FT Saints 3 Besiktas 1
Join Vital Saints