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FOOTBALL >Sergen Yalçın surprises again as Beşiktaş loses advantage

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Sergen Yalçın, a former legendary Turkish attacking midfielder known for his careless behavior and stunning skills, has already proven to be a giant killer as coach after adding yet another important result against a big Istanbul side in his young stint as coach of Kayserispor.

Yalçın’s charges, who were mired in the relegation zone when he took over at the beginning of January, drew 2-2 against league leaders Beşiktaş on March 12 to make it seven without a loss put the Central Anatolians seven points above the drop zone.

Kayersispor was only denied a third victory over an Istanbul giant – following recent successes against Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe – when Beşiktaş’s Cameroonian striker Vincent Aboubakar scored a last-minute equalizer to leave honors even.

“I do not have big dreams as coach,” Yalçın said after the game, in keeping with the nonchalance he displayed as a player.

“It makes sense for me to face the facts. I do not know how my future will shape up. I did not make plans,” he said, when asked about his projections. 

When he took the helm during the winter break, his side was below the relegation line with only 12 points from his first 16 games. He also made a very bad start, bowing 5-0 to Medipol Başakşehir in his first game as new coach after 10 new signings failed to impress. Since that reverse, Kayseri has amassed 15 of a possible 21 points, all without losing a match.

“I took on a very difficult task. We started in a negative position. By working hard, we turned this into a positive one,” Yalçın said on March 13.

Following a draw in Yalçın’s second game, Kayserispor subsequently beat Fenerbahçe 4-1 at home, Galatasaray 2-1 away and Bursaspor, one of the five Turkish teams that have clinched a title, 2-0 at home. 

Beşiktaş, meanwhile, also let Medipol Başakşehir, which beat Konyaspor 3-0 earlier in the day, close to within two points at the top of the table.

“The strongest team we have played so far has been Beşiktaş. It is rich in terms of attacking. We tried to respond the same way. We played with five attacking players,” Yalçın said. 

Yalçın played for Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, but Beşiktaş, where he clinched three league titles, has always been his home. 

Besides his free kicks, breathtaking dribbling talent and out-of-nowhere passes, fans will always remember him scoring twice against Chelsea in a Champions League group stage game in London in 2003. 

Five years later, reports emerged that he had been appointed as assistant coach to Beşiktaş, but the move was rejected by the Turkish Football Federation, as he did not have a coaching license.

He later took the reins at Gaziantepspor and Sivasspor for short periods, but he still does not possess a full license to coach a Super League team. Yalçın duly showed some irritation after a veteran reporter called him “the technical director responsible for Kayserispor,” instead of the club’s coach, in a post-game interview. 

Elaborating on why he never became a European star, Yalçın once said Bayern Munich was interested in him. 

“But then they looked into my life outside the pitch, and they withdrew,” he said mockingly.
 
Even if he refuses to make big plans, success may carry him to stardom once again – this time as a coach. At least millions of fans hope so.

March/13/2017

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