Resurgent Samatta fires Fenerbahce past Sacko’s Denizlispor

Mbwana Samatta of Fenerbahce and Tanzania.
The Yellow Canaries continued their push for the Super Lig diadem with the Tanzania international netting their only goal against the Roosters

Mbwana Samatta was Fenerbahce’s hero in Monday’s 1-0 defeat of Denizlispor in a Super Lig encounter.

Prior to this encounter, the Aston Villa loanee had gone on a run of 11 games for the Yellow Canaries without finding the net.

His last goal came in his side's 3-0 defeat of Kayserispor on January 25, 2021. However, the resurgent striker returned to scoring ways against the Roosters.

Having failed to win any of their last three games, Denizlispor travelled to the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, with the ambition of ending their poor run. But they returned home empty-handed despite a brave shift.

After a cagey opening minute, the visitors had the first real chance of the game in the 18th minute. However, it was Hungary international Attila Szalai who made a crucial tackle that pushed their promising attack for a corner kick.

The resultant kick was taken but Hadi Sacko’s right-footed shot from Angelo Sagal’s pass could not threaten Altay Bayindir.

A minute before the half-time break, the hosts almost took the lead but Sinan Gumus' shot sailed over the crossbar.

In the second half, Denizlispor came out strong but a formidable defensive formation from Emre Belozoglu’s men frustrated their effort.

Four minutes from the hour mark, Samatta settled the tough encounter after rising higher than his markers to head Caner Erkin’s corner kick past a stranded Cenk Gonen.

Seven minutes later, the lead was almost doubled but Enner Valencia’s fierce shot went off the goalpost.

In the 83rd minute, Samatta profited from shaky Denizlispor defending and passed the ball to Bright Osayi-Samuel – who was available in the penalty area. Nonetheless, the Nigerian midfielder could not convert that chance into a goal.

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At the end of 90 minutes, it was Fenerbahce who claimed all points at stake at the expense of Hakan Kutlu’s side.

After putting up a notable display, Samatta – who now boasts four league goals in 24 outings so far – was subbed off for Mert Hakan Yandas in the 90th minute, while Mame Thiam came in for Enner Valencia two minutes earlier.

With 62 points from 31 outings, Fenerbahce occupy second position in the Turkish elite division - two points below Besiktas who have a game in hand.