December 2001

Dear fans! I wish you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2002! Yours, Bata

Fenerbahce players today gathered in Samandira and strarted training. Because of the bad results in the last few matches, their holidays were shorter this winter. Even though it was written Bata, Laza and Rapaic will join the team on 03/01, Bata returned to Istanbul yesterday and joined his teammates. The training was led by Oguz Cetin as the club has not appointed the new coach. Players will also be training tomorrow, but will probably be free on 31/12 and 01/01.
Not only players are working hard, but also club officials. They are trying to get the best coach possible as soon as possible. A lot of names are being mentioned in the media:
Hertha Berlin coach Jurgen Rober, Otto Rehhagel, the German coach of Greece, former France boss Aime Jacquet, 1860 Munich coach Werner Lorant, Schalke manager Huub Stevens...

Hertha Berlin coach Jurgen Rober is close to taking charge at Fenerbahce after a positive meeting between the clubs on Friday. "I am ready to move to Fenerbahce. If a deal is made, I will have no problem," he told

Dejan Savicevic will continue to coach Yugoslavia after the country's number one target, Dusan Bajevic refused to quit his job with Greek club PAOK. “We were not able to propose an appropriate candidate as a long-term solution at the moment,” explained Dragan Stojkovic, president of the Yugoslav Football Association. Savicevic agreed to stand down earlier this month after Yugoslavia failed to qualify for next summer's World Cup finals. However, after more than two weeks of deliberations, the Yugoslav Football Association (FAY) announced that he would retain his position in charge of the national team. “Until we have a long-term solution, we propose that Dejan Savicevic retains the job," Stojkovic explained.
Fenerbahce is desperately seeking for a new manager to take over the club, as Mustafa Denizli was sacked earlier this week. Fenerbahce foreign affairs chief Saaddetin Saran is linked with several candidates. It has been reported that Juergen Rober, Huub Stevens and Radomir Antic are among the favourites to succeed Denizli. Former Atletico Madrid and Real Oviedo manager Radomir Antic is leading the list. Antic played for Fenerbahce in 1970's. Turkish Super League team Ankaragucu manager is another possible candidate to take over the Turkish champions. However, the final decision will be taken in a few days.

Fenerbahce board today sacked Mustafa Denizli. Until the new coach is appointed, Oguz Cetin will lead the team. This move follows a run of five defeats in last six matches. Mustafa Denizli was appointed Fenerbahce coach in the summer of 2000 and the same season Fenerbahce became Turkish champion. The team was not so successful this season and Denizli's leadership has often been criticized by fans and Turkish media.

As every month this season Bata answered the questions sent by fans.

1. How many hours a day do you spend training?
2. Does playing football still give you pleasure?

1. Before the season we train some four to five hours a day. During the season trainings last one and a half hour to two hours. But the whole ritual takes much longer. We must come to the camp at least half an hour before the training but I always come much earlier. And I am among the last to leave the camp. Basically I spend half of the day in Samandira.
2. Absolutely.

1. Are you watching Juventus matches in Turkey?
2. Did you remain friends with Igor Tudor?
3. Will you be supporting Croatia in the WORLD CUP 2002?
Ivana, Croatia

1. Always. I either watch them live or the replay. I am following Seria A on regular basis.
2. Yes, we remained good friends. Our friendship is forever.
3. I will be supporting all teams my current and ex-teammates are playing for. Turkey, Urugvay, Croatia, France, Italy...

Bata, last year's Turkey cup match game against Galatasaray went to penalties. We did not need to take our 5th penalty shot and won the game 7-6. I am still wondering who was the 5th penalty shooter?
Bugra Kilincer, Philadelphia

I really don't remember. It has been almost a year. It wasn't me. I am absolutely sure of that.

1. How do you feel after the game now comparing to five, six years ago?
2. Who is the fastest player in Fenerbahce and Yugoslav national team?
Nikola Glavan, Australia

1. I am older and there is nothing I can do about it. I may not be as fit as I was five, six years ago but I am much more experienced and because of that perform just as well.
2. Nikola Lazetic for sure.

What position do your prefer to play?

I can play many positions. It is all the same for me. It's not important where play. I just want to play.

1. What type of a car are you driving?
2. What do you do in your free time?

1. Fiat Marea
2. I don't have a lot of free time. I spend it with my family and my friends.

1. How disappointed are you because you will not be playing WORLD CUP 2002 with Yugoslavia?
2. Do you, the players, blame Milovan Djoric for not qualifiying?
3. Who are your favorite for winning WORLD CUP 2002 title?

1. I am sad because of that. As the WORLD CUP is getting closer and closer, the more sad I get. It is a big disappointment for me.
2. It's not fair to blame anybody. Those fans who really love football know many points we won in the matches when Djoric was our selector.
3. France. From European teams Italy can also be dangerous. And of course Brasil and Argentina.

Do you want to be a captain of Fenerbahce?

I am very sorry but Fenerbahce players are not allowed to give any statements concerning the club and that is why I can't answer your question.

1. Do you come on-line often?
2. What websites do you visit?
3. What is your opinion about Fenerbahce fans?
Mehmet, Turkey

1. Not very often but I come on-line.
2. My website. And also daily and weekly Serbian newspaper websites.
3. They are the best. They are the power of the club. They are with us in good and bad. It is impossible to describe in words the help and support they give as during every single match.

1. Is there a player (in Turkey or in Europe) you would not want to play against or would be scared of playing against?
2. What was the greatest moment in your career?
Mehmet Bayram, Turkey

1. There are good players and players who are not that good but I never think about that. I treat every opponent just the same. But I am not scared of anybody.
2. My third match in Yugoslav national team jersey. We played against Urugvay in Belgrade.

1. What type of a car are you driving?
2. Is it possible to get your signature?

1. Fuat Marea.
2. Of course. Contact Maja.

What do you think about so many Holland players being caught using prohibited substances?

I doubt any professional player would be using prohibited substances on purpose. I am not defending anybody but I think there is a problem in their medical department. Or perhaps there is something in the food (meat) they are eating. I didn't research the subject well so I wouldn't really know.

1. How would you describe the quality of Turkish clubs?
2. Do you think Fenerbahce can one day be a big club in Europe?
Vedat, Australia

I am very sorry but Fenerbahce players are not allowed to give any statements concerning the club and that is why I can't answer your questions.

1. Do you prefer to play in the middle or on the right?
2. Do Serbian fans prefer basketball over football?

1. I don't have preferences.
2. Basketball is getting very popular because of the successes of our national team. But football is and will always be number one.

1. Do you cook?
2. Are you collecting your opponents' jerseys?
Maja, Germany

1. No. I eat in restaurants.
2. No. I don't exchange jerseys with opponents. I only exchange when a friend asks me for a jersey of a certain player. I keep my jerseys. So many people want my jersey I hardly have enough of them.

Note from the webmaster:
Fenerbahce president had in October 2001 asked all Fenerbahce players not to give any statements or comments about the club. Bata is respecting president's request and therefor can not talk about the club. He apologizes to the fans whos questions he could not answer and invites them to send new ones, but not about the club.

Fenerbahce slumped to their third defeat in four league games on Friday as they went down away to Diyabakirspor. Murat Duman gave Diyabakirspor the lead 17 minutes after half-time, and when Celalettin Kocak added a second three minutes from time, it looked to be all over. Fenerbahce hit back through Serhat Akin but it wasn't enough and another three points were lost. Galatasaray looks far away. And to make matters worse Besiktas will climb above Fener onto second place if they beat Gaziantepspor on Saturday. Take a look at Turkish league standings.
Pictures from the match will be posted on the site tomorrow. You will also be able to read some twenty of Bata's answers to the questions sent by fans as a part of our
You ask, Bata answers page.

Dragan Stojkovic, Yugoslav football federation president, has revealed that interviewing for the position of Yugoslavia national team selector has not yet been completed. The name of the new coach was due to be announced past weekend, but Stojkovic confirmed that he still had two more candidates to speak to. He said: "I will talk with Dusko Bajevic (AEK Athens coach) after December 20, when he comes to Belgrade. There is still an interview to be done with Vladislav Bogicevic. We don't have any reason to hurry. We have time. It doesn't mean anything whether we made the decision today or make it on December 27. It is important that we do all the interviews and choose the best man for the job." The most serious candidate for national team coach had been Ljupko Petrovic, but he withdrew his interest in the job and Dimitrije Davidovic took over as favourite. When it looked he was set to become a new selector, Yugoslav football federation started talking to Bajevic who has previously stated he doesn't want to be a selector. Serbian media is already writing he will be the new selector even though it is clear he doesn't meet all standars the new selector should. Dimitrije Davidovic has already protested to and his letter to Dragan Stojkovic has been posted in Politika daily newspaper.
When Yugoslav football federation finally names the selector, Bata will give an exclusive comment on this metter for his website.

Fenerbahce will play an away match against Diyarbakirspor on Friday at 20.00 Turkish time and after the match Bata will travel to Belgrade where he spends Christmas and New Year holidays every year. Before leaving Bata will answer many questions sent by fans and his answers will be posted on the site. I will also ask him about his plans and wishes for the year 2002.

Today Fotomac newspaper published a short article about Bata. Turkish newspapers rarely write good things about players but this article is an excemption. Fotomac says:" Bata's value has been recognized at last. Bata has been criticized from time to time but has now proved he is the backbone of Fenerbahce defence. When Bata didn't play against Trabzonspor and Denizlispor (because of the card he has received during Besiktas match) Fenerbahce had serious problems in the line of defence. Bata's come-back solved those problems. Altough he has been criticized badly from time time, his value has been understood deply in the times that he was off the field. He has proved that he is the one that Fenerbahce wouldn't give up to arrange a place in the field."
For Turkish speaking fans the original article is also posted:
Degeri geç anlasildi
Zaman zaman elestiriler alan Mirkoviç, Bursaspor maçinda savunmayi toparlayarak vazgeçilmez oldugunu gösterdi
Zoran Mirkoviç'in kart cezasi nedeniyle oynamadigi Trabzonspor ve Denizlispor maçlarinda savunmada gedikler veren Fenerbahçe, bu futbolcunun dönüsüyle birlikte toparlandi. Zaman zaman elestiriler almasina ragmen, yoklugu, oynamadigi maçlarda ortaya çikan Yugoslav futbolcu, Bursaspor karsilasmasindaki oyunuyla F.Bahçe'nin vazgeçilmez isimlerinden oldugunu bir kez daha kanitladi. Bu arada M. Dogan'in cezali olmasi nedeniyle Diyarbakir maçinda defansta Ümit Özat'in oynayacagi belirtildi.

Perhaps Bata brings good luck to Fenerbahce. He returned to the team and after three straight losses Fenerbahce finally got back on track with a clean home win over Bursaspor. Fenerbahce goals were scored by Serhat (28th minute), Ali Akdeniz (30th minute) and Andersson (71st minute). Also, long waited midfielder Revivo participated the game when he substituted Yusuf in the 86th minute. Click here to view the picture from the match.

Fenerbahce tonight gave it's fans a major shock by crashing 2 -1 at home to Denizlispor. In 27th minute Dogan Seyfi Atli bulleted a header against the bar before following up himself to turn the ball past keeper Oguz, standing in for the injured Rustu. Then in 32nd minute, with the Fenerbahce defence looking at the linesman, Muzaffer Bilazer beat the offside trap and evaded Oguz's despairing dive to tap the ball home. In 49th minute a right wing cross from Ali Gunes caught the Denizlispor defence at sixes and sevens with two Canaries entirely unmarked inside the box. Yusuf Simsek reached the ball first to head home. Fener remained in control of every aspect of the game but just could not score. Bata didn't play tonight as he received a two match ban after his red card against Besiktas. In the 225 minutes played since Bata's sending off Fenerbahce received 6 goals.

Bata could not help his teammates in Trabzon because of the red card he got last week in the match against Besiktas (see the picture) and Fenerbahce lost 1-2. Both Trabzonspor's goals were scored by Zafer in 31st and 50th minute. Johnson scored for Fenerbahce in 90th minute but it was too late for a come-back. If Galatasaray wins tomorrow against Ankaragucu, Fenerbahce will be seven points behind. Take a look at Turkish Super League standings.
Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim has revealed he will not be buying any new players this season, but from next season Fenerbahce will be pursuing talent in South America. "We have sent our scouts to South America to check on a number of young players who we want to bring to the club for next season," said Yildirim. Yildirim's claim comes at the end of a week rife with speculation linking the Istanbul club with a number of Turkish players across Europe. Top of the list were Internazionale pair Hakan Sukur and Okan Buruk, but Yildirim denied that the former Galatasaray duo were part of his immediate plans. He said of Sukur: "We are not interested in him and I have no intention of signing him."

Disciplinary committee of Turkish Football Federation (TFF) today punished Bata and Besiktas player Tumer for the incident in the Fenerbahce - Besiktas match. Both players received a two match ban. That means Bata will have to miss the matches against Trabzonspor and Bursaspora while Tumer will be missing the matches against Genclerbirligi and Goztepe.

Fenerbahce chairman Aziz Yildirim renewed allegations that Galatasaray, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) and it's Central Refereeing Committee (MHK) are conspiring against his club after his side's 2-1 defeat at home to Besiktas on Sunday. Yildirim's anger focussed chiefly on the waving away of his players' appeals for offside when Ronaldo Guairo fired home the Black Eagles' equaliser. Referee Orhan Erdemir was not well placed to make an offside decision, but linesman Binali Kartal was up with play and TV replays show clearly that Ronaldo was offside when Tayfur Havutcu headed the ball on to him.
"We want justice," Yilmaz fumed. "The referees are off form. Orhan Erdemir and his linesman overlooked a blatant offside. Referees in Galatasaray matches are getting low marks from the observers but two or three weeks later they are given games again. They continue to carry out the orders they are given," said Yildirim. That is a repetition of previous charges that officials are under orders from the TFF and MHK to favour Galatasaray and do down Fener. (source:

Bata will have to pay a $ 5000 fine to the club because of a red card he was given in Besiktas match. The money will go to Samandira fund. In the end of the season the money collected in the fund is devided between the workers of Samandira.
Five pictures from today's training have been posted on the site.

Fenerbahce's run of 24 victorious home league games at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium came to an end as Besiktas won a dramatic Istanbul derby 2-1. Fenerbahce dominated much of the first half. Ali Gunes and Ceyhun Eris both forced early saves from Thomas Myhre before Tayfur Havutcu showed there was still life in the Black Eagles by shaving a post with a long shot on 12 minutes. Both teams found themselves down to ten men on 38 minutes as our Bata hacked down Tumer Metin and they lashed out at one another while lying on the ground.
Use a right click and Save as target option to view a video clip of this indicent. Ref Orhan Erdemir dismissed the pair of them. Fener went ahead early in the second half. Abdullah hit a swinging free kick and Myhre, with Umit Ozat bearing down on him, appeared to lose the flight of the ball. Just short of the hour, Ali Eren Beserler lobbed a free kick into the box and Tayfur knocked the ball down for Ronaldo to blast home the equaliser. The Canaries stay in second place but are now four points behind leaders Galatasaray with Besiktas a further four points back.
You can view nine pictures taken during Besiktas match.

November 2001

After eliminating Altay in the third round, Fenerbahce will face Denizlispor in the fourth round of Turkish Cup. The game will be played at Sukru Saracoglu stadium on 12/12. The rest of the games in the fourth round are as follows: Erzurumspor v Göztepe, Trabzonspor v Samsunspor, Adanaspor v Ankaragücü, Gaziantepspor v Caykur Rizespor, Besiktas v Yimpas Yozgatspor, Canakkale Dardanelspor v Istanbulspor and Kocaelispor v Gençlerbirligi.

Fenerbahce beat Altay with 3-0 and qualified for the 4th round of Turkish Cup. Goals were scored by Serhat (37') and Ceyhun (74', 90').
View a picture of Bata taken during the match. The following teams also qualified: Adanaspor, Ankaragucu, Besiktas, Dardanelspor, Denizlispor, Rizespor, Goztepe, Gaziantepspor, Trabzonspor, Yozgatspor, Kocaelispor and Samsunspor. The 3rd round will be completed tomorrow when Cup holders Genclerbirligi host Igdir.
On Sunday Fenerbahce awaits Besiktas on Sukru Saracoglu stadium. As Fenerbahce is in great form (in the last three matches they didn't receive any goals and scored ten) and
Besiktas tonight needed a 99th minute golden goal from Ilhan Mansiz in Istanbul to dispose of Sakaryaspor 2-1 after going behind early on, another derby victory should be on it's way.

It was Fenerbahce's night tonight in Izmir and nobody could stop the players in yellow-blue jerseys. The first goal came from our very own Bata. His header after a corner was unstoppable. Bata's goal was only the beggining. Goztepe's goalkeeper was beaten four more times. By Ceyhun, Hakan and twice by Serhat. It was an outstanding triumph and Fenerbahce is playing better and better. This was Fener's seven victory in the row and with every match the team looks more convincing and scores more goals.
You can download two video clips of Bata's goal.
The first one shows it from the distance (2,5Mb) and on the second one the camera is behing the goal (1,8Mb). Please use right click and save as target options while downloading. Both clips were provided by my friends from

Pictures of Bata celebrating the goal are taken from, official Fenerbahce website.

22/11/01 today published an interview with Bata. You can read an original version (in Turkish) of the interview (see bellow) and the translation.

Mirkovic said: "Rapaic is one of the best players in Europe. Last season's Antep and Galatasaray games are enough to prove his quality". Fenerbahce's Zoran Mirkovic has made some important announcements about the team. He said he got other offers from Europe but his contract with Fenerbahce lasts till 2003. He added: "Last year we had a new team but 24 players and 3 coaches had connected and succeded. Every team I have played for became the Champion in my first year. So I think I brought luck to Fenerbahce. This year we will race with Galatasaray and Besiktas but in the end we will be Champions. We would have wanted to do better in the Champions League but we didn't have enough experience and luck. In Turkey it seems bad if the President comes down to the locker room but that gives players the motivation. It was also like that in Juventus and Belgrade. Aziz Yildirim is a very good president. He gave a lot to this team both emotionaly and financialy. And we paid him back by becoming the Champions last year. Rustu is the best goalkeeper in the World. I have never seen a keeper so successful in one-to-one. The one thing I am sad about is Elvir Balic leaving. He is a great player and Real Madrid also didn't understand him. But I am happy that he transfered to Elvir Bolic's team."

Mirkoviç: "Ugurlu geldim" Yugoslav futbolcu, "Rapajç Avrupa'nin en iyi oyuncularindan biri. Geçen sezonki G.Antep ve G.Saray maçlari bile onun kalitesini kanitlamaya yeterli" diye konustu. F.Bahçe'nin Yugoslav futbolcusu Zoran Mirkoviç, takim ile ilgili önemli açiklamalarda bulundu. Yurtdisindan teklifler aldigini ama sari-lacivertli kulüple 2003'e kadar sözlesmesi oldugunu vurgulayan Mirkovic, söyle konustu: Geçen sezon yeni kurulmus bir takimdik. Ama 24 futbolcu ve 3 teknik adam kenetlenip, hedefe ulastik. Her gittigim takimda, ilk sene sampiyonluk yasadim. F.Bahçe'ye de ugurlu geldigime inaniyorum. Bu sezon da Besiktas ve G.Saray ile çekisiriz ama yine sampiyon oluruz. Sampiyonlar Ligi'nde de daha fazla seyler yapmak isterdik ama tecrübesizlik ve sanssizlik bizi engelledi. Kötü sonuçlar da takimi yipratti. Ama seneye daha iyi olacagiz. Türkiye'de baskanin ve yönetimin soyunma odasina inmesi kötü karsilaniyor. Ama bu, biz futbolcular için motivasyon oluyor. Juventus'ta da, Belgrad'ta da bu böyleydi. Aziz Yildirim da çok iyi bir baskan. Maddi ve manevi takima çok sey verdi. Biz de sampiyon olarak karsiligini verdik.
Rapajc Avrupa'nin en iyi hücum oyuncularindan biri. Ama çok haksiz elestiriler aliyor. Ben diyorum ki, 'Geçen sezonki G.Antep ve G.Saray maçlarini hatirlayin.' Ayrica takimin en fazla asist yapan futbolcusu da oydu. Rüstü de bence Dünyanin en iyisi. Teke tekte bu kadar basarili bir kaleci az bulunur. F.Bahçe'de en üzüldügüm seylerden biri Baliç'in gitmesi. Çok iyi bir futbolcu ama Real Madrid de onu anlamadi. Ama Boliç'in takimina gitmesine de sevindim."

Bu sitede yazilan bir haberin Turk medyasi tarafindan yanlis kullanildigi dikkatimi cekti. Hurriyetim gazetesindeki; Bata'nin Fenerbahce'yi birakacagini soyledigini yazan haber tamamen YALAN haberdir. Tam tersi. Bata, bu sezon ve gelecek sezon Fenerbahce'de kalacagini soyledi. 2003 yazina kadar Fenerbahce ile kontrati var ve kontrati bitene kadar Istanbul'da kalacak. Bata, onu seven ve ona saygi duyan Fenerbahce taraftarlarini birakmayacak.
Maja, webmaster

It was brought to my attention that information, posted on this site, was misused by Turkish media. It is absolutely NOT TRUE that Bata said he is leaving Fenerbahce, as Hurriyetim wrote today. Quite the opposite. Bata said he will stay in Fenerbahce this season and the next season. He has a contract with Fenerbahce until the summer of 2003 and he will stay in Istanbul until his contract is over. Bata will not leave his Fenerbahce fans who love him and respect him.
Maja, webmaster

Fenerbahce beat Genclerbirligi with goals by Serhat (73') and Ceyhun (81'). This match was Bata's come-back after he was forced to pause for a month because of a knee injury. He played the whole 90 minutes and showed a good performance.
Bata came back but many other players are injured (Revivo, Rapaic, Ogun...) and Mustafa Denizli could only muster a 17-man squad which included all three of his goalkeepers. In a mostly dull first half, Gencler had the better of what few chances there were. The second half was a different story with Patrick Nijs by far the busier of the two keepers. Abdullah's free kick came back from the post on 53 minutes but Serhat finally broke the deadlock on 74. Another free kick, this time by Ceyhun Eris, resulted in a wild goalmouth scramble with Serhat getting the final touch. The second came 10 minutes from time when Ceyhun finished off a move by Serhat and Oktay Derelioglu, lifting the ball over Nijs's head into the net. Denizli admitted afterwards that the first half had not produced much football, but said that his game plan had been first to restrict Gencler's counter-attacking opportunities and then move up a gear later. "We played almost perfectly in the second half," he claimed. "Neither Genclerbirligi nor any other team could have stood up to us."


Bata answered the questions sent by fans:

1. How old were you when you started playing football?
2. Do you sometimes wish you are not a popular football player?
Damir, Germany

1. I started playing football very late. I was already 15 years old when I joined FK Rad. Before that I was playing football with my friends in front of our building.
2. Who says I am popular? I try to be modest, imperceptible and do my job as best as I can. I am trying to keep my personal life for myself as I don't want it on newspaper covers.

1. Has ever come a time when you wanted to leave football and how did you overcome the problems?
2. Will you come to Banjaluka again and how do you like our town?
Bojana, Banjaluka

1. The critical time in my career came when I returned from the army. I was 20 years old at the time. I was not playing football for some three or four months. My coaches, Radenovic and late Mitrovic, helped me overcome the crisis.
2. I will return but I can not tell you when because I have a lot of obligations. Banjaluka is a beautiful town. People are hospitable, kind and honest.

Do you want to return to FK Partizan?
Grobar from Switzerland
Denis Brandusanovic

Yes. I will play for Fenerbahce for one year and a half more. In the summer of 2003 my contract will expire. Then I intend to return to Partizan.

1. Will you return to Yugoslavia and play for one of Yugoslavian teams?
2. Would you prefer to play for ZVEZDA or partizan?
Miljan, Australia

1. Yes.
2. Most definetely for Partizan.

1. Who are your best friend in Yugoslavian national team?
2. Do you want them to come to Fenerbahce?
Oguz, Turkey

1. All my teammates are my friends. But if I must name names, then I would say Nisa Saveljic and Predrag Mijatovic.
2. Of course I would want to play with them in Fenerbahce.

I saw the Euro 2000 qualifying game against Spain where we lost but played (in my opinion) one of the 10 greatest football matches of all time and then saw them lose 6-1 in Rotterdam against Holland. This was not in the top ten.  That afternoon as I left stadium, I felt as if an era of Yugoslav excellence in European football was over. We need a new direction and a new belief. Do you think we have the talent and belief to perform well at Euro 2004?  
Anthony Ristic Freelance Sports Journalist (London)

I depends on what your definition of success is. In any case we must stay realistic when we are talking about our goals. First we must qualify for the EURO 2004 and then we will have a right to talk about our expectations. Looking back, qualifying for World Cup 1998 and EURO 2000 was a success.

How many years do you plan on playing football?

I don't have a plan in my head. As long as health and physical strenght allow me to.

Other Bata's answers can be found on
If you have a question for Bata, send it to the

In the late morning hours yesterday and today Fenerbahce trainings took place in Samandira. Even though most attention is this days given to Turkish national team, a lot of journalists and photographers attended the trainings. Click on the exclusive pictures of Bata to view them in their original size. A video clip of the training (aired on Turkish television) showed Bata's mega dribbling show. It was so fantastic his teammates started screaming wooow, whistling and claping their hands. Journalists say Bata seems fit and will most likely be able to play against Genclerbirligi this weekend.

Yesterday Bata joined his teammates at the training in Samandira. For the past month Bata was not training at all or was training on his own because of his knee injury. He is recovering and it is possible he will be able to play next week in the match against Genclerbirligi.
A lot of players are missing in Samandira these days. Rustu, Umit and Abdullah are with Turkish national team that yesterday beat Austria with 1-0 and will, if all goes well, on Wednesday qualify for the World Cup 2002. Rapaic is with Croatian national team in Korea. Croatia yesterday lost a friendly match with 2-0. Revivo is still injured, Lazetic is ill...
Coach Mustafa Denizli surely was satisfied while watching yesterday's qualification match. All three Fenerbahce players showed a great performance.

Turkey is playing qualification matches for World Cup 2002 and because of that all Turkish Super Leauge matches were postponed. Rustu, Umit and Abdullah were called to play the matches against Austria. Turkey is aiming to reach the World Cup finals for the first time in 48 years. The first-leg of the play-off is on November 10 in Vienna, and the return is four days later in Istanbul. Other players were given time off and most of them will travel home to be with their families. Bata is travelling to Italy where he will be treating his leg injury.
Fenerbahce board is very satisfied with team's performance and has awarded all players with a bonus of 5 billion TL each. Fenerbahce has won the last five matches in Turkish Super League and is now only one point behind Galatasaray on the standings.
Fenerbahce board also decided that winter training camp will take place in Belek resort in Antalya. Just like last season. The team will arrive in Belek on 03/01 and return to Istanbul on 16/01.

Goals by Oktay in 42nd minute and Serhat in 90th minute secured Fenerbahce a 2-0 victory against Gaziantepspor.  Galatasaray fell to their heaviest defeat in 44 years of Turkish League history, as they found themselves beaten 5-0 by Bursaspor. Fenerbahce is now just a point behind Galatasaray on Turkish Super League standings.
1. Galatasaray 26 pts, 2. Fenerbahce 25, 3. Istanbulspor 22, 4. Bursaspor 19, 5. Besiktas 18, 6. Kocaelispor 18, 7. Gaziantespor 17, 8. Goztepe 17, 9.Trabzonspor 14, 10. Samsunspor 14, 11. Denizlispor 13, 12. MKE Ankaragucu 13, 13. Antalyaspor 13, 14. Genclerbirligi 11, 15. Caykur Rizespor 10, 16. Diyarbakirspor 9, 17. Yimpas Yozgatspor 9, 18. Malatyaspor 6

"After we scored the opening goal, we did not lose concentration," said Fener manager Mustafa Denizli. "The three points are very important. With Galatasaray losing, we've narrowed the difference between us. What we need to do now is go on playing like Fenerbahce."

Mustafa Denizli believes Fenerbahce did not deserve to finish Champions League campaign without any points. Denizli believes the fact his side lost all six of their matches is an inaccurate reflection of how Fenerbahce played in Group F and said: "We could have beaten Leverkusen and Lyon but on both occasions it just wasn't our night. Maybe we were not expecting to make it to the second group stage but we did not deserve to finish without any points. "Next season we will show everyone what we are capable of. This tournament was the first for the majority of my squad and for myself and we will definitely make up for this disappointment."

October 2001

Rivaldo's spectacular last-minute free-kick gave Barcelona a 1- 0 victory and left Fenerbahce without a point in Champions' League Group F. Fenerbahce had their fair share of opportunities and could have easily surprised Barcelona and won. Now the players must concentrate on defending a Turskih league title. There is hope Bata will overcome his injury very soon and will be able to help his teammates.

Fenerbahce beat Malatyaspor with 3-1 at the Inonu stadium. Galatasaray will stay top at the end of this week's round of matches. Fenerbahce could go second if Istanbulspor lose at home to Gaziantepspor on Sunday. Bata didn't play because of an injury.
Fenerbahce will travel to Barcelona on Wednesday hoping to avoid becoming the second team in history, after Kosice, to finish a Champions League opening round group phase with zero points.

Bata answered all questions that were sent by fans. Read if Bata wants to become a Yugoslav national team selector one day, what kind of mobile phone he uses and many other things fans wanted to know. If you have a question for Bata, you can send it to site's webmaster.

Fenerbahce lost against Bayer with 1-2. Bata didn't play because of an injury.

View the video clip from Saturday's Fenerbahce - Antaylaspor match. Bata didn't play because of an injury, the same goes for captain Ogun. Camera caught their conversation that went like this:
Mirkovic: "You are not playing. I am not playing. But it's not important..... We are all together. "
Ogun: "Yes, we are all together."
Mirkovic: "It's not a problem. They will come out fine and they will win."
This clip shows Bata is being too humble when he says he doesn't speak a word of Turkish. He seems to be doing just fine, say fans who speak Turkish.

On Friday Turkish media stated Aziz Yildirim warned the players who have official websites (Ogun, Rustu, Mustafa Dogan, Serhat, Lazetic and Bata) to close them down. He claims comments players make on their sites are misinterpreted in the media and cause problems for the club. I didn't check this information with Bata and I don't have his opinion on the subject, but as site's webmaster this is what I have to say:
-Never has any inside information concerning Fenerbahce been revealed on Bata's site.
-Bata never commented matches, predicted results or talked about his teammates, coaches or other club personel.
-Never (to my knowledge) was any of Bata's statements, given to the site, quoted in Turkish press. And that is understandable because none of his statements were connected to Fenerbahce. I can hardly understand how anybody should be bothered if Bata is answering questions like "Did you learn Turkish", "How do you like Istanbul"...
Please note the above comments are the opinion of site's webmaster and not Bata.

As site's webmaster was on vacation, you were not able to follow Bata's latest performances on the site and I apologize for the inconvenience. This are the results of the matches "we missed":
20/10/01 - Fenerbahce 3 - 2 Antalyaspor (Turkish Super League)
17/10/01 - Lyon 3 - 1 Fenerbahce (Champions League)
14/10/01 - Rizespor 1 - 2 Fenerbahce (Turkish Super League)
10/10/01 - Leverkusen 2 - 1 Fenerbahce (Champions League)
Fenerbache was back to winning ways yesterday but Mustafa Denizli's side was forced to endure a tense finale at home to Antalyaspor who eventually succumbed 3-2. Bata didn't play yesterday as he didn't play on Wednesday against Lyon either. He is having problems with his knee.
In Turkish Super League Fenerbahce is now third on 19 points, three behind Galatasaray and Istanbulspor. As far as Champions League is concerned, things are not so bright for Fenerbahce. Cannaries are last in Group F standings and don't have a chance of qualifying to second round anymore.
Some pictures of Bata, taken in the past ten days, were posted on the site and many more will be added in the following days.
This week Bata will be answering questions that were sent by fans. His answers will be posted on You ask, Bata answers page. If you have a question for Bata, you can still send it to webmaster's e-mail address.

Yugoslavia 6 - 2 Luxembourg

Goals for Yugoslavia:
Slavisa Jokanovic 19, Predrag Mijatovic 58, Mateja Kezman 61, 71, Savo Milosevic 62, 68

Goals for Luxembourg:
Rene Peters 38, Christophe Marcel 52

Yugoslavia line-up:
Sasa Stefanovic, Zoran Mirkovic, Goran Djorovic (Sasa Ilic 56), Slavisa Jokanovic, Mladen Krstajic, Predrag Djordjevic, Predrag Mijatovic, Savo Milosevic, Mateja Kezman (Ivan Tomic 73), Dejan Stankovic, Nikola Lazetic (Ljubinko Drulovic 44)

Luxembourg line-up:
Stephane Gillet, Ralph Ferran, Manov Schauls, Frank Deville, Jeff Strasser, Jeff Saibene, Rene Peters, Patrick Posing, Marcel Christophe, Manuel Gardeni (Manuel Deville 15), Sacha Shneider (Daniel Theis 75)

Yugoslavia stunned Luxembourg with six goals but still missed out on a place in the World Cup finals as Slovenia's 3-0 defeat of Faroe Islands consigned Yugoslavia to third place in Group 1. Yugoslavia went straight onto the attack from the opening whistle. On nine minutes Predrag Djordjevic crossed for the PSV Eindhoven striker who lost his marker only to see his effort bounce back off the bar.
The home side finally got the goal their pressure deserved on 19 minutes when Dejan Stankovic's cross from the right was met firmly by the head of Slavisa Jokanovic.
Just a minute later Dejan Stankovic hit the post from 25 yards and nine minutes after that Kezman had a goal ruled out for offside. But with Yugoslavia creating chances at will, Luxembourg hit back against the run of play. Rene Peters stunned the home crowd with an equaliser when he looked better placed to cross than shoot. And seven minutes after the unthinkable occurred when Christophe lobbed home the visiting side's second off a pass from Deville. Three minutes later Christophe could have added a second as a stunned Yugoslavia fell apart at the back.
But Yugoslavia soon regained the ascendancy. Predrag Mijatovic drew the home side level on 58 minutes and three minutes later Kezman pounced on a rebound to restore Yugoslavia's advantage as the visiting side buckled.
On 63 minutes Drulovic crossed to Savo Milosevic who headed home the fourth and added another just five minutes later. Kezman rounded out the scoring with 18 minutes to go.
All was in vain as Bata and his teammates will not travel to Korea and Japan. A sad end for a great generation of football players.

Selector Boskov announced the line up for tomorrow's match against Luxembourg:
Kralj - Mirkovic, Obradovic, Djorovic, Krstajic - Lazetic, Jokanovic, Stankovic - Mijatovic, Milosevic, Kezman.
Yugoslavia is expected to beat Luxemburg on Saturday but will depend on Slovenia dropping points against the Faroe Islands in order to go through. "I hope and believe that the miracle can happen," said Boskov.
After watching yesterday's press conference I was able to see Bata was pretty angry about journalists attacking him and Mateja Kezman about poor results of Yugoslav national team. This are some of Bata's statements:
"I don't know what people expect from us. We have never had adequate results in football, which is the sport with the highest-profile in the world. I don't defend us, but those are the facts."
"Great players like Stojkovic and Savicevic have retired, only Mijatovic is left. We no longer have players of such quality. Younger players still have to work a lot and to progress. It is the journalists' fault because they have painted a false picture of the national team."

Yugoslavia warmed up for this weekend's World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg with a friendly against Borac from Banjaluka. The match was scheduled as part of the Borac's 75th anniversary celebrations.
Yugoslavia won 5-1 with goals from Stankovic, Milosevic, Pjanovic, Dragsic (own goal) and Drulovic.
Bata was overjoyed with reception they got in Banjaluka. Together with selector Vujadin Boskov and Mateja Kezman he took part in today's press conference. He said it would be better for Yugoslav national team to play in Banjaluka or any other town, just not in Belgrade where players are not appriciated.
I talked to Bata after this evening's training. He is healthy and very optimistic about the Luxembourg match but doesn't want to speculate on Slovenia - Faroe Islands result. If Slovenia doesn't win on Saturday, Yugoslavia will be second in the group and will play Romania for the place in World Cup 2002.

Yugoslav coach Dejan Savicevic on Monday announced his squad for Saturday's 2002 World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg.

Ivica Kralj (PSV Eindhoven/Ned)
Sasa Stevanovic (OFK Belgrade)

Zoran Mirkovic (Fenerbahce/Tur)
Milan Obradovic (Lokomotiv Moscow/Rus) Goran Djorovic (Deportivo La Coruna/Spa) Sinisa Mihajlovic (Lazio/Ita)
Dejan Ognjanovic (Partizan Belgrade)
Mladen Krstajic (Werder Bremen/Ger)
Ivan Gvozdenovic (Red Star Belgrade)

Slavisa Jokanovic (Chelsea/Eng)
Ivan Tomic (AS Roma/Ita)
Dejan Stankovic (Lazio/Ita)
Ljubinko Drulovic (Benfica/Por)
Predrag Djordjevic (Olympiakos/Gre)
Sasa Ilic (Partizan Belgrade)
Nikola Lazetic (Fenerbahce/Tur)
Radovan Krivokapic (Vojvodina)
Igor Duljaj (Partizan Belgrade)

Predrag Mijatovic (Fiorentina/Ita)
Savo Milosevic (Parma/Ita)
Mateja Kezman (PSV Eindhoven/Ned)
Mihailo Pjanovic (Red Star Belgrade)

Pictures from the Fenerbahce - Denizlispor match have been added to the site.

September 2001

Fenerbahce needed a victory and Bata was there to deliver. We all know Bata is a defender and rarely scores. But when his team really needs him he can also do that. Last season he scored a crucial goal against Eruzumspor and helped bring Fenerbahce League title. Tonight (after three defeats against Barcelona, Galatasaray and Lyon) Fenerbahce was desperate for a victory. Nikola Lazetic (in 17th minute) and Bata (in 73rd minute) made it happen. Even a late goal by Denizslipor could not spoil Fenerbahce party. Players and fans can now look ahead with a lot of optimism. Not only were three points won and the team is not losing anymore. What matters the most is that Fenerbahce performance is so much better.

You can download and view both goals, thanks to my friends from

Lazetic (2,1 Mb)

Mirkovic (3,3 Mb)

(Right click and choose
Save Target As)

Along with captain Ogun our Bata was called the most valuable player of the match. This is how
Hurriyetim judged Fenerbahce players:

1 Rüstü (**), 4 Mustafa (**), 2 M.Meriç (**), 6 Z.Mirkoviç (***), 30 Ali Günes (**), 17 Lazetiç (**), 20 Yusuf (*), 28 (Dk.67 Johnson **), 3 Ogün (***), 18 Abdullah (**), 10 Revivo (**), 8 (Dk.87 Rapaiç), 19 Andersson (**), 29 (Dk.77 Oktay **)

Bata read a birthday card, made out of best wishes sent by fans. He asked me to thank all fans who were so kind to remember his birthday. He is also sending greetings to all visitors of his website.
In the conversation with him I have learned that he is very frustated and sad because of Fenerbahce's bad results but the atmosphere in the team is not bad, as journalists are suggesting. It's seems Bata is taking poor performances the hardest. And that is normal as Bata hates losing more than anybody.
site's webmaster

Lyon snatched a last gasp 1-0 win over Fenerbahce with a header from Christophe Delmotte in their Group F Champions League encounter. With the match apparently heading for a stalemate, Lyon substitute Pierre Laigle broke away down the Fenerbahce right and delivered an inch-perfect cross straight on to the head of the unmarked Christophe Delmotte. Delmotte's initial header from the penalty spot struck the underside of the bar, but bounced up kindly for the player to simply head home into an unguarded net to give the visitors a vital three points and a first ever victory on Turkish soil. For Fenerbahce, this defeat leaves them bottom of the group, pointless after two matches played at home.
Fenerbahce could count themselves very unlucky. They were unfortunate not to get a penalty when Lyon' Cameroon international midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe appeared to handle the ball from a Haim Revivo corner. Ali Gunes beat three defenders with a mazy run but with just Gregpory Coupet to beat he shot wildly high and wide. Revivo had had the best chance of the first-half when he turned Brazilian defender Edmilson but he shot tamely into Coupet's arms.
Mustafa Denizli said after the match: "It's always disappointing to lose a game in which you deny the opposition a chance for 90 minutes". When asked why his strikers were continually being flagged for offside, Denzil responded: "That shows a lack of concentration when they manage to cut off your attacks with offside positions." UEFA officials said Lyon coach Jacques Santini was unable to speak to reporters after receiving bad news concerning his family.
Fenerbahce: Rustu, Mirkovic, Mert Meric, Mustafa Dogan, Ali Gunes (Serhat 72), Ogun, Johnson, Lazetic (Ceyhun 81), Abdullah, Rapajic (Andersson 46), Revivo
Lyon: Coupet, Deflandre, Edmilson (Cacapa 62), Muller, Carriere (Laigle 83), Delmotte, Violeau, Foe, Brechet, Govou, Luyindula (Linares 90)

Fenerbahce tonight lost against Galatasaray with 0-2. A goal by Bulent Akin and a penalty from Serkan Aykut decided the derby. This is the second defeat for Fenerbahce in just four days and coach Mustafa Denizli has a lot of worries. Fenerbahce will play a Championship League match against Lyon in less than three days and something has to be done very quickly to get champions in top form. Another defeat at home would most likely mean a farewell from this prestigious competition.
Bata played all 90 minutes of the match and as fans say, showed a good performance. This is how journalists from Hurriyetim judged performances of the players from both teams:
FENERBAHCE: 1 Rüstü (*), 6 Z.Mirkoviç (**), 16 Ümit (*), 4 Mustafa (**), 17 Lazetiç (**), 28 Johnson (**), 20 Yusuf (*), 9 (Dk.64 Serhat **), 18 Abdullah (*), 30 Ali Günes (**), 29 Oktay (*), 19 (Dk.64 Andersson *), 8 Rapaiç (**), 10 (Dk.75 Revivo **)
GALATASARAY: 1 Mondragon (**), 35 Capone (**), 3 Bülent Korkmaz (**), 8 (Dk.52 Suat ***), 5 Emre (**), 57 Hakan (**), 15 Perez (***), 12 Bülent Akin (***), 13 Sergen (**), 6 (Dk.78 Arif **), 67 Ergün (**), 9 Ümit (*), 55 (Dk.70 Serkan ***), 11- Hasan (***)
Pictures from the match have been posted on the site.

Bata today is celebrating his 30th birthday. A lot of visitors of his website sent him best wishes that you can view on the birthday card. Bata will view it when he returns home from the Galatasaray match. He says teammates and coaches had presented him with a birthday cake. Nice looking and very sweet, added Bata. I hope in the days to come I will receive pictures of him cutting the cake and will post them on the site.
Istanbul is getting ready for another derby. Fenerbahce and Galatasaray fans have already forgotten about losing in Champions League matches this week. Tomorrow their heroes must beat the team they hate the most. The match starts at 19.00 Turkish time or 18.00 CET. Streets across the nation will become eerily quiet as supporters glue themselves to television sets. A victory for either side will prompt delirious scenes, with convoys of horn-blasting cars and street parties continuing until dawn.
Probable line ups:
Galatasaray: Mondragon, Capone, Emre, Bulent Korkmaz, Suat, Ergun, Sergen, Hakan, Hasan, Arif, Umit Karan
Fenerbahce: Rustu, Mirkovic, Umit Ozat, Mustafa Dogan, Johnson, Lazetic, Mert Meric, Ogun, Abdullah, Revivo, Rapajic

The lights went out for a time in Istanbul's Sukru Saracoglu stadium but Barcelona emerged from the darkness with a 3-0 victory over Fenerbahce.
Patrick Kluivert and Patrik Andersson in the first half and Javier Saviola in the second half were the ones who beat Rustu. Spanish players were testing Fener's goalkeeper throughout the match when Fener players only had few half chances.
Tonight's match will be something Fenerbahce fans will want to forget as soon as possible. But the players, including Bata, should not. Because we don't want them to play like this ever again.
Fenerbahce: Rustu, Mirkovic, Umit, Mustafa Dogan, Lazetic, Ogun (Mert 73), Johnson, Revivo, Abdullah, Rapajic (Ceyhun 69), Serhat (Oktay 46)
Barcelona: Bonano, Puyol, Andersson, Christanval, Sergi, Rochemback, Geovanni (Saviola 55), Xavi, Cocu, Kluivert, Luis Enrique (Frank de Boer 59)
In the second match of Group F Bayer Leverkusen
beat Lyon with 1-0.

Fenerbahce is among the best home teams ever. They have won their last 21 home matches and Barcelona have failed to win on four previous visits to Turkey. Barca without Rivaldo and Overmans is not a team that should make Fener (in front of 40.000 fanatical supporters ) fear. Barca proved their bad form at last match when they couldn't score against desperate Osasuna.
Not only Rivaldo and Marc Overmars, also Gerard Lopez, Abelardo Fernandez and Michael Reiziger will all miss out for Barca. On the other hand, no injuries are reported in Fenerbahce camp. Goalkeeper Rustu is in the form of his life, as is Umit Ozat in front of him. Bata is back after the injury and also Nikola Lazetic returned from Belgrade.
If you have a chance to watch the match, you don't want to miss it. Tuesday, September 18th, at 20.45 CET or 21.45 Turkish time.
Possible line-ups:
Fenerbahce: Rustu, Mirkovic, Umit, Mustafa Dogan, Johnson, Yusuf, Ogun, Mert Meric, Abdullah, Revivo, Rapajic
Barcelona: Bonano, Puyol, Andersson, Christanval, Sergi, Rochemback, Xavi, Cocu, Geovanni, Kluivert, Saviola

Fenerbahce yesterday won the match against Yozgatspor with 1-0. Bata didn't play because of an injury but he promised me he will be ready for the Barcelona match that will be played on Tuesday. Spanish players will arrive in Istanbul tomorrow. Bata and his teammates will be quarantined in Samandira tonight. It's already known Barcelona will have to play without Rivaldo and Overmars. There are no news of injuries from Fenerbahce camp.
Join us on Bata's forum to discuss the upcoming match.

Bata's injury is not as serious as was first thought. There is a possibility he might play tomorrow against Yozgatspor. This decision will be made just before the match. Coach Denizli doesn't want to risk Bata injurying himself again, especially as the match against Barcelona is scheduled for Tuesday.
Turkish newspapers state Bata's roommate Nikola Lazetic will not be playing tomorrow because he left for Belgrade to get married. I called Bata and he confirmed this news is true.

UEFA has announced new dates for the club competition matches postponed this week after the events in the United States. The eight UEFA Champions League first group stage matches will be played on Wednesday, 10 October (kick-off 20.45 CET). The UEFA Cup first round first-leg matches which should have been played on Thursday will now be played on Thursday, 20 September, with the same kick-off times as had been originally scheduled before the games were postponed.
Turkish media reports Bata injured his right knee during yesterdays training. Doctors will check his injury today. I will call Bata in the evening to be able to give you first hand news.

UEFA has announced that it has postponed all further UEFA club competition matches due to be played in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup this week as a mark of respect for the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in the United States.

Bata took advantage of his evening off and went to the Abdi Ipekci basketball hall in Istanbul to watch EUROBASKET 2001 final and support his team. He was overjoyed when his fellow Yugoslavs won 8th European champion title.
After the match he went to Samandira where Fenerbahce players were watching a football match on television. Today the team will travel to Germany, where in Leverkusen they will play their first Champions League 2001/2002 match.

Let me remind you of Fenerbahce fixtures in Champions League 2001/2002:
12/09; Bayer - Fenerbahce
18/09; Fenerbahce - Barcelona
26/09; Fenerbahce - Lyon
16/10; Lyon - Fenerbahce
24/10; Fenerbahce - Bayer
30/10; Barcelona - Fenerbahce

Bata could do nothing but watch as his dream of playing World Cup 2002 was slowly dying. As he could not play the match against Slovenia because of two yellow cards, he supported his teammates on the stands.
Yugoslavia had to win tonight to overtake Slovenia in Group 1 standings. 1-1 draw most likely means Yugoslavs will not be travelling to Korea and Japan because it is unlikely Slovenians won't beat Faroe Islands in Ljubljana next month.
Slovenia had the first chance when Rudonja brought an excellent save out of Kralj. The keeper, however, could not prevent the corner, and from Zahovic's resultant cross, Milinovic beat everyone to head the visitors into a 10th minute lead. Yugoslavia stepped up the pressure after the break, and in 52nd minute got their rewards when Djordjevic equalised. Djordjevic almost grabbed a second soon after, but Simeunovic saved well, while Milosevic and Mijatovic missed chances.

Bata will stay in Belgrade and train with Yugoslav team even though he can not play the match against Slovenia because of yellow card he received during Switzerland match. As everybody who watched the match, Bata also feels he was given the card quite unfairly. After a faul he kicked a ball perhaps one meter so the Swiss could not perform a free kick quickly. The Swiss have done the same on several occasions and went unpunished. Bata is very sad he will not be able to help his teammates in this very important match.
Bata's absence is not the only thing worrying selectors. As you surely know by now, Mihajlovic and Bunjevcevic (both defenders) could not join Yugoslav national team because of their injuries. Djorovic (also a defender) got injured during Yugoslav team trainings. Also Jugovic (midfielder) and Milosevic (attacker) are injured. Selectors will have a big probable making the team that will be able to satisfy their goals. Especially in defence where they only have one standard player (Djukic) available.
Tickets for the match against Slovenia started selling today. The price is rather higher than expected. Because there is a lot of interest and the match will not be played on Crvena zvezda stadium (as planned) but rather on Partizan stadium that has only 40.000 seats (Crvena Zvezda stadium has 60.000). The match was moved on selectors' demand. They insist the grass is in very poor condition on Crvena zvezda stadium after Zdravko Colic's concert was held there on 30th of May.
Slovenian national team will arrive in Belgrade tomorrow. And along with them some 5.000 fans. This number could be a lot higher but fans from Slovenia need visa to enter Yugoslavia and visa is rather expensive (65 DM) and can only be obtained via one touristic agency in Ljubljana.
The match is scheduled for Wednesday, at 20.15.

Goals from Savo Milosevic and Mladen Krstajic sealed a 2-1 win for Yugoslavia over Switzerland in Basle. The Swiss took the lead through Hakan Yakin in the 24th minute, but Milosevic levelled in the 39th, and Krstajic put the Yugoslavs ahead in the 74th. Today's victory brings Yugoslavia one step closer to World Cup, but wil not mean much if the team does not beat Slovenia on Wednesday. Unfortunately Bata won't be able to help his teammates as he received a second yellow card in this qualifications.
Yugoslav team was supposed to fly back to Belgrade tonight but unfortunately that was not so. They were five minutes late boarding the plane when they were informed they have to return to the airport because planes are not allowed to take off Basle airport after 24.00. Serbian BK television reported players are spending the night in the airport.
Yugoslavia: Kralj, Djukic, Mirkovic, Krstajic, Lazetic (Drulovic 67), Djordjevic, Jokanovic, Dmitrovic, Milosevic (Kovacevic 69), Mijatovic (Stankovic 79), Kezman
Switzerland: Pascolo, Zellweger (Frei 75), Murat Yakin, Mueller, Berner, Sesa (Chapuisat 75), Vogel, Fournier, Comisetti (Sforza 69), Hakan Yakin
Goals: H. Yakin 25', Milosevic 37', Krstajic 72'
Red card: H. Yakin 62'
Booked: H. Yakin, Mirkovic

August 2001

After four days of trainings in Partizan training center, Yugoslav national team players will today at 09.30 fly to Switzerland. Bata is reported to be slightly injured and has not been training as hard as other players, but doctors say he will be fit to play on Saturday. No doubt Bata will be in starting eleven because selectors saw his great performances in Fenerbahce this season.
In the conversation I had with Bata, I have learned the atmosphere in the team is very good but they all know the match against Switzerland will be very hard. If Yugoslavia loses it will be all over. Only a victory or a draw will leave them hope to be able to qualify for the World Cup 2002. Selectors have not revealed Saturday's line-up and probably won't at all. We will have to wait until the match to see who will play. Few players are sure to start the match. Goalkeeper Ivica Kralj, Bata (if he is fit), defenders Djukic and Djorovic and strikers Mijatovic and Kezman. All other positions in the team are unsure as selectors are trying to find a good solution in midfield, where Yugoslavs are very weak.
The match against Switzerland will be played in Basel on Saturday, 01/09/01 at 20.15. As a lot of Serbs live in Switzerland and neighbouring countries, our team will have a lot of support.

Fenerbahce can't lose on home stadium and all opponents know that. It was no different tonight. Goals by Ogun, Revivo, Umit and Yusuf were more than enough for a victory against Ankaragucu that only managed to score once. Pictures from Ankaragucu match have been posted on the site.
Early tomorrow morning Bata will travel to Belgrade and join Yugoslav national team trainings, scheduled to start in the evening.

List of Yugoslav National Team for qualification matches (Switzerland - Yugoslavia, Basel 01/09/01 and Yugoslavia - Slovenia, Belgrade 05/09/01)
KRALJ Ivica PSV Eindhoven, STEVANOVIC Sasa OFK Beograd
MIRKOVIC Zoran Fenerbahce SK, OBRADOVIC Milan Lokomotiv Moscow, DJUKIC Miroslav Valencia CF, DJOROVIC Goran Deportivo La Coruna, KRSTAJIC Mladen SV Werder Bremen, OGNJANOVIC Dejan FK Partizan, DMITROVIC Boban Grazzer AK, GVOZDENOVIC Ivan FK Crvena zvezda
JOKANOVIC Slavisa Chelsea FC, JUGOVIC Vladimir AS Monaco, TOMIC Ivan AS Roma, STANKOVIC Dejan SS Lazio, DRULOVIC Ljubinko SL Benfica, DJORDJEVIC Predrag Olympiakos Pireus FC, ILIC Sasa FK Partizan,
LAZETIC Nikola Fenerbahce SK
MILOSEVIC Savo Parma AC, MIJATOVIC Predrag AC Fiorentina, KEZMAN Mateja PSV Eindhoven, KOVACEVIC Darko SS Lazio

Fenerbahce will play Olympique Lyonnais, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Barcelona in Group F of the UEFA Champions League first group stage.

Group A - Real Madrid (Spa), AS Roma (Ita), Lokomotiv Moscow (Rus), Anderlecht (Bel)
Group B - Liverpool (Eng), Borussia Dortmund (Ger), Dynamo Kiev (Ukr), Boavista (Por)
Group C - Arsenal (Eng), Real Mallorca (Spa), Schalke 04 (Ger), Panathinaikos (Gre)
Group D - Lazio (Ita), Galatasaray (Tur), PSV Eindhoven (Ned), Nantes (Fra)
Group E - Juventus (Ita), Porto (Por), Rosenborg (Nor), Celtic (Sco)
Group F - Barcelona (Spa), Lyon (Fra), Bayer Leverkusen (Ger), Fenerbahce (Tur)
Group G - Manchester United (Eng), Deportivo La Coruna (Spa), Olympiakos (Gre), Lille (Fra)
Group H - Bayern Munich (Ger), Spartak Moscow (Rus), Feyenoord (Ned) , Sparta Prague (Cze)

Fenerbahce fixtures are:
12nd September; Leverkusen - Fenerbahce
18th September; Fenerbahce - Barcelona
26th September; Fenerbahce - Lyon
16th October; Lyon - Fenerbahce
24th October; Fenerbahce - Leverkusen
30th October; Barcelona - Fenerbahce

Fenerbahce beat Rangers with 2-1 and qualified for Champions League. Goals by Haim Revivo and Serhat Akin were enough to carry Fenerbahce among the Europe's best. Fenerbahce fans turned up in their thousands, hours before kick-off, and never stopped singing and chanting creating the kind of atmosphere Rangers always knew they were going to experience.
Fenerbahce got the start they wanted with a goal after just three minutes, Revivo swinging a free-kick from the edge of the box just inside Stefan Klos's left-hand post. With Umit Ozat outstanding at the back for Fener and Bata marking Tore Andre Flo out of the game, the Scots lacked penetration in front of goal. Then Rangers lost the ball just outside the box and Nikola Lazetic put it straight into the path of the unmarked Serhat, who steered home with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.
Still the Scots would not lie down and they were back in the game on 73 minutes. Rustu appeared to have Ricksen's left-foot shot covered, but was wrongfooted when the ball cannoned off Lazetic, and it flew into the back of the net. A fantastic match, a fantastic performance by our Bata.
Fenerbahce stays unbeaten at home and is wating for Champions League draw.
Fenerbahce: Rustu, Mustafa Dogan, Umit Ozat, Mert, Mirkovic, Lazetic (Uche 90), Ogun, Johnson, Revivo (Serhat 69), Abdullah, Rapajic (Andersson 76)
Rangers: Klos, Ricksen, Wilson, Amoruso, Numan, Reyna (Hughes 35), Konterman, De Boer, Vidmar (Ross 46), Flo, Kanchelskis (Caniggia 75)
Booked: Lazetic, Andersson (Fenerbahce); Wilson, Amoruso, Ross (Rangers)
Referee: Pierlugi Collina (Italy)

Fenerbahce is only one step away from Champions League. Bata and his teammates will have to make this big step tonight at 20.00 CET or 21.00 Turkish time. The Sukru Saracoglu stadium should be full to it's capacity. I am informed only 2.000 tickets are left. Fenerbahce coach made a plea to the fans:"On Wednesday night I don’t want any empty seats in the stadium. That is my wish. Fenerbahce fans know more than any other supporters when they are needed." And continued: "When I have asked the fans to turn out before they have always answered my calls and hopefully the will do the same again for the visit of Rangers. I hope also, of course, that the players can give them something to shout about as well. We should be in this together."
The whistle for this to do or die clash was given to Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, one of European most known referee.
There are no reports of injuries in Fenerbace camp. After resting his bruised shoulder on Sunday, Rustu Recber will be back in goal. Bata, Mustafa Dogan, Umit Ozat and Mert Meric will most likely keep him company in front of Fenerbahce goal. There is a lot of speculation about midfield and attack and only Denizli and his players know what line up will look like.
There has been confusion as to where the Fenerbahce match can be watched. If you have Eurosport International, the match is scheduled to be shown at 21.30 CET. As the match will almost be over by that time, this will not be a LIVE broadcast. I can't promise you anything but you can give it a try. To other fans, especially Turkish speaking ones, I recommend LIVE textual broadcast on Click on the NAKLEN (on the left).

Fenerbahce yesterday lost the second league match against Istanbulspor. Cannaries received a goal in 18th minute and never recovered, so the result stayed 1-0 for the opponent. Dick Advocaat, Rangers coach, came to Istanbul on Sunday and was watching the match on the stadium. His team arrived this morning. The second match of Champions League third qualifying round will be played on Wednesday, 22/08/01. Let me remind you, the first match, played in Glasgow, ended in 0-0 draw.

Today a hymn to our Bata was posted in Turkiye Gazetesi newspaper. Journalist used a song, posted on antu forum, and made it into an article. It goes like this:
Although he has played almost every league game last season burying the opponents, in his marking responsibility into the turf, he has never found the praise in the media that he deserved. Nobody saw, couldn't see that he was the hardest working player during practises, he immediately got up after he fell during a game, put his head against the kick, stood by his teammates whenever there was a quarrel with the opponents and the FB defence was upside down when he did not play. As soon as he buried Flo, made him senseless and erased him from the pitch in the game at Scotland's Ibrox stadium, it was as if Zoran Mirkovic was rediscovered. However, he was the one who played for the Yugoslav national team consistently, he was the one who lived glories with Juventus, one of the greatest teams in the most difficult league in the World. Yes, Zoran Mirkovic, or Bata as the Yugoslavs call him, is now irreplacable for Fenerbahce. A big bravo to the management for picking such a player and putting him under contract until 2003.
Translation by: Fenerbahce fan Cemal

Yugoslavia today beat Faroe Islands with 2-0 and by that increased it's chances for the second place in Group 1 for the 2002 World Cup. Goals were scored by Sinisa Mihajlovic (in 23rd minute) and Miroslav Djukic (in 85th minute). Both scorers are actually defenders and defense was the only part of Yugoslav team that showed a good performance. Midfielders and attackers played so bad they are beyond criticizm. Fans on Marakana stadium in Belgrade were so disappointed, they started supporting Faroe Islands in the second half.
Most Serbian journalists agreed Bata was one of the best players on the field. He made no mistakes in defense and in the beggining of the match tried to help attackers, but they were beyond help.
Yugoslavia: Kralj, Mirkovic, Djorovic, I. Tomic, Djukic, Dmitrovic (Djordjevic), Kezman, Mijatovic, Milosevic (Kovacevic), Drulovic (Lazetic), Mihajlovic
Faroe Islands: Mikelsen, Johanesen, Jens Hansen, Johan Hansen, Hans Hansen, Esur Hansen, Benjaminsen (R. Jakobsen), Jonson, Petersen (Olsen), Jakobson (Merkere).
Scorers: Mihajlovic in 23rd minute and Djukic in 85th minute
Booked: Benjaminsen, Johansen, Merkere, E. Hansen (Faroe Islands)
Bata's pictures were taken tonight by Nebojsa Parausic from MN PRESS.
All pictures can be viewed in original size on this page.

Yesterday evening Yugoslav national team players had their last training before today's match against Faroe Islands. They have been working on tactics mostly and selectors were deciding on today's line-up. Some dilemmas were solved but not all. And the line-up will be known only few hours before the match. This is how today's Serbian media is predicting it:

Kralj, Mirkovic, Djukic, Mihajlovic, Djorovic (Dmitrovic), Lazetic, Stankovic, Drulovic, Mijatovic, Milosevic, Kezman

Kralj, Mirkovic, Djorovic, Djukic, Mihajlovic, Dmitrovic, Drulovic, Stankovic, Mijatovic, Milosevic, Kezman

Kralj, Mirkovic, Djorovic, Dmitrovic, Djukic, Lazetic, Kezman, Mijatovic, Milosevic, Stankovic, Mihajlovic

The players watched Russia - Faroe Islands match (1-0) that showed how defensive Faroe Islands can play. As guests they do not play to win, but not to lose. And Yugoslavia must win. Not only today but in all four matches (against Switzerland, Slovenia and Luxeburg also).
Yugoslavia - Faroe Islands match starts at 20.15 CET and will be played on Marakana stadium in Belgrade. After the match full report will be posted, and also some pictures.

Yugoslav national team has been training in Partizan's training camp in Zemunel for the past two days. Selectors have held press conferences each day but so far have not revealed Wednesday's line up. One of selectors, Dejan Savicevic, today announced the team will be playing with three attackers and there will be no calculations. The line up for tomorrow will be decided during this evening's training but it is not clear whether it will be announced to the public.
Bata will surely be in first eleven. Not only is he is great form but he has also already played two competitive matches this season. That can not be said for other Yugoslav team players who mostly are in "preparation period". In conversation with Bata I have learned that he is very satisfied with trainings. I also asked him about his predictions of tomorrow's result. He wasn't willing to promise me I six goals (or such) victory. He said he will be happy if they win 1-0.
The match against Faroe Islands will be played tomorrow, 15/08/01, at 20.15.

NEWS UPDATE: Fenerbahce beat Samsunspor with 3-0. All goals were scored by Revivo (in 41, 44 and 49 minute). Bata played all 90 minute of the match.

This weekend began the 44th Turskih League Championship. Fenerbahce will play it's first match tonight at 19.00 (Turskish time) or 18.00 (CET) on Sukru Saracoglu stadium. Even though tired, Turskih Champions should not have a problem defeating Samsunspor (8th team in last seasons' standings). Bata will, of course, be in first eleven. To remind you, Bata was the fourth most standard player in the last season. Of 34 League matches he played 29 of them, and in 26 matches he played all 90 minutes. Altogether he spent 2511 minutes on the field. Only Rustu, Mustafa and Lazetic played more matches. Having in mind all transfers made this summer, Fenerbahce stays the strongest team in Turkey and Cannaries should not have a problem defending the title.
On Sunday (together with Nikola Lazetic) Bata will fly to Belgrade where in Partizan's training camp Zemunelo Yugoslav national trainings will start. The match against Faroe Islands will be played on Wednesday, 15/08/, at 20.15 CET. Bata and Laza should be back in Istanbul on Thursday.

List of players for the qualifier against Faroe Islands (15/08/01) was announced today.

Ivica Kralj (PSV Aindhoven)
Radovan Radakovic (Partizan)

Zoran Mirkovic (Fenerbahce)
Milan Obradovic (Lokomotiva M)
Miroslav Djukic (Valencia)
Goran Djorovic (La Coruna)
Sinisa Mihajlovic (Lazio)
Dejan Ognjanovic (Partizan)
Boban Dmitrovic (GAK)
Ivan Gvozdenovic (Crvena zvezda)

Ivan Tomic (Roma)
Dejan Stankovic (Lazio)
Ljubinko Drulovic (Benfixa)
Predrag Djordjevic (Olimpiakos)
Sasa Ilic (Partizan)
Nikola Lazetic (Fenerbahce)
Radovan Krivokapic (Vojvodina)

Savo Milosevic (Parma)
Predrag Mijatovic (Fiorentina)
Mateja Kezman (PSV Aindhoven)
Darko Kovacevic (Juventus)
Mihailo Pjanovic (Crvena zvezda)

Even though the list of players for the qualifier against Faroe Islands (15/08/01) won't be known until tomorrow, I learned from Bata he is on the list and he received the invitation from selectors a couple of days ago.
Bata and his teammates arrived in Istanbul this afternoon and went directly to Samandira where a training took place. Bata told me he is very satisfied with Fener's performance in Glasgow and says the match in Istanbul will be even more difficult. I told him about e-mails sent by fans and messages left on the forum and he asked me to thank all fans for their kind words and asked them to support his team on Sukru Saracoglu stadium in two weeks.

Bata's excellent performance did not go unnoticed by Turkish media. Read some of praises written by sports journalists:

-Mirkovic and Mustafa were marking Flo and Cannigia successfully and did not let the goal weapons of Rangers do their work. Fenerbahce was vigorously applauded last night because of their good football. Mustafa and Mirkovic had the hardest work to do. Especially Mirkovic was successful nearly in all the struggles with Flo.
-Mirkovic stopped Rangers' top scorer Flo successfully. He made irritated Flo make four fouls against him.

All your comments about Rangers match and Bata's performance are welcomed ON BATA'S FORUM.

Tomorrow Yugoslav national team selectors will announce the team for the qualifier against Faroe Islands. Bata expects to be called. The match will take place in Belgrade on 15/08/01.

A scoreless draw in Glasgow is worth as much as victory (that was not far away if only Fener was more lucky). Because statisticly speaking, Rangers can't beat Cannaries in Istanbul in two weeks. Fenerbahce won all 17 home games in the league last season and remain undefeated at home for almost three years. With help from loyal supporters the road to Champions League is wide open for Bata & company. Their performance tonight was superb.

Tonight's heroes: Recber, Meric, Temizkanoglu, Dogan (Akin 77), Mirkovic, Ozat, Revivo (Andersson 87), Rapajic, Lazetic, Ercan, Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Daglaroglu, Uche Okechukwu, Bayraktar, Simsek, Gunes.
Booked: Lazetic, Recber, Johnson, Mirkovic, Dogan, Andersson.

Tomorrow is a very important day for Bata. Even though he has played many important matches during his long and successful career, playing Champions League with Fenerbahce is one of his dreams. And our Bata is known for making his dreams come true. For this to happen, Fener must make a favourable result tomorrow. Victory is not required as Fener is sure to win at it's home stadium.
As trainings were closed to the public and I was away on vacation (and therefor didn't talk to Bata) I am not able to speculate on the line up or match tactics. I can only share with you optimistic words said by coach Mustafa Denizli:
"They have quite a good team, but we are better. We will prove that at Ibrox."

July 2001

Fenerbahce played Real Sociedad in what was labelled as the toughest test for Mustafa Denizli's side out of all the pre season games. The match ended scoreless and was not watched by many fans. Players didn't show a good performance but Turkish press is speculating that was done on purpose. Dick Advocaat, coach of Fener's potential oppononents Glasgow Rangers, was at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium to make notes. Journalists are saying coach Denizli did his best not to reveal possible line up, tactics and players' abilities. We can only hope journalists are right. If that's not the case, Bata and his teammates have a lot of work to do before the first qualification match on 08/08.
On 10/08 Bata will most likey travel to Belgrade. Yugoslav national team trainings are scheduled to begin the next day. Qualification match (for WC 2002) against Faroe Islands will be played on 15/08 on Crvena zvezda stadium in Belgrade.

Picture on the right:
29/07; Fenerbahce - Real Sociedad

Rangers beat Maribor 3-0 in Slovenia in the Champions' League second qualifying round and made themselves firm favourites to advance to meet Fenerbahce. Tore Andre Flo scored twice and Christian Nerlinger once. Turkish press reports Mustafa Denizli travelled to Slovenia and watched the match in Peoples garden (name of NK Maribor stadium).
Players stayed in Germany and continued training. They surely were happy to hear Oktay Derelioglu signed a one-year contract with Canaries. They will join Oktay in Istanbul tomorrow evening. On Sunday a friendly match against Real Sociedad will take place on Sukru Saracoglu stadium.
I talked to Bata last night. He said the team is training really hard. He still has slight back pains that do not disturb him while training. He is looking forward to the qualifiers. Both with Fenerbahce (for Champions League, on 7th or 8th of August and 21st or 22nd of August) and with Yugoslav team (for World Cup 2002, 15th of August against Faroe Islands).
Ilkay has again sent me beautiful pictures from training camp in Germany. You can view them all by clicking on the picture on the right.

UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round draw was made at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland today. Fenerbahce's opponent will be the better of following teams: NK Maribor (Slovenia) and FC Rangers (Scotland). Maribor and Rangers will play their matches on 25th of July and 1st of August. Fenerbahce will play against the winner on 7th or 8th of August and 21st or 22nd of August.

Fenerbahce won friendly match against Aachen with 3-1. Bata (as most of the players) played 45 minutes of the match and was given good grades by Turkish journalists.

Exclusive pictures from the training camp in Germany were posted on the site. All pictures were sent to me by Ilkay, to whom (I am quite sure) all Bata's fans are very grateful. Click on the pictures (on the right) to enter the gallery.

Fixtures for the first half of the season are know. Fenerbahce will play the following matches:
1. round Fenerbahçe- Samsunspor (10th-12th August)
2. round İstanbulspor-Fenerbahçe (17th-19th August)
3. round Fenerbahçe-Ankaragücü (24th-26th August)
4. round Kocaelispor-Fenerbahçe (7th-9th September)
5. round Fenerbahçe-Yimpat Yozgatspor (14th-16th September)
6. round Galatasaray-Fenerbahçe (21st-23rd September)
7. round Fenerbahçe-Denizlispor (28th-30th September)
8. round Çaykur Rizespor-Fenerbahçe (12th-14th October)
9. round Fenerbahçe-Antalyaspor (19th-21st October)
10. round Malatyaspor-Fenerbahçe (26th-28th October)
11. round Gaziantepspor-Fenerbahçe (2nd-4th November)
12. round Fenerbahçe-Gençlerbirlidi (16th-18th November)
13. round Göztepe-Fenerbahçe (23rd-25th November)
14. round Fenerbahçe-Betiktat (30th November-2nd December)
15. round Trabzonspor-Fenerbahçe (7th-9th December)
16. round Fenerbahçe-Bursaspor (14th-16th December)
17. round Diyarbakırspor-Fenerbahçe (21st-23rd December)

Milan Rapaic, Nikola Lazetic, Misko Mirkovic and Bata talked to the press together at the camp in Germany and they said everybody criticised them very hard last season. Declaring that they have done their best for the success of Fenerbahce they said: "They said that some of us are old and can not play in this team, for some of us they said we don't like trainings. But we did not give up and showed ourselves."

On Sunday Fenerbahce flied to Germany for the second phase of pre-season training camp. Canaries will play three friendly games in Germany, with Uerdingen, Aachen and Goztepe. The camp will end on the 27th of July. The club have paid out more than L500,000 in bonuses to their championship-winning squad. Twenty-one members of the first-team squad were paid L25,000 each as reward for their title-winning efforts.

In yesterday's conversation with Bata I have learned trainings are hard but not a problem to him. They only thing that is botherhing Bata is hot weather that is why he can hardly wait for the team to arrive in Germany where conditions for training are supposed to be better. The team will fly to Germany on Sunday. Today a friendly match against Kocaelispor is scheduled. The match will be played away, at the Ismetpasa Stadium in Izmit. It will be broadcasted live on TRT-1, beggining at 20.30 local time or 19.30 CET.
Other friendlies are to be played:
17 July Aachen - Fenerbahce
21 July KFC Uerdingen - Fenerbahce
25 July Goztepe - Fenerbahce (not confirmed)
29 July Fenerbahce - Real Sociedad (not confirmed)

Thanks to Ilkay exclusive pictures from today's and yesterday's trainings have been posted on the site. Click on the picture (on the right) to open the gallery. Please note: Bata and Mustafa Dogan are not really fighting. They are just joking, amuzing each other and their teammates.

NEWS UPDATE: Fenerbahce beat Kocaelispor 2-1. Bata, aswell as Lazetic, Rapaic and some other Fener stars, didn't play (and did not even travel to Izmit). The chance to prove themselves was given to younger players.

June 2001

Let them write what they want, says Bata.
I informed Bata about what Turkish press has been writing about his status with Fenerbahce and about clubs "he has signed contracts with". Bata said none of this is true and commented let them (journalists) write what they want. Bata stated he has two more years to play in Fenerbahce and he will be in Istanbul July the 1st to start training. If he is no longer needed in Fenerbahce the president will tell him so and find him a new club.

You asked, Bata answered...
A lot of Fenerbahce fans e-mailed me asking whether is true Bata is leaving Fenerbahce. Bata says IT IS NOT TRUE Fenerbahce president called him and told him to find himself a new club. He didn't even know Turkish newspapers wrote that. Bata says nobody informed him he will not be defending Fenerbahce colors next season. As far as he is concerned, he will be returning to Istanbul 1st of July.
If anything new happens, you will of course be informed. Bata is enjoying his well deserved holiday in Belgrade and is not thinking of football and transfers at all. Let's just hope newspapers can do the same.

Yugoslavia thrashed Faroe Islands on tonight. Mikelssen had to take six balls out of his net. Mateja Kezman hit a hat-trick, Savo Milosevic scored twice and Dejan Stankovic once.
Bata had to leave the game in 43rd minute after he was hit on the head by Yugoslav goalkeeper Radakovic. Bata was trying to get a ball out of penalty area when Radakovic (it seems he didn't see Bata) hit him very hard and Bata ended up on the grass. Yugoslav team doctor was checking Bata out for few minutes and decided it is best if Bata doesn't continue the match. Bata played superb those 43 minutes he spent on the pitch.
NEWS UPDATE: I just talked to Bata and asked about his health. He said he is doing better but still is a little confused. He said he lost consciousness for couple of seconds after he was hit by Radakovic.

Yugoslav national team arrived in Faroe Islands on Monday after a long trip from Russia. Bata talked to my friend on Monday night and said he is very tired and has cought a cold. All Yugoslav players complained about low temperatures. Players had only one training on Tuesday. Dejan Savicevic has revealed that Yugoslavia will adopt an offensive approach. Probable line up for today's match: Radakovic, Mirkovic, Mihajlovic, Drulovic, Djorovic, Lazetic, Kezman, Tomic, Dmitrovic, Mijatovic, Milosevic. The match will start at 19.00 Central European Time (CET).
Yugoslav national team desperately needs tomorrow's victory and three points it will bring. It won't be an easy game, but we all expect out heroes to win. And we will be able to watch Bata in Korea and Japan next year.

It seems Bata didn't sustain a serious injury in the match against Russia. If you didn't watch the match; in the 80th minute Bata just couldn't walk anymore and was substituted. One of Yugoslav selectors, Savicevic, said Jugovic and Djukic are the only players who will not play against Faroe Islands on Wednesday. That means Bata is fit and is training with his teammates.
On Sunday players had a free morning and did some sightseeing in Moskow. In the afternoon they were training and visited Yugoslav ambassador in Russia. Today players flew to Faroe Islands. Selector Curkovic warned them not to take the match against Faroe easily because such attitude almost cost Switzerland points on Saturday.

Bata received special visitors in Moskow. Fenerbahce fans, thankful to Bata and Nikola for the title they brought back to the club, visited them in Moskow's International hotel. Bata received flowers in yellow-blue colors and some other gifts. Bata and Nikola signed a lot of autographs and were enjoying themselves very much.
Both players will return to Istanbul in the beggining of July to start preparations for the next season. Fenerbahce will be defending League title and playing in Champions league.

Russia - Yugoslavia match ended with 1-1. Russia are now on 14 points while Yugoslavia are still in fourth, eight points further adrift. But of course Yugoslavia played one game less and still has a chance to be second in Group 1. In order to do so Yugoslavia must win against Faroe Islands on Wednesday. It's still not known whether Bata will be able to help his teammates in that very important match. Bata got injured very late in the match and was carried off the stadium. I will contact Bata tonight and if his phone is not off, let you know more about his injury.
Bata had a good match tonight. He made no mistakes and was very successful stopping Beschastnykh.
Russian goal was scored by Kovtun after Radakovic's mistake. And captain Mijatovic made sure Russia didn't get all three points.

May 2001

Judging by what one of the selectors (Vujadin Boskov) said at the press conference and how trainings looked like this is the line up for the matches against Russia and Faroe Islands:
Ilic -
Mirkovic, Djukic, Mihajlovic, Djorovic - Lazetic, Ilic, Jugovic, Drulovic - Milosevic, Mijatovic

Bata together with Nikola Lazetic arrived in Belgrade this afternoon. Both players went directly to Partizan Teleoptik training center. Bata awell as Lazetic, Kezman and Djukic didn't do the whole training because they were very tired. After the training Bata talked to my friend from
Sportska centrala and said he is very tired because he was celebrating for two days but he will be ready for the match against Russia. He stated this match is crucial as losing would mean the end of WC 2002 dreams. He also said the atmosphere in the team is good, players and coaches know each other well and he doesn't anticipate problems that happened the last time (under Djoric). You can listen to Bata's statement (Real Audio file) but it is in Serbian only.

Two trainings will take place tomorrow, at 10.00 am and 05.00 pm. There will also be a press conference after the morning training and we hope to learn more about the team plans, such as when the team is leaving for Russia and the possible first eleven.

Tomorrow I expect new pictures (from trainings and press conference) aswell as new statements from Bata.

Dear Fenerbahce fans and other Bata's fans! I have received most amazing celebration pictures (thank you, Ilkay). You can view them by clicking on thumbnails or entering
celebrations gallery. If you wish to have some of them in even larger size (for your home archive), please e-mail me and I will send them to you.
Seven of Turkish television stations were broadcasting celebrations on the stadium live.
Bata together with his teammates was yesterday a guest on ATV midnight show. Bata said Newcastle wants him but he prefers to stay in Fenerbahce. I talked to Bata before he appeared on the television and he told him his teammates and himself are having a great time celebrating the title.
Bata returned to Belgrade (together with Nikola Lazetic) this afternoon and is currently training with Yugoslav national team. I will be receiving a lot of pictures from the training camp and I also expect some audio and video files of Bata's statements before the matches.

List of Yugoslav National Team players for qualification matches WC 2002 Russia - Yugoslavia - Moscow, 02.06.2001 and Faroe Islands - Yugoslavia - Torshavn, 06.06.2001.

1. ILIC Sasa (Charlton Athletic FC)
2. RADAKOVIC Radovan (FK Partizan)
3. LUCIC Zarko (FK Buducnost

4. MIRKOVIC Zoran (FC Fenerbahce)

5. DJUKIC Miroslav (Valencia CF)
6. DJOROVIC Goran (Celta de Vigo)
7. MIHAJLOVIC Sinisa (S.S. Lazio)
8. BUNJEVCEVIC Goran (FK Crevena zvezda)
9. OBRADOVIC Milan (FK Obilic)
10. JEREMIC Dragoljub (FK Partizan)
11. DMITROVIC Boban (GAK-Graz)
12. JUGOVIC Vladimir (Internazionale FC)
13. TOMIC Ivan (CD Alaves)
14. STANKOVIC Dejan (S.S. Lazio)
15. LAZETIC Nikola (FC Fenerbahce)
16. DRULOVIC Ljubinko (FC Porto)
17. GVOZDENOVIC Ivan (FK Partizan)
18. ILIC Sasa (FK Partizan)
19. IVIC Vladimir (FK Partizan)
20. MIJATOVIC Predrag (Fiorentina AC)
21. MILOSEVIC Savo (Parma AC)
22. KEZMAN Mateja (PSV Eindhoven)
23. DRULIC Goran (FK Crvena zvezda)

Yugoslav team trainings will start on Monday. Players will be staying in Partizan training facilities called Zemunelo.

Bata hoped and prayed and it happened. FENERBAHCE IS TURKISH LEAGUE CHAMPION. Our heroes tonight beat Samsunspor with 3-1. Two Fener goals were scored by Revivo and one by Yusuf. Galatasaray tonight scored a "surprising" number of goals but they came of no use in the end as Turkey now has new champions. This is Fenerbahce's 14th League title and Bata's 4th trophy. Bata already won two Yugoslav League titles with Partizan and one Yugoslav Cup with Partizan.
Fenerbahce fans are already partying in Istanbul and players are about to return from Samsun any minute now. Pictures from the match and celebrations will be available on the site as soon as I receive them. You will also be able to read how Bata comments tonight's match and the title as your webmaster will call tonight to congratulate him. If you wish to congratulate Bata please
send your message and it will be forwarded to Bata.

Dear Fenerbahce fans!
The season is almost over. Only one match to go. I must say it has been a great season and I enjoyed following the matches and writing about them on Bata's (and also Laza's) site. I hope both players stay in Fenerbahce as I grew to like the club very much. I would like to thank all Fenerbahce fans who have helped me during the season. Without them it would be impossible for me to cover Bata's performances. I would also like to thank fans who kept visiting the site and who grew to like Bata and think of him as their hero.
Bata asked me to thank fans for all their support, on and off the stadium.

On Saturday everything will be decided. Our players deserve this title and they must get it.
Maja, webmaster

Fenerbahce beat Bursaspor 2-0 to stay three points clear in the Turkish championship race but Galatasaray won by the same score in Gaziantep to keep their title hopes just about alive. Both Fenerbahce goals came from Haim Revivo in the second half of the match. 42,000 fans couldn't celebrate the championship with the laser show that was planned by the club due to Galatasaray winning at Gaziantep. A draw will be enough for Fener next week away at Samsunspor. Fenerbahce is three points ahead on League standings. Fener's goal difference is plus 39 to Galatasaray's plus 36.

Turkish newspapers are still writing about Bata's goal, some calling him a player of the week. Not only he was great in defence and scored the goal that turned around Erzurumspor match, he had a chance of scoring a second goal only to be stopped by framework. All journalists stressed importance of Bata's goal saying all mistakes he might have made during the season are now forgotten because he scored the goal that might bring Fenerbahce long awaited title. Bata gave an interview for Serbian newspaper called Blic. He said he was praying for Galatasaray to lose but didn't think they would past weekend. He also said Galatasaray losing is far more imporant than him scoring. "We are almost champions", said Bata, "but we must play it smart in weeks to come. I still have not forgotten how we lost a title with Juventus last season. I hope I am not so unlucky to have this happened to me again".
Video clip of Bata's goal - Pictures from the match

Bata rarely scores but he did it when it mattered the most. Fenerbahce was one goal behind Erzurumspor when in 54th minute;
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This time not Johnson, not Balic, not Rapaic... but our own Zoran Mirkovic. Later in the game Milan Rapaic scored to make it 2-1 for Fenerbahce. Since Galatasaray lost this weekend Fenerbahce is so close to the title, fans can almost feel it.
NEWS UPDATE: I called Bata after the match when the team just returned to Samandira. I could hear the fans singing. Bata was so happy it is impossible to describe it. I told him how many fans sent me e-mails to congratulate him and he asked me to tell you that he loves you all. And that he will make sure he learns to use his computer even better so he will be able to interact with you.
If you want to view a video clip of Bata's goal
click here to download it. File size is 2,78 Mb. If you have a slow internet connection and you don't want to download the file you can look at the pictures I have made out of the video clip. Pictures from the match will be posted on the site as soon as they arrive in my in-box. As always you will be able to view them on Newest pictures page

It was about time!!!
Yugoslav Football Federation dismissed Milovan Djoric and named a new selector. Or better selectors. In the matches against Russia and Faroe Islands our players will be led by selector's committee that will have three members: Vujadin Boskov (president of the committee, ex selector for those who forgot him), Ivan Curkovic and Dejan Savicevic (both serving as committee members).
Again we will be able to watch Bata play for his country.

Goals by Ali Gunes in the first half and Yusuf Simsek early in the second gave Fenerbahce a precious victory over Galatasaray in Sunday's vital Istanbul derby. Later in second half Suat scored for Galatasaray but that wasn't enough for our rivals to gain a point and Fenerbahce won. Fenerbahce deserved to win as the whole team showed a good performance. Also Fener fans won, being as always the best fans ever. The two teams are now locked on 67 points, with Fenerbahce ahead on goal difference. Galatasaray look to have the more difficult three-match run-in, but the Canaries have to play two games on the road and their away record is not impressive.
This are fixtures for upcoming matches:
Erzurumspor - Fenerbahce (12/05)
Fenerbahce - Bursaspor (19/05)
Samsunspor - Fenerbahce (26/05)

Bata showed a great performance and made no mistakes during the whole match. And to show you Bata really is a fighter, as I always claim... He sustained a serious back injury during the match. He could not stand up and was just lying on the grass and holding his back. But he stood up and went on playing and didn't ask Denizli to be substituted. In great pain he gave it all for the victory of his team.

April 2001

Fenerbahce lost to Trabzonspor 1-0 and ultimately dropped to second place in the league, 3 points behind Galatasaray. Galatasaray had yesterday thrashed Adanaspor with 4-1. It wasn't Fener's day as many opportunities were wasted while the framework was hit 4 times. Fener were quite simply all over Trabzonspor throughout the whole game but were too generous with chances. Trabzonspor were playing very defensive but tried to score on the counter attacks. A single goal from Hami on the half-hour proved decisive. Bata played all 90 minutes of the macth and showed a good performance.
Istanbul derby at the weekend has now become more important than ever. Galatasaray have not only put themselves three points ahead of Fener but have overturned the Canaries' goal difference advantage too. Fenerbahce fans will no doubt make sure the atmospehe will lift their idols and they will secure the victory so badly needed in the race for the title.
Turkish league standings:
Galatasaray 67, Fenerbahce 64, Gaziantep 61, Besiktas 57...

Turkish newspapers wrote Fenerbahce coach doesn't want to see the first half of the Gaziantepspor match (Fenerbahce received three goals) repeated so he decided to put Bata in charge of defence. Denizli once made Bata play as a front libero and he was very efficient. Bata yesterday had a private meeting with Denizli and he was told what was expected of him in detail. Bata will play Sunday's match against Trabzonspor even though he is having horrible back pain and is taking injections. Trabzonspor beat Adanaspor with 7-1 last week and is supposed to be a difficult opponent.

I can only say it's good Bata wasn't called to play against Russia. Bata worked all his life to get respect as a player and it would be terrible if he had to lose it playing under Djoric's control.
You all know by know Yugoslavia lost against Russia and almost all our chances of reaching the World Cup in 2002 disappeared. Selector Djoric didn't only destroy us today, he humiliated us. First he had a fight with Mijatovic and Milosevic who quit the team before the match. When the team was 0-1 behind he took both strikers (Kezman and Drulic) out and replaced them with two midfielders. If you didn't watch the match you missed the one and only chance in your lifetime to see how 4-6-0 formation looks like.
The Marakana stadium chanted Quit Djoric, quit. But all this is not enough for him. At the press conference he said he is not quiting because fans and journalists want him to. He will quit when he wants to quit. The team lost many of it's legends since Djoric arrived (Stojkovic, Mijatovic, Jokanovic, Kovacevic, Mirkovic...). We can only wonder who is next.

While some of Fenerbahce players are getting ready for the match with Trabzonspor and others are away on international duty I took time to translate answers to some of the questions Fenerbahce fans often send to my e-mail box.

Question: Do you speak Turkish?
-Bata's answer: I know only few Turkish words. And even those are the same in Serbian.

Question: So how do you communicate with your teammates?
-Bata's answer: With hands and legs. In English and Italian. There are a lot of us here Laza, Misko, Rapaic, Balic and myself. If we don't understand something, we ask.

Question: What's your life like in Istanbul?
-Bata's answer: Istanbul is a very beautiful city. It's huge. It has about 15-18 million people. Nobody really knows. There is so much to see in Istanbul but we, the players, don't have time to see all that. Journalists are really cruel in Turkey. If I was staying out I would be in newspapers in no time. Journalists like to make up stories and scandals. We all avoid that. I never stayed out later than 23.00 since I came to Turkey.

Question: Something about fans...
-Bata's answer: People in Italy love football but I have never seen such love for the sport as in Turkey. They are so dedicated to their club. Fenerbahce didn't win the title in the last years and everybody here is living for this title. And supporting us all the way.

Question: Are you returning to Turkey next season?
-Bata's answer: Of course, I have a contract.

Fenerbahce tonight pulled through a fantastic comeback and won the match against Gaziantepspor with 4-3. This victory brought them one step closer to winning the title and they continue to be the only team in Europe who has won all matches on home stadium. Fenerbahce was 0-3 down and it all looked like this will be a disaster night. The team was playing very bad. As the match was slowly coming to an end the better Fenerbahce was. Revivo in 63rd minute, Rapaic in 67th minute and Uche in 74th minute showed it was possible to win. All that was needed was one more goal. Rapaic was the man to do it. In 80th minute he was successful once again and set the result at 4-3.
Bata had a difficult night because Dogan and Johnson (who always form the defensive line with him) were not playing and in the 5th minute of the match captain Ogun got injured. He was defending Fenerbahce colours all 90 minutes of the match, and fans say he did a good job.

Selector Milovan Djoric announced the list of players for the qualification match against Russia. The match will take place in Belgrade on Marakana (Crvena zvezda) stadium on 25/04/01.

1. ILIC Sasa (Charlton Athletic FC)
2. RADAKOVIC Radovan (FK Partizan)
3. STEVANOVIC Sasa ( OFK Beograd)
4. LAZETIC Nikola (FC Fenerbahce)
5. DUDIC Ivan (SL Benfica)
6. KRSTAJIC Mladen (SV Werder)
7. STEFANOVIC Dejan (SBV Vitese)
8. OBRADOVIC Milan (FK Obilic)
9. DJUKIC Miroslav (Valencia CF)
10. BUNJEVCEVIC Goran (FK Crevena zvezda)
11. MIHAJLOVIC Sinisa (S.S. Lazio)
12. JOKANOVIC Slavisa (Chelsea FC)
13. STANKOVIC Dejan (S.S. Lazio)
14. JUGOVIC Vladimir (Internazionale FC)
15. DJORDJEVIC Predrag (Olympiakos FC)
16. TOMIC Ivan (CD Alaves)
17. IVIC Vladimir (FK Partizan)
18. MIJATOVIC Predrag (Fiorentina AC)
19. MILOSEVIC Savo (Parma AC)
20. DRULIC Goran (FK Crvena zvezda)
21. KEZMAN Mateja (PSV Eindhoven)

As Bata informed me one week ago he wasn't called to play this match. You were able to read all about it on Bata's site. All Bata's fans were waiting for today's press conference to find out why Bata wasn't called but they learned very little, or nothing.

Selector said he didn't call Bata because of three reasons:
1. Bata is not playing for Fenerbahce or is playing very little.
2. Fenerbahce is losing all the time.
2. Bata has a leg injury.

1. All fans who read news on Bata's site, especially Fenerbahce fans, know all too well Bata has been a standard player in Fenerbahce. If he missed a match it was because of yellow cards or injury. Never was he not put in the team because of bad form or some other reasons.
Djoric is either badly informed or is simply lying. Since selector Djoric can always find time to travel to Holland, Italy, Belgium he could have also gone to Turkey to watch Bata perform, but he never did. It seems Turkey is not interesting enough touristic destination as far as Djoric is concerned.
2. Fenerbahce really lost three matches in the last ten days. But Nikola Lazetic was called to Yugoslav national team before those losses occured. Meaning, Fenerbahce losing only served Djoric as an excuse. Besides, Nikola Lazetic also is a player of this "losing team" and selector had no problem calling him.
3. Bata really injured his leg while training under Djoric's supervision in Belgrade. But this injury is a thing of a past. Bata has some back problems but his legs are okay.

It's very obvious Djoric lied. He had no intention of calling Bata. He said he is very satisfied with the team that played against Slovenia and Switzerland (need I remind you both matches ended in 1-1 draw, a very bad result as far as Yugoslav team is concerned).

Selector didn't only lie about Bata.
Sasa Ilic from Partizan wasn't called because "he is in bad form". Ilic assisted two goals in yesterday's match against Zeta. In absence of Dragan Stojkovic Ilic should have been called.
And for Kovacevic... Djoric claimed that he had not been left out for disciplinary reasons, and suggested that he and the forward had put their differences behind them. Kovacevic claims he has not been called at all and would return to national team even if I have to walk to Belgrade.

Fenerbahce tonight lost the match against Ankaragucu with 1-2. This way an advantage before Galatasaray has been lost and both teams now have 61 points on Turkish League standings. Fenerbahce is still the first but only on goal difference.
1. Fenerbahce 61
2. Galatasaray 61
3. Gaziantep 58
4. Besiktas 55

Bata has not been called by FSJ (Yugoslav Football Federation) to play the match against Russia. Fenerbahce only received a call up for Nikola Lazetic. It all looks like this is another one of "smart decisions" made by so far very unsuccessful selector Djoric. Does Djoric have such a good team he doesn't need services from a standard player of the Turkish first league leader and standard Yugoslav team player? If the call up for Bata doesn't arrive a lot of fans around Yugoslavia will be outraged with Djoric who definetely is the most hated selector Yugoslavia had in recent years. And the webmaster of this site will join thousands and thousands of football lovers who stopped supporting Yugoslav national team and only support their favourite club.
The match against Russia will take place on 25/04/01 and will be played on Belgrade's Marakana stadium. Players are supposed to arrive in Belgrade five days before the match. If they have League matches on Saturday they can arrive in Belgrade four days before the match. If their League matches are scheduled for Sunday they will not be able to play them and will have to be in Belgrade by Friday.

Genclerbirligi caused a major shock in the Turkish Cup Final when the Ankara side defeated the league leaders Fenerbahce on penalties with Belgian keeper Patrick Nijs making two crucial saves in the shoot-out. The game finished 2-2 at the end of normal time. But Nijs was on hand to prevent Fener from taking a shot at the league and cup double as Gencler ran out 4-1 winners in the shoot-out. Genclerbirligi, now tenth team in Turskih Leaguse standings, will now play in European competition next season.

18 years ago was the last time Fenerbahce won the Turkish Cup. Now this long wait for the Yellow Canaries is due to end. Genclerbirligi have gone 14 years without winning this competition and they're eager to win at Kayseri. Both teams are strong and came to the final with very convincing wins even though they were both on penalties. Fener first played Siirt JetPa at home and won the game with a very clear score, then it was Bursaspor, Ankaragucu and Galatasaray.
Possible Fener line up for tonight: Dogan, Meric, Mirkovic, Ogun, Abdullah, Johnson, Revivo, Lazetic, Rapaic and Serhat. Fener fans hope Rustu, even though injured, will be able to defend Fenerbahce's goal. With him victory will be achieved so much easier.
The city of Kayseri has been waiting eagerly for this game and a packed Ataturk Stadium is expected to host the final. The stadium has been completely renovated specially for the final and hopefully the stadium will be where Ogun lifts the Turkish Cup and Fener fans party. The game will also be broadcasted live through Sukru Saracoglu Stadium's scoreboard TV screen. A packed crowd at the Sukru Saracoglu is also expected, but for a game that's not being played there.

Fenerbahce on Satuday lost the match against Denizlispor with 1-2. But it seems luck is on Fener side and Galatasaray also lost so the six points lead was left unchanged. What is worrying is a poor performance showed by yellow-blue heroes. Bata was one of the best Fener players but he can do a lot better. He almost scored but unfortunately great defense from Denizlispor's goalkeeper prevented him from putting his name on the list of scorers.
This team is capable of playing much much better and Turkish Cup final on Wednesday would be just the perfect time to show that. Mustafa Denizli said that he is confident that his team will defeat Genclerbirligi in Wednesday's cup final and take the trophy for the first time in 18 years.

Yugoslav fans are very disappointed with the results national team has achieved in the matches against Switzerland and Slovenia, both ended with 1-1. Two points from a possible six is very poor. Nobody expected that. But only fans are pesimistic. Selector Djoric is talking about good atmosphere in the team even though he has had a fight with many of the players. Mateja Kezman reacted furiously to being substituted, while Dejan Stankovic made clear his disgust when Vladimir Ivic – and not him - was brought on. Djoric accused Stankovic of being "uncultured," claimed Kezman was "always offside" and dropped Darko Kovacevic from the team for being "rude at a team meeting." He told journalists he will be a selector for a long time and players better learn to obey him if they want to find a place in the team.
Yugoslav national team will play the postponed match against Russia on 25th of April at Belgrade's Marakana stadium. Yugoslav League players will start training on 18th of April and international players will join the when the matches in their leagues are over. Bata will no doubt represent his country in the match against Russia.

In the conversation with Bata I have learned he started training on Tuesday. He said the injury is almost a thing of the past and he surely will play against Denizlispor on Saturday. Bata missed the match against Adanaspor (he was injured plus he was banned from playing because of yellow cards) that Fenerbahce won by 4-0 (two goals were scored by Rapaic and two by Ali Gunes).

March 2001

Bata left Belgrade late Thursday evening and has returned to Istanbul, to his club. Fenerbahce is playing it's first League match on Sunday but Bata won't be in the team because of yellow cards. Perhaps that's for the best so Bata will be able to heal his injury. Doctors are doing everything possible to get him ready for next week's match against Denizlispor.

Again without Bata, again without victory
Since Milovan Djoric became a selector Yugoslav national team hasn't been able to win. As the match against Switzerland, the match against Slovenia ended with 1-1. Yugoslavia took the lead on 34 minutes. Nikola Lazetic broke into the box, and crossed for Savo Milosevic to head home. Zlatko Zahovic whipped home a free-kick in injury-time to earn Slovenia a point. Duljaj committed the foul, and when Zahovic stepped up there was an air of inevitability that Yugoslavia's tormentor in Euro 2000 would again strike. Sure enough, he hit the free-kick over the wall, and beyond a flat-footed Kocic. Yugoslav coach Milovan Doric said he was satisfied with the performance of his team although they let in a last-minute equaliser. "Of course I am sorry about that, but I am not sad." Yugoslav coach might have been satisfied but the fans weren't. And neither were the players. Djoric has had a fight with atleast four of them in the past few days and some of them have already threatened they will not be playing for Yugoslav team as long as he is selector.
As Bata is injured he stayed in Belgrade and watched the match on television. He was very unhappy about the result and worried about Yugoslavia having only five points from three games.

"We just didn't have any luck. We had the chances, but we just couldn't score. The Swiss had two chances, and scored once." Those were the words of Milovan Djoric, Yugoslav team selector. Yugoslav team didn't lose but for the fans draw was as bad as defeat. Yugoslav players were booed off at half-time and when the match was finished the selector was booed and told to leave his job.
Bata didn't play last night because of the injury. He was greatly missed in the team. Even more than Bata the team missed a playmaker (like Dragan Stojkovic) who would organize the game. Some confusion was cleary visible in the line of defence. Attackers had some good chances but couldn't realize them. Midfield was a disaster.
Sinisa Mihajlovic gave Yugoslav team the lead in the 68th minute. It was a trademark free-kick strike from the Lazio defender, his well-flighted 25-yard shot deceiving Marco Pascolo in the Swiss goal. However, Switzerland hit back and veteran striker Chapuisat headed home a good cross from Johann Lonfat in the 84th minute. Yugoslavia pressed for a late winner but Pascolo threw himself at a close-range Milosevic shot in injury-time to dent the home side's 100 per cent record in Group One.
In the conversation with Bata I learned he will not be playing the match against Slovenia. Even more, he will not be going to Slovenia at all. In few days he will return to Istanbul and begin a treatment with Fenerbahce doctors.

Bata will not be playing the match against Switzerland on Saturday. Yugoslav national team doctor said there is little chance Bata will be ready for the match against Slovenia on Wednesday. Bata strained a muscle at Monday's training and he needs to rest 7-10 days. Bata said he will be traveling to Slovenia despite his injury. Selector Djoric called Marjan Markovic (Crvena zvezda player) from Yugoslav U21 team and it's likely he will replace Bata. But Bata's injury is a big problem for the team. For the six past years the team hasn't got a player who can replace him and play as well as he does.

Sportska centrala journalist Aca Krstanovic (on the picture with Bata) talked to Bata in the hotel Jugoslavija this afternoon. Bata told him he has never had muscle problems before. He thinks playing 10 matches in one month might have caused his injury. Bata said he doesn't know if he is going to play the match against Switzerland on Saturday. He also said it would be better if he skipped the match against Switzerland so he will be ready for the match against Slovenia. Aca also talked to Yugoslav team doctor. Doctor Stojkovic said Bata's condition is not good at this time. The decision about him playing the match against Switzerland will be made tonight. Doctor said Bata will surely be ready by Wednesday to play against Slovenia. He also stipulated the selector will rest Bata against Switzerland to make sure he is fine for the more difficult match against Slovenia.

In the conversation with Bata I have learned his injury is not as harmless as Yugoslav media reported today. Bata got injured at yesterday's training and it is possible he will miss both qualification mathces, against Switzerland and Slovenia. Bata says it's unlikely he will be ready by Saturday to play against Switzerland but he hopes he will be playing against Slovenia in eight days time. He still is waiting what doctors will say, and ultimately it will be their decision. Bata was training today but not working the regular programme. Selector has prepaired a special programme for him and Savo Milosevic, who is also injured.

Yugoslav national team today held their first training. All international players already arrived in Belgrade and were able to join. None of the players is injured.
Two trainings are planned for tomorrow. Also, selector Djoric will hold a press conference tomorrow at 13.00 in the hotel Jugoslavija where he is expected to be asked many questions about why he didn't call Ljubinko Drulovic and Sasa Ilic to the team. There are few more players who expected to be called but weren't: Dudic, Stojkovic... Some of the players are supposted to join the press coference and talk about their expectations for the matches against Switzerland and Slovenia.
If Bata is one of those players invited to talk to the journalists, you will be able to read his statements on the site.

Today Yugoslav team selector Milovan Djoric held a news conference in the hotel Jugoslavija and announced the list of players for the upcoming matches against Switzerland and Slovenia.
This is his list:
1. KOCIC Aleksandar (FK Crvena zvezda)
2. LUCIC Zarko (FK Buducnost)
3. MIRKOVIC Zoran ( FC Fenerbahce)
4. BUNJEVCEVIC Goran (FK Crevena zvezda)
5. STEFANOVIC Dejan (SBV Vitese)
6. JOKANOVIC Slavisa (Chelsea FC)
7. OBRADOVIC Milan (FK Obilic)
8. DJUKIC Miroslav (Valencia CF)
9. DJORDJEVIC Predrag (Olympiakos FC)
10.JUGOVIC Vladimir (Internazionale FC)
11. DULJAJ Igor (FK Partizan)
12. IVIC Vladimir (FK Partizan)
13. KEZMAN Mateja (PSV Eindhoven)
14. MILOSEVIC Savo (Parma AC)
15. STANKOVIC Dejan (S.S. Lazio)
16. MIHAJLOVIC Sinisa (S.S. Lazio)
17. DRULIC Goran (FK Crvena zvezda)
18. KOVACEVIC Darko (Juventus FC)
19. LAZETIC Nikola (FC Fenerbahce)

Tomorrow he will add one more player and one goalkeeper to the list.
All players will meet tomorrow in the hotel Jugoslavija at 12.00 and the first training will be held at 19.00.

Fenerbahce dropped two points in Rize tonight and must have been relieved it wasn't worse after Abdullah was sent off at the end of the first half. Full house crowd saw only two goals, one from each team. Fenerbahce's goal was scored by Balic and Rizespor's by Saffet. Mustafa Denizli said after the match: It wasn't that important that we played with ten men for a long period. We had good chances in the second half but we didn't take them.
Rizespor has not been beaten in their home field for 8 weeks. When the team returned to Istanbul a very big crowd of Fenerbahce fans welcomed the team in the airport with cheers, songs, support banners and a very big Fenerbahce flag. The team and coach Mustafa Denizli were very surprised. Mustafa Denizli, while walking through the fans, said: You are brilliant. Thank you.
Bata was booked tonight and will be banned from playing the next match, against Adanaspor.

Tonight's victory over Antalyaspor has been marked by a tragedy that happened after the match. Six Fenerbahce fans (Murat Ozpolat, Rodi Kocoglu, Selcuk Demiralp Volkan Okandar, Adem Akkurt, Aykut Avcioglu) were shot and are lying in hospital, two of them badly injured. I know I can speak in Bata's name to say how indignated he is because of this barbaric act done by unknown assailants.

Fenerbahce maintained their 100% home record this season. The first chance in the match came from Haim Revivo. Four minutes later he took a pass from Nikola Lazetic and slide the ball beyond Antalyaspor keeper to make it 1-0 very early in the game. A goal so early in the game usually announces many more are to come but that just wasn't the case tonight. Eight minutes later Ugur Yasan made it 1-1. Antalyaspor attackers kept Rustu pretty busy tonight but except for this one goal he was very successful. The second-half was a very different story as Fenerbahce players showed a lot more determination and took a firm grip on the game. They pulled more men forward in search of a winner and were rewarded on 73 minutes when Ogun Temizkanoglu grabbed the all-important third goal of the match.

Few details about the upcoming qualification matches for World Cup 2002:

-New selector Milovan Djoric will announce the list of players at the news conference on 18th of March.
-Trainings will start the next day. International players will join them as soon as obligations in their respective clubs allow them to.
-The match against Switzerland will take place in Belgrade, on Partizan stadion, on 24/03/01. Tickets are very cheap. The price is not the same for all but in average they don't cost more than 2DM. Tickets are still available.
-Yugoslav team will come to Slovenia on 26/03/01. Even though Slovenians offered best hotels in Ljubljana, Yugoslav Football Federation decided players will be staying in Bled.
-The match against Slovenia will take place in Ljubljana at Bezigrad stadium on 28/03/01.
-No tickets for the match are available in Slovenia. They were all sold in advance sale (only fans who went to EURO 2000 could buy them) and they will not be sold publicaly. 800 tickets will be sent to Yugoslav Football Federation next week.

If Bata is called to play for the national team (the new selector still hasn't managed to dial his number) you will be able to read exclusive match reports and view exclusive pictures, here on Bata's site. The report from the match against Switzerland will be written by a kind young lady from Belgrade and pictures will be taken and sent to me by photographer Nebojsa Parausic from MN Press Agency. The report from the match against Slovenia will be written by myself and pictures will again be contributed by Nebojsa Parausic. Also, if Bata is in the mood to pose for me, you will be able to view exclusive pictures of Bata taken outside football grounds.

Fiercely-partisan home crowd in Yozgat didn't stop Fenerbahce from winning again. Today's victory wasn't so great as we are used from Fenerbahce (3-2) but it was enough for the team to insure the leading position in the standings will remain intact. There were serious security precations before the match. Police checked everybody around the stadium. And the both team's fans came in the stadium from different ways at different times.
Fenerbahce opened slowly, looking more like a team seeking to protect a point rather than one looking for all three. Even though Yozgat was the team attacking the most it was Fenerbahce's Johnson who scored first. The goal came from a long shot and ended in Yozgat's net in 36th minute. Yozgat were far from finished. Four minutes from half-time, Rustu made a terrible mistake. He attempted to punch out a cross but failed to make clean contact and the ball dropped on the penalty spot. With boots flying in from all directions, Kwame Ayew got the final touch which put the home side level. Yozgatspor opened the second half aggressively. The reward came eight minutes after the break. Ayew took a ball from Preko inside the box and lifted the ball over the advancing Rustu to put his side in front. Sixteen minutes from half-time, Balic levelled with a free-kick from just outside the box. It looked more like a speculative chip than a shot but Yozgat's keeper misread it and the ball crept just inside the post. The match would end in a draw if it wasn't for Murat who headed Serhat's right-wing cross into his own net.
Bata again showed a great performance even though the whole defence didn't look as solid. Fanatik online magazine gave Fenerbahce players the following grades:
Rustu x, Mirkovic xx, Mert Meric xx, Ogun xx, Mustafa xx, Lazetic x, Abdullah x, Johnson xxx, Yusuf x, Revivo xx, Serhat xx
Fenerbahce now has an eight-point advantage over second-placed Galatasaray who are not playing this weekend.

Bata and his teammates today flew to Ankara and from there travelled to Yozgat by bus. The match against Yozgatspor will take place on Saturday at 14.00 Turkish time. The team had a short training before leaving Istanbul. They went to Yozgat two days before the match to get used to the cold weather there. They say snow is expected in Yozgat on Saturday.
Bata was slightly injured this week but reports say that didn't disturb his training programme too much. Bata will surely be playing on Saturday. Fans hope Fenerbahce will win and the advantage before Galatasaray (5 points) and Besiktas (8 points) will only get bigger.

February 2001

The Yugoslav Football federation (FSJ) announced the appointment of the new selector, Milovan Djoric, who is supposted to lead Yugoslav national team in qualification matches for World Cup 2002 and in World Cup 2002 itself, if the team gets through. Djoric is a former Red Star defender and had coached in many of Yugoslav League clubs (Sutjetska, Radnicki, Napredak, Pristina, Buducnost) but without great success. Djoric was sacked as Under-21 coach last year after Yugoslav side lost 3-0 to England in Barcelona, in a play-off for the European Championships. He has since been coaching in Shanghai, China. Djoric's only international experience came with El Salvador, whom he coached for two years before returning to his homeland to take over the Under-21s. While coaching Under-21 Yugoslav selection he had had a falling out with many of it's players (Sasa Ilic, Vlada Ivic, Mihailo Pjanovic, Ivan Vukomanovic...) who said they will never again play for Djoric. "I want to forget everything, Djoric said. "If they want to co-operate, I'm prepared to have a normal conversation. The success of the national team is more important of any singular conflict. I'll co-operate with everyone."
Djoric has a full support of FSJ officials but football fans in Yugoslavia are not happy about this appointment. They expected Tumbakovic or Muslin to be named selector. Some of Yugoslav national team players already gave their statements about the new selector but nobody was willing to say much, they were more diplomatic statements. Bata hasn't said anything so far.
Reports say Bata is slighlty injured and didn't train today. He did some running but coach Denizli told him to be very careful and to sit out today's training.

Fenerbahce won tonight's match against Besiktas 3-1 and this way seriously damaged Besiktas's chances of winning the title. Fenerbahce also didn't break the tradition of winning all the matches it plays at home, at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadion in front of their supporters.
Fener started attacking from the first minute but the first half developed into a tactical battle with Besiktas content to sit back, defend and try to hit on the break. Fenerbahce could not find a way through a crowded defence and Besiktas's attempts at counter-attacking play produced absolutely nothing in front of goal. The game's decisive moment came in first half injury time when Besiktas' Ahmet Dursun was booked for timewasting. Ahmet made the mistake of arguing the decision and a referee produced the red card immediately. With the opposition down to ten men, Revivo at last struck four minutes into the second half, appearing completely unmarked on the far post to turn in Ogun Temizkanoglu's cross from the right. Few minutes later Meric lost out in a tussle on the edge of the box with Yasin Sulun. Yasin ran on, rounded keeper Rustu Recber and slid the ball into an empty net for the equaliser. Serhat with a neat glancing header put Fenerbahce in the lead just nine minutes later. In the closing minutes when Besiktas threw men forward in a desperate attempt to level the score. They threw too many forward. Right on the final whistle, Yusuf Simsek took a long through ball and, with the Besiktas defence nowhere, waltzed past Ike Shorunmu to complete a deserved victory.
Bata showed a great performance but played only the first half of the match. In the 23rd minute he got a yellow card protesting referee's decision and he looked very angry throughout his stay on the field. As Besiktas was left with only ten players Denizli decided he could do without one of the defenders and didn't risk Bata getting a red card so he substituted him with Yusuf.
Even when not playing Bata seems to get fans' admiration. A lot of them wrote me how they enjoyed watching Bata when he was celebrating his teammates' goals.
Fenerbahce will stay the leading team in Turkish League standings no matter what Galatasaray does tomorrow (it looks like Galatasaray players refused to train today because the club owes them about 10 million DM). And Besiktas is now eight points behind.
You can discuss Fenerbahce performances and chances for winning the title on Bata's forum.
This is what Turkish sports critics had to say about Bata's performance.
Fotomac: Mirkovic was successful against Ahmet Dursun. Yellowcarded Mirkovic was substituted in the second half after Dursun got a red card.
Fanatik: Mirkovic stopped Ahmet Dursun. The coach took him out in the second half as a tactic.

Fenerbahce yesterday won the match against Jetpaspor and is now the leading team in Turkish League standings. Goals for Fenerbahce were scored by Revivo (15', 18') and Serhat (49', 75') who set the result at 4-0 and gave their team a great victory. Bata had to pause yesterday's match because of four yellow cards.
You can discuss Fenerbahce performances and chances for winning the title on Bata's forum.

Turkish journalists have realised Bata is not only a great football player but also a very beautiful man. Futbol Plus magazine has started a contest for the most beautiful player in Turkish League and they put Bata on the list of candidates. This is how the list looks like:
Elvir Balic (Fenerbahce), Mario Jardel (Galatasaray), Pascal Nouma (Besiktas), Ahmet Dursun (Besiktas), Tayfur Havutcu (Besiktas), Zoran Mirkovic (Fenerbahce), Oktay Derelioglu (Trazbonspor), Emre Belozoglu (Galatasaray), Umit Karan (Galatasaray), Erman Ozgur (Tranbzonspor), Mustafa Dogan (Fenerbahce), Serdar Topraktepe (Kocaelispor), Murat Sozkesen (Bursaspor), Fatih Tekke (Gaziantepspor), Taryk Datgun (Yozgatspor), Vedat Inceefe (Galatasaray) i Cenk Itler (Adanaspor).
It's hard to predict how much response this project will receive but since football is very popular among Turkish women also it is possible a lot of them will vote. No doubt they would get even more response if they could promise the luckiest of the voters a dinner with "the most beautiful player". You will be able to read about the results of this contest on Bata's site but some of don't need them to know who is the most beautiful, the most beautiful without any competition. But perhaps Turkish women will not agree...

For the last past weeks I have been posting everything Turkish sports critics have been saying about Bata. And since Bata's excellent perfomances continue and so do praises I decided not to repeat them all again and only post one statement that says it all: "Mirkovic is the unseen hero of the team. All his moves are first class."

Turkish newspapers today wrote Bata and his teammate Yusuf will be punished by the club for the yellow cards they were given in the match against Genclerbirligi. Mustafa Denizli thinks the cards were given to them because of irresponssible behaveour and by getting them they put the team in unpleasant position. For both players this was the fourth yellow card and will have to pause the next match. Bata and Yusuf will have to pay the club 2000$ each.

Fenerbahce won the match against Genclerbirligi 3-0. This way Fenerbahce is behind leaders Galatasaray only on goal difference (Galatasaray's goal difference is 28, Fenerbahce's 27) and moved five points ahead of third-placed Besiktas. Bata again showed an excellent performance. Fans report he looked very angry in the first half because of the referee's unfair decisions. He was given a yellow card for no good reason and because this is his fourth yellow card in the Turkish League matches he will have to pause one match. Bata will miss the match against Jetpaspor, the last team in Turkish League standings. Bata today peformed slightly injured and didn't train yesterday. Turkish media was already speculating he will not play at all but he showed, injured or not, he is a great player.
Fener coach Mustafa Denizli has been expressing concern that his players may not be able to come back to earth after Wednesday's stunning cup victory over Galatasaray. But as the result shows the players were very much "on earth". Goals for Fenerbahce were scored by Johnson, Ogun and Revivo. If the rival was not successful at taking points from Fenerbahce the referee made sure some of the players will be (like Bata) banned from playing the next match. He gave eight yellow cards and one red card. The red card was given to Genclerbirligi player in the 70th minute.
Mustafa Denizli continues to believe that his team have easier fixtures than Galatasaray over the remainder of the season and that they can turn this advantage into the title.

Journalists from the Serbian daily newspaper Blic yesterday asked Bata who is his choice for the Yugoslav national team selector. Here is Bata's statement:
Ljubisa Tumbakovic 100%. I am lucky and honored he was my coach for three years when I played for Partizan. Without him I would never be a player I am now. His qualities as a coach are known to everybody. He is an excellent psychologist and pedagogue. He sees through a player like a X-ray. He treats all players the same way, no matter if the times are good or the times are bad. No matter if they are young and inexperienced or have a successful career behind them. This is Tumbakovic.
Previous selector Ilija Petkovic quit when the team returned from India and will leave for a new work place in China. Yugoslav national team has been without a selector for the last two weeks and won't have one atleast until 17/02/01. On that day Yugoslav football federation (FSJ) will select new leadership that later will name a new selector. Hopefully that will happen soon because two qualification matches will take place late March.

Fenerbahce-Galatasaray derby ended with penalty shootout and glorious Fenerbahce victory that was more than deserved. Bata and his teammates showed an excellent performance and opened themselves the door to the Turkey Cup final. They will meet either Besiktas or Genclerbirligi in the final.
Galatasaray opened a high speed attack on Rustu's goal. In 6th minute Galatasaray worked a rapid three-man passing move down the left which ended with Okan Buruk slipping the ball to Emre Belozoglu just inside the box. Emre came off his marker and slid in a left foot shot beyond Rustu's reach. 0-1
In 22nd minute Revivo broke down the left. With the Galatasaray defence suddenly absent without leave, Fener captain Ogun Temizkanoglu raced in to finish Revivo's cross with a bullet header. 1-1
Seven minutes later the Canaries were in front. Revivo directed another cross towards the far post and Serhat Akin bundled the ball home. 2-1
Nine minutes from half time, Revivo swung over a free kick from the left which Samuel Johnson headed in to make the score 3-1.
In 53rd minute Hasan drove into the box, his acceleration leaving three defenders trailing in his wake, looked up to check Rustu's position and then steered a precision shot just inside the post. Galatasaray then looked like taking control. 3-2
On 66 minutes Serhat repaid some of his debt to Revivo. The youngster broke fast down the right and turned the ball inside for the Israeli international to score Fener's fourth. Galatasaray refused to give up. 4-2
Six minutes from the end, in 84th minute Mario Jardel, largely anonymous up to that point, picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and slammed in a wicked, swinging first time shot which left Rustu helpless. 4-3
In 93rd of the match Galatasary was awarded a penalty and Umit sent the ball inside Rustu's net. 4-4 result meant extra-time had to be played.
With the players tiring and unwilling to take risks, the extra-time period produced little except clearcut penalty when Galatasaray keeper Claudio Taffarel bowled over Ali Gunes after the ball had gone. But Nikola Lazetic put the spot kick wide. So the drama of the penalty shootout began.

Emre scores. Galatasaraj leads 1-0.
Ogun also scores. 1-1.
Hasan Sas's penalty is saved by Rustu. 1-1.
Rapaic scores and Fenerbahce leads 2-1.
Rustu saves Umit's penalty. 2-1 for Fenerbahce.
Taffarel saves Johnson's penalty. 2-1 for Fenerbahce.
Arif evens on 2-2.
Lazetic scores for 3-2 for Fenerbahce.
Jardel misses and the celebrations were ready to begin. Fenerbahce won 340th Fenerbahce-Galatasaray debry.

Turkish sport journalists and critics have been very generous to Bata after this weekend's match against Istanbulspor that Fenerbahce won 2-1. This are some of their statements:
"The superstar (they were talking about Bata) did his duty and won almost all the one-on-ones he got into last night."
"He (they were talking about Bata) risked the red card and brought Bushi down... This might have affected the game's result."
"Mirkovic carried the whole defense by himself."

All Fenerbahce players, Bata included, have been quarantined in Samandira training camp after Sunday's match because tomorrow is a very important match. Derby against Galatasaray. Any match between Fener and Galatasaray is taken very seriously, indeed, and interest in this one is massive in every corner of the nation. Adding spice to the occasion is the sudden death system in operation. Lose a league game, and there is still a chance of recovering the points later. In the cup, it's a case of one strike and you're out. So its winner take all at Sukru Saracoglu on Wednesday. The tactics here are interesting. Galatasaray manager Mircea Lucescu will send his men forward. That is the Galatasaray style. Whatever the circumstances, they attack.
Whether Lucescu's counterpart Mustafa Denizli will respond in kind is another matter. In the big games, Denizli has a habit of concentrating on a defence-first policy, trying to frustrate the opposition early and stepping up the pressure later. With goals needed, there will by much attention on the strikers. Galatasaray's prolific Mario Jardel looked completely out of sorts in Erzurum on Saturday, though an uneven pitch which was part-boggy and part-frozen hardly suited him. Whatever else he is, Jardel is a big match player and will be looking to prove it once again. On the opposite side, there is a question mark over Fener's Elvir Balic. Balic started last week's quarterfinal against Ankaragucu but was taken off early in the second half, looking far from full fitness. In Ankara, his replacement was 19-year-old Serhat Akin who scored two goals and evidently enjoyed the experience so much that he went on to score two more against Istanbulspor. Serhat is not only a Fener player but a lifelong supporter of the Yellow Canaries and nothing would please him more than to repeat the dose against Galatasaray. In the pressure cooker atmosphere of Istanbul derby games, victory is often secured by the team which makes fewer mistakes. Both defences have proved blunder-prone this season and the role of the goalkeepers, Fener's Rustu Recber and Galatasaray's Claudio Taffarel, may be critical.

The only other meeting between these two this season was a league game at Galatasaray's Ali Sami Yen Stadium. Galatasaray dominated but could not find the back of the net and the match finished goalless. No goalless outcome is possible on Wednesday.
Fenerbahce stadium will tomorrow (Wednesday) at 20.30 Turkish Time or 19.30 Central European Time be full and across the nation, millions more will be glued to their TV sets following the latest developments.

The first Fenerbahce League match in the spring part of the season ended with 2-1 victory over Istanbulspor. Bata showed an excellent performance. He was very reliable in defence, he saved a what would have been a certain goal (it was obvious goalkeeper Rustu would have never caught the ball), had some good tackles and almost scored from a free kick. This was a great chance for Bata to put his name on the scorers list but unfortunately his kick didn't have enough power in it. Fenerbahce fans liked Bata's performance very much and a lot of them were singing his name during the match.
The only bad thing that happened to Bata tonight was a yellow card. This is his third since he came to Turkey and if he gets the fourth he will have to pause one match. The first goal in this very exciting match was scored by Istanbulspor's Bushi in 33rd minute. Serhat, Fenerbahce hero from the Turkish Cup match against Ankaragucu, was tonight again the man who won the match for his team. He scored twice, in 49th and 55th minute. Nothing changed on the top of Turkish League standings since all three leading teams won this round's matches. Fenerbahce is second behind Galatasaray who has the same number of points but better goal difference. Besiktas is third with two points less. On Wednesday Fenerbahce will play semi finals of Turkish Cup against Galatasaray.

After a month long winter break Fenerbahce fans could again enjoy their beloved team's performance. But their enjoyment was some 30 minutes longer as they suspected. After 90 minutes the result was 1-1. Ankaragucu's goal was scored by Faruk in 43' and Fenerbahce's by Serhat in 65'. When the match went into extra-time Fenerbahce players gave everything into attack and that paid off. Serhat was successful again in 118' and in the last minute of the match Ali Gunes scored to make it 3-1. Coach Denizli can be satisfied with his team's performance in the second half and in the extra-time but not with how the match started. He can take pride in his substitution decisions. The three players that did not start the match actually won it for Fenerbahce. Serhat with two goals, Ali Gunes with the goal in the last minute and Yusuf who assisted Ali Gunes with the goal. Fans say Bata played very well and made no mistakes in his defensive duties but should participate a little more in attack.
With this 3-1 victory Fenerbahce has qualified for the semi finals of Turkish Cup. Other 1/4 finals matches were played yesterday and results were:
Besiktas 3 - 0 Istanbulspor
Galatasaray 4 - 1 Trabzonspor
Genclerbirligi 4 - 2 Kocaelispor

January 2001

Bata together with his teammates joined the presentation of a new credit card yesterday (on the picture). The credit card was issued by the club and will have the club's name.
This morning the Fenerbahce team left for Ankara where the 1/4 finals match of the Turkish Cup will take place on Thursday. Fenerbahce will have to beat Ankaragucu in order to qualify for the 1/2 finals. Other pairs of the 1/4 finals are:
League fixtures will continue this weekend. Fenerbahce will play it's first match on Sunday against Istanbulspor.

The Turkish football federation on Monday cancelled next weekend's League fixtures as the row over live TV coverage of games threatened to wreck the season. This situation was brought about when the federation unilaterally cancelled Tele On's broadcasting contract for non-payment of instalments. There is a real danger that the position will not be resolved in time for the League to resume on the first weekend in February.
Bata and his Fenerbahce teammates were given a day off yesterday. In order for the players to relax a little coach Denizli and coaching stuff have prepaired a picnic for them. The food, I am told, was great. And players entertained themselves by playing paint ball dressed in the army uniforms. They were devided in two groups, one led by goalkeeper Rustu and the other by attacker Balic. Bata was in the Balic's group. The game ended with a 1-1 result. Unfortunately I was not able to find a picture of Bata in army uniform but you can download and view a video clip of Bata and his teammates playing paint ball (file size 1015Kb, the file is linked from Turkish newspapers yesterday reported coach Denizli is angry at Bata because he thinks Bata is trying to avoid trainings. Because Bata's medial tests have proven he is healthy Denizli will no longer be listening to his excuses, say the reporters. Bata has been training with the rest of the team for the past two days.

Turkish newspapers today report Bata together with Milan Rapaic (on the picture bellow) had a medical examination and both the players were told they are health enough to play. Bata trained with Cecil, Balic and physioterapist on the beach near the hotel yesterday (on the picture left). As the date of the beggining of league matches gets closer and closer trainings are more intense. In order for the players to relax a little coach Denizli and coaching stuff will prepair a picnic for the players. The picnic will take place tomorrow on the hotel beach.

Fenerbahce yesterday played the last friendly match of this preparation period. Without it's biggest stars the team came out with one draw and two victories.

Fenerbahce 4 - 2 Bielefeld
Fenerbahce 4 - 2 Kocaelispor
Fenerbahce 0 - 0 Pogon

Turkish media still hasn't stopped reporting story about Bata's possible transfer to Newcastle. One of the television stations even said Bata made an official statement to Fenerbahce board about his departure. Bata doesn't know anything about this statement journalists say he has made and also doesn't know anything about him talking to coach Denizli about leaving Fenerbahce. It looks like Newcastle really is interested in his services but everything else is just journalists imagination. The same journalists have also been writing about offers Milan Rapaic and Haim Revivo have been getting. They also are big stars and very important to the team.

Turkish sports newspapers report Newscastle United wants Bata to defend their colours in the next season. Journalists also wrote Bata has a desire to play in Premier league but Fenerbahce wouldn't let him go. Judging by those journalists Bata talked with coach Denizli and Denizli told him what goals the team has and how he would not want Bata to be preoccupied with other thoughts. Newspapers also say Bata is one of Denizli's favourite players and he would not want to lose him. I talked to Nikola Lazetic, Bata's teammate, and he assured me he knew nothing about Bata leaving Fenerbahce. Newcastle United official website also has not written about this possible transfer. Turkish newspapers, when asked about their source of this information, said they heard it on television.

Bata and his teammates left Istanbul yesterday about noon. Turkish newspapers report they didn't have a pleasant flight and the plane experienced turbulence. There was some panic but luckily the plane landed safely. Players will spend the next ten days in Sol Belviv hotel on Belek beach, set in attractive surroundings dominated by pine trees. (see the picture)
Turkish newspapers say hotel is decorated in blue and yellow colours, so Fenerbahce colours, and players enjoy that very much. But Bata and his teammates won't have a lot of time to enjoy this luxury because they have to train hard in order to be in top form when the league matches start. Coach Denizli has even limited the number of journalists that came with the team and told his players not to talk to them. Doctor Ismail Batoz, psychotherapist Ali Kuz and masseurs Kamuran Bozan and Yilmaz Mete came to Antalya to serve the players not to mention Fenerbahce's cook who will prepair special meals for the players.
Bata will be undergoing teraphy all eleven days of the training camp and will train as much as the pain in his left knee will allow. Today he joined his teammates who were running in the pine forrest next to the hotel. Players who thought they'd escape from cold and rainy weather which started the previous day in Istanbul were disappointed after seeing bad weather in Antalya. Fenerbahce rivals for the title, Galatasaray and Besiktas, are also spending the preparation period in Antalya. They will compete in the Antalya Cup tournament that started today. Fenerbahce on the other hand has three friendly matches ahead of them, the first one (against Kocaelispor) will take place tomorrow.

Bata has not been training for several days because of a knee injury. He will most likely not be training until Sunday when the team leaves for Antalya. He is not the only injured player in the team. Andersson, Cecil, Rustu and Rapaic are not training also and coach Denizli is very worried. League matches start in two weeks and he doesn't know if he can count on few of his key players.

Bata strongly denied rumours about him going to Italy to look for a new club. He said he went to Italy to attend to some personal bussiness and he got the permission of coach Denizli to do so. He also said he is a Fenerbahce player and is happy in Istanbul. He has no intention of leaving Fenerbahce until his contract ends.
Yesterday all Fenerbahce players were given a day off but Bata went to train anyway. He trained on his own saying he missed three days of trainings and wants to catch up. Fenerbahce players will train in Istanbul till 14/01 then they will leave for Antalya where they will spend eleven days. Aside from trainings friendly matches have been scheduled to test players performances. Fener will play agains Pogon on 13/01 (the match will be in Istanbul), against Kocaelispor on 16/01 and against Werder Bremen on 19/01.

Administration of Fenerbahce is known for changing foreign players every season but says it is not planning to do so this year. Coaching staff as well as the administration is pleased with Johnson, Rapaic, Andersson, Revivo, Lazetic and Bata. Administration wants to go on with these players next year also, unless there is a major change.

Bata got coach Denizli's permission not to attend trainings until Friday because he has some personal bussiness to attend to.

December 2000

Bata will not be going to India with Yugoslav national team even though he was called by selector Petkovic. He will return to Istanbul on 02/01/01.

Bata yesterday gave an interview for Glas javnosti.
He talked about his life in Istanbul, about Fenerbahce's chances for winning the title and about his status in the team. He thinks Galatasaray is the favourite to win the title but Fenerbahce also has good chances. He is very satisfied with his team's performace at home but not with what they show in away games. He is satisfied with his own performance but says it would be much easier for him if he didn't have to change the position so much.
Bata was praised by the journalist for his kindness to always appear at humanitarian and other tournaments he is invited to. Something other international players rarely do.

Fenerbahce captain Ogun talked to journalists yesterday and commented on team's performance in the first part of the season. When asked who the best players in the team were he said:
Our giant forward Andersson, our playmaker Rapaic, defence's backbone Zoran Mirkovic and keeper of blue-yellow goal Rustu.
Bata yesterday played a little football tournament in Ruma, a small town near Novi Sad. The tournament takes place every year and the organisers (SOS KANAL television) invites the best football players to join. Today it was announced Bata was named the best player of the tournament.

All Fenerbahce players were warned not to return to Istanbul too late and miss the beggining of trainings. The club is very worried about Bata's and Nikola Lazetic's situation as they were called to the Yugoslav national team. Selector Petkovic wants them to play the tournament in India and that would mean they would be back in Istanbul on 25/01/01 and miss the preparations for the spring part of the season. Bata and Nikola say they indeed have been called to the Yugoslav national team and are waiting if the club lets them travel to India.
In the Serbian newspaper Politika Ekspres all Yugoslav players were asked to vote for their best player of Yugoslav origin, in the year 2000 of course. Bata gave his vote for Darko Kovacevic, his ex teammate from Juventus. He explained his vote by saying: Darko played very good this season even though coach Ancelotti rarely put him in the starting eleven. If he did Darko would score.
Bata is currently in Milano, Italy, doing some shopping and should come to Belgrade tomorrow. He will spend holidays in Belgrade.

Rain, snow and a lot of goals would be the simplest way to describe tonights match. Fenerbahce showed the best performance this season and beat Kocaelispor with 4-0. Goals were scored by Rapaic, Abdullah, Yusuf and Serhat. Bata played an excellent match. Fans gave him a pure 10.
Bata will tomorrow be leaving for Milano where he will do some shopping and then for Belgrade where he will spend the holidays. He must return to Istanbul on 04/01/01 when the trainings for the spring part of the season begin. There were reports in the Serbian media about how Bata together with Nikola Lazetic was called by Yugoslav national team selector Petkovic to play a tournament in India and that would mean Bata can't return to Turkey till the end of January.
Take a look at pictures of Bata from the match made out of a video clip.

Tonight Fenerbahce played a macth against Samsunspor and won with 2-1. This match won't be remembered by good performance from both rivals but rather after two controversial penatly decisions. That's what journalists say, Fener fans probably would not agree. Both goals for Fenerbahce were scored by Lazetic, both after penatly was awarded. In the final minutes of the match Bata was fauled and when he fell on the floor he hit his hand real bad. He obviously was in great pain but reports say his injury is not serious. Players will now wait for the Galatasaray and Besiktas matches to be over to see if those three points from tonight's match will mean a higher place in the Turkish league standings.

Today pairs for the 1/4 finals of Turkish Cup were announced.
Matches will be played on 31/01/01.

Tonight Fenerbahce was playing against Bursaspor and gained one point but lost two very important points as the match ended with 2-2 result. Coach Denizli's fears became a reality. Without Bata Fenerbahce's defence showed a very poor performance. The match started very good for Fenerbahce. Andersson scored in the first minute after he was assisted by Lazetic. The second Fenerbahce goal was also scored by Andersson in the beggining of the second half. But as the match was ending Fenerbahce performance was less effective and Bursaspor scored for the first time. Fenerbahce missed some good chances and was punished with the second goal in the 90th minute of the match. Bursaspor will be Fenerbahce's rival again in three days. Turkish Cup match will also be played in Bursa.
Bata tonight didn't get a chance to celebrate his team's victory but he surely was happy to hear his former team Partizan won 4-0 against Radnicki from Nis and ended the winter part of the season as a champion.

Bata joined his team mates on the trip to Bursa even though he will not be playing tomorrow. The team will spend five days in Bursa because Bursaspor will be their rival twice, tomorrow in the Turkish league match and on Tuesday in Turskih Cup match. This week Fenerbahce coach Mustafa Denizli talked about Bata's injury and said: Mirkovic's injury is a big problem for the team and without him I can't realize my ideas. Turkish newspapers also report Bata caught a flu. But with all this problems there is a chance Bata will play on Tuesday.
Tomorrow's match against Bursaspor will start at 19.00 Turskish time or 18.00 CET.

Bata had to watch tonight's match in the stands because of his injury that will also prevent him from playing next week. Fenerbahce were supposed to bury Erzurum without trace and for the first 25 minutes it looked as though they might do just that. However, Fener received the first indication that they might not have things all their own way when Sasa Kovacevic fired home on 27 minutes only to see the goal ruled out because he was adjudged to have fouled Mustafa Dogan. Three minutes later the unthinkable happened and Erzurum took a shock lead. Yet, Erzurum showed their lack of experience by conceding an almost identical goal seconds later. Straight from the restart, Fener won a free kick of their own down the right. Milan Rapajic chipped the ball into the area and this time it was Samuel Johnson who rose unchallenged to bury the ball in the back of the net. In first half injury time, Kennet Andersson, with his back to goal, laid off a long through ball to Rapajic. He held off two defenders and placed a precise shot just inside the far post to put the Canaries ahead. With Fener 3-1 up, everything seemed to be going to form. The luckless Uche swung a boot at a Kovacevic cross 15 minutes from the end and succeeded only in deflecting the ball into his own net. Against depleted opposition, Fener rampaged forward looking to increase their lead, but did not manage to do so until a minute from time. Uche made amends for his earlier blunder, taking a pass from Serhat Akin down the left and bulldozing his way into the area to shoot under Korac's despairing dive.Fenerbahce is still holding third place in Turkish league table but has moved closer to the leader Besiktas.

November 2000

Fenerbahce tonight played a Turkish Cup match against Siirt Jetpa and won 7-3. Goals for Fenerbahce were scored by Johnson, Balic, Serhat (two), Lazetic (penalty), Revivo and Adem. Siirt Jetpa was on the way to total humiliation but then Fenerbahce's coach Denizli substituted his first goalkeeper with a third one and gave the opposition a chance to also score. In the beggining of the match Bata got injured and had to be substituted. First reports say the injury is not a serious one.

I have just learned from Bata his injury indeed is not serious but he won't be playing for two weeks.
Take a look at pictures of Bata being taken out of the field after he was injured.

There have been a lot of articles written about the Galatasaray - Fenerbahce derby in Turkish media. Not only articles about the match but also about players performances and their thoughts. This two were written about Bata.

Mirkovic confused!
Mirkovic had to play the right back position in the match against Galatasaray because of the change in defensive line up. He said he is very confused about criticism he was unsuccessfull on that position.Mirkovic said he did what Denizli told him to do and added : "I played at right back position for years in Juventus. Nobody has ever said I was unsuccessfull".

Lazetic and Mirkovic said they had seen some offensive posters about them in the stands and added: "Events in our country upset us also but we came here to play football and not talk politics."

Tonight's match between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce was billed as the most important match of the season in Turkey. Fans from both sides were getting ready to provoke the opponent. Fenerbahce fans said they will make huge posters out of nude pictures of Jardel's wife taken out of old Playboys. That made Galatasaray fans decide they will find naked pictures of Nikola Lazetic's girlfriend and make huge posters out of them. If fans were very nervous players were even more nervous. And the most nervous was Bata. He fauled Hasan Sas and took the ball. When Emre came to take the ball back Bata would not let the ball go and hit Emre directly in the face. He was yellow carded and won't be allowed to play in the next match because of the second yellow card. But to be completely honest Bata was lucky not to get redcarded for this offence.
Other players were nervous aswell. There were not a lot of chances on both sides. But there were a lot of yellow cards given by the referee. Galatasaray had more chances than Fenerbahce, but those of Fenerbahce were far more dangerous. And since none of the teams dominated in the match 0-0 result seems to be fair result. This result is not bad as far as Fenerbahce is concerned as they can expect they will beat Galatasaray in their home stadium.
Fenerbahce is still holding the third place in Turkish league standings. Galatasaray is in the second place with the same number of points but with a better goal difference. Besiktas is first and five points ahead.

Turkish football fans are awaiting this Sunday's derby match between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce. Much more than points and place on the league table is at stake. Victory over city's rival is a question of pride. And as Fenerbahce players are training hard to be ready for the derby, Galatasaray travelled to Italy and played a Championship League match against Milan that ended with 2-2 draw.
This are possible line ups for Sunday's match. Fenerbahce: Rustu, Mustafa Dogan, Mert Meric, Mirkovic, Johnson, Lazetic, Ogun, Abdullah, Rapaic, Balic, Andersson and Galatasaray: Kerem, Capone, Vedat, Fatih, Emre Asik, Suat, Emre, Okan, Ergun, Hagi, Jardel. Both rivals currently have 28 points with Galatasaray on second and Fenerbahce on third place because of better goal difference.
Bata has, after almost five months spent in a hotel, on Monday finally moved to a house. Also his mom came to visit him so no doubt this days he is eating mom's cooking, his favourite. He also is very tired as he has to attend two trainings a day.

Fenerbahce went into Sunday's match against Trabzonspor needing to win by two clear goals to move into third place ahead of Gaziantepspor on goal difference, and obliged by thrashing a depleted Black Sea Storm.
Istanbul's Sukru Saracoglu Stadium has seen some close battles between these two old rivals over the years, but when Kennet Andersson met Elvir Balic's free kick from the left on six minutes to head the Canaries into the lead, it was already apparent that this was not going to be one of them.
Trabzon had defenders Osman Ozkoylu and Macit Guven suspended and Sergen Yalcin finally succumbed to the inevitable 24 hours before the match, agreeing to have his long-delayed knee operation on Monday.
With half a defence and missing their only genuinely creative midfielder, the Storm were always going to struggle.
On 18 minutes the struggle became an impossible one when Balic again crossed from the left, this time from open play, and Andersson's flick brought him his second goal.
The Canaries were in full flight and Andersson twice came close to his hat-trick before they made it three eight minutes from the break.
Again a cross from the left did the damage, but this time the centre came from Milan Rapajic and Balic was the man who rose above a static defence to head home.
Fener opened the second half as though hellbent on double figures, throwing caution to the winds and pouring men into the attack.
That kind of approach can have its price, as Trabzonspor proved on 59 minutes. Zafer Demiray played a long ball into space behind an overstretched defence and substitute Rune Lange ran through to reduce the arrears.
Trabzon's thoughts of a revival ended there. Fener kept up their relentless pressure and Balic latched on to a loose ball in the box to increase the lead again on 73 minutes.
Five minutes later keeper Petar Milosevski was adjudged to have fouled Rapajic as the two of them rose for a high ball and Nikola Lazetic stroked the ball home from the resulting penalty.
The penalty decision appeared harsh but there is no doubt that on the play Fenerbahce's fifth goal was deserved.
Even though defeat was inevitable, the Storm refused to give up and gained some consolation when Lange rose to head in a Hami Mandirali cross six minutes from time.
Lange was at the centre of a bitter war of words in midweek between Trabzonspor manager Giray Bulak and chairman Mehmet Ali Yilmaz. Bulak wants Lange sold to make room for a better foreign player, Yilmaz insists the expensive Norwegian is staying.
Whether two goals here will make any difference to Lange's future is not known, but they made no difference to a result which leaves Trabzon 7 points off the pace and with a mighty big hill to climb if they are to revive their flagging title challenge.
"I'm very happy with my players," Fenerbahce manager Mustafa Denizli said afterwards. "The final match of the weekend was a very enoyable one, but we must analyse the mistakes we made carefully and not repeat them in future matches."
Fenerbahce: Rustu, Mirkovic, Mert Meric, Mustafa Dogan, Ogun (Lazetic 68), Yusuf, Johnson, Rapajic, Abdullah, Balic (Revivo 76), Andersson (Serhat 68)
Trabzonspor: Milosevski, Gokdeniz, Nikolovski, Gungor, Ramazan (Abdulkadir 51), Tamer, Erhan, Yanchev, Erman (Lange 50), Zafer, Murat (Hami 50)
Booked: Zafer (Trabzonspor)

Midfielder Denis Serban of Spanish second division Elche gave Romania the lead in the third minute with a powerful right-foot shot in the far corner from the edge of the area. Dennis Serban collected the ball 25-yards out on the left and ran at the Yugoslavia defence before releasing a shot from the edge of the area past a startled Aleksandar Kocic in the Yugoslavia goal. Yugoslavia almost drew level shortly afterwards as Savo Milosevic ran in on goal, but Romania goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont was quickly off his line to avert the danger. His clearance, however, was fired directly at Iencsi and the goalkeeper was grateful to see the rebound bounce just wide of his goal.
That was the most dangerous moment of the half for Romania despite Yugoslavia holding the majority of the possession. Romania came close to doubling their advantage on 33 minutes when Arges midfielder Paul Codrea, promoted from the youth ranks, shot wide from the edge of the area after an excellent run on goal. The second half was disrupted by numerous substitutions, but the small crowd of 5,000 were treated to an attractive display of attacking football by the home side. Yugoslavia, also looked more effective after a change of personal after the break with Obradovic, Bunjevcevic, Ilic and Lazetic, alongside debutants Cirkovic, Duljaj and Drulic all suggesting that Yugoslavia too have an exciting new generation of players coming through. Lazio forward Sinisa Mihajlovic equalised for Yugoslavia with a 25-metre free-kick however with one minute remaining Barcauan stepped up to restore Romania's lead and earn his side a much deserved victory.

Gaziantepspor knocked Fenerbahce off the top of the Turkish league on Friday night when the Istanbul side failed to win at the Kamil Ocak stadium for the seventh successive season. First-half headers from Ramazan Tunc and Mert Korkmaz gave the home side all three points, as a Serkan consolation five minutes from time was all Fener could muster in reply. With Besiktas only two points behind and playing on Sunday, the lead could be shortlived, but Gaziantep were left savouring a little taste of glory. There was little indication of what was to come as Fener opened brightly and dominated the early exchanges.
But on 20 minutes, against the run of play, captain Ramazan rose to nod in Erhan Albayrak's cross. Instead of staying calm, the Yellow Canaries threw everything into attack looking for the equaliser and paid the penalty four minutes later. A break from defence set Fatih Tekke loose down the left and Mert ghosted in unmarked to head home Tekke's cross on the near post. Fener started the second-half with Serhat Akin on for Yusuf Simsek and Haim Revivo replacing Abdullah Ercan. The substitutions brought greater urgency to the attack, with Serhat and Zoran Mirkovic both going close, but Omer Catkic was in inspired form in the home goal. Gaziantepspor wasted a chance to go three up 12 minutes from time when Erhan went on a solo run but scuffed his shot with only goalkeeper Rustu Recber to beat.
Fener were then back in on 85 when Serhat latched on to a mis-hit Ramazan clearance to fire in a cross shot, but Gaziantepspor pulled men back and concentrated successfully on frustrating the visitors. The bruised Canaries now have to face Trabzonspor at home and Galatasaray away – two games they need to take points from to keep their title challenge on track.

Yugoslav national team selector Ilija Petkovic today named the squad for the international friendly with Romania.
Goalkeepers: Aleksander Kocic (Red Star Belgrade), Zarko Lucic (Buducnost)
Defenders: Zoran Mirkovic (Fenerbahce), Sinisa Mihajlovic (Lazio), Nenad Sakic (Sampdoria), Goran Bunjevcevic (Red Star Belgrade), Dejan Stefanovic (Vitesse Arnhem), Milivoje Cirkovic (Partizan Belgrade), Milan Obradovic (Obilic)
Midfielders: Dejan Stankovic (Lazio), Nikola Lazetic (Fenerbahce), Ljubinko Drulovic (Porto), Sasa Ilic (Partizan Belgrade), Pedrag Djorovic (Olympiakos), Igor Duljaj (Partizan Belgrade)
Strikers: Savo Milosevic (Parma), Predrag Mijatovic (Fiorentina), Mateja Kezman (PSV Eindhoven), Goran Drulic (Red Star Belgrade)

Fenerbahce needed to win by three clear goals against Ankaragucu to take over at the top of the table from overnight leaders Besiktas and they did it in style, thrilling the home crowd with a 5-1 win at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium on Sunday.
Fener's aggressive intentions were apparent right from the start, with Elvir Balic forcing Ankaragucu goalkeeper Roberto da Silva into desperate saves twice in the first ten minutes. But da Silva was left helpless on 13 minutes when Hakan Kutlu brought down Milan Rapajic and Kennet Andersson slammed home the resulting spot kick. There followed a curious incident in which Ankaragucu substitute Niyazi Guney was sent off without ever coming on. Linesman Turgay Gudu drew attention to some verbal violence on the bench and ref Mutlu Celik produced the red card. The goal of the match put the Canaries two up on 37 minutes. A brilliant four-man passing move sent Andersson through almost to the byline. Instead of shooting himself, Andersson pulled the ball back, leaving the unmarked Balic with a simple tap-in. Fener were still hungry. With the Ankaragucu defence all at sea, Rapajic crossed from the left in the dying seconds of the first half. Defender Mert Meric received the ball on the edge of the box and had time to look up and pick his spot before firing in the third. Outclassed Ankaragucu continued to struggle bravely and could have reduced the deficit five minutes into the second half when Ohene Kennedy headed Yilmaz Ozlem's free kick just over. On 63 minutes, Ogun Temizkanoglu hit the Ankaragucu crossbar and narrowly failed to connect with the rebound. The fourth Fener goal four minutes later was almost a re-run. This time Rapajic's shot came back from the bar but Samuel Johnson, playing his first game of the season, was on hand to clean up.
Fenerbahce fans are overwhelmed with joy. After few bad seasons when they had to watch their (hated) rivals on the top they finally have the team who can make it to the top.
Bata, of course, was not a star in yesterday's match. Andersson, Balic, Mert Meric, Johnson and Revivo were in the center of attention as they presented fans with a beautiful goal parade. While in the shadow Bata had a great game also, making no mistakes.

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