CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Monday, May 23, 2011
Jozy Altidore and Bursaspor clinched a Europa Leauge birth with a 1-0 win over Gençlerbirliği while Freddy Adu and Rizespor dropped the first leg of their promotional playoffs 4-0 to Orduspor
Bursaspor 10 Gençlerbirliği
Bursa got the win they needed to clinch third place in the Süper Lig standings and a third-round berth in Europa League qualifying next season. Volkan Şen provided the difference for the Green Crocs with an individual effort just after a half-hour of play.
Jozy Altidore saw 68 minutes of action up top as a starter in the empty Atatürk stadium in Eskişehir, the neutral venue chosen after fan violence resulted in a ban for Bursa.
Bursa kept the weaker eleven on their toes for much of the evening, and finally broke through after Volkan Şen somehow maneuvered his way across the top of the box to score in the 32nd minute. First evading defender Burak Özsaraç with a nifty backheel, the 23-year old turned and drilled a shot through leaving keeper Ramazan Köse with no chance.
Altidore was relieved for the final time this season in the 68th minute for Pablo Batella.
Having neutralized the Gençlerbirliği attack, Bursa nearly added another in the 79th minute when Şen crossed from the right flank for Ivan Ergić, requiring a quick pair of knuckles from Köse for a clearance.
With Ganziantep's 1-1 draw, Bursa finished the season in third place in the Süper Lig standings and will learn their third-round Europa League foe on July 15, for matches to be played July 28 and Aug 4.
Orduspor 40 Çaykur Rizespor
Ordu stormed out to a 4-0 lead by halftime and never looked back, plowing a hill to climb for Rize when the two clash again on Thursday for the return leg of the promotion play-off.
Freshly appointed US National Team revenant Freddy Adu recorded 65 minutes of action as a starter and witnessed the out-pouring of goals that will be nearly impossible to overcome for a squad that hasn't scored more than three goals in a game this season.
Ordu began their charge within five minutes thanks to a drive down the left from Ahmet Kuru, who slipped one in past Rize netminder Ramazan Kurşunlu for the 1-0 lead.
Müslüm Yelken (20) followed up sixteen minutes later after Murat Akın chested down for him in the box, serving up a nice strike from close range.
Rize's bad day continued in the 34th minute after Koray Avcı nudged down Ordu's Jovan Kostovski in the box. Irfan Başaran did the honors from the spot and lit up the scoreboard for a 3-0 lead.
Seven minutes later Kostovski added a fourth for himself after beating the offsides trap and finding himself with a 1-on-1 against Kurşunlu. The Macedonian won the face-off with a smooth chip over the keeper to take the 4-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Aware that they had another 135 minutes to go, Rize tried in vain to make something of the second half. In the 51st minute Mithat Yaşar tested Ordu keeper Fevzi Elmas with a 25-yarder that beamed straight into Elmas' hands.
Adu meanwhile set up two fruitless free kicks, before his day came to a close in the 65th with the entry of Ilyas Çakmak.
With Ordu in cruise control and Rize unable to muster any potent opportunities, the score remained 4-0 at the final whistle, meaning Rize will require a season-high offensive onslaught next Thursday for any hopes of reaching the Süper Lig.