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Posted on 19 October 2006  - 12:00

Besiktas will have to wait a little longer for a first competitive win over English opposition as our UEFA group B stage got off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win in Turkey.

Besiktas will have to wait a little longer for a first competitive win over English opposition as our UEFA group B stage got off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win in Turkey.

Hossam Ghaly and Dimitar Berbatov netted the goals - one in each half - in a match which was controlled with great authority by the men in all white. If there was a template for the perfect European away performance, then you would struggle to find a better example than this.

The atmosphere inside the Inonu Stadium was cranking up roughly an hour before kick-off, but it was far from full at this point as many reports seem to suggest about fixtures in Istanbul. Even without all backsides on seats, the Besiktas early birds certainly knew how to make a din as fans in various parts of the ground chanted at each other in what appeared a well timed pre-match ritual.

Team news then filtered through with word that Didier Zokora was to miss the game due to illness. Tom Huddlestone was given another chance to impress on our travels after starting the qualification round in Prague. Ledley King was back to anchor our challenge, while Robbie Keane was given the nod to partner Berbatov in attack.

The synchronised chanting stepped up a good few notches as 8pm local time neared with a man in the middle of the pitch dictating the noise levels as the home crowd bobbed up and down in the stands. It was really quite something.

In our traditional Euro strip, Keane and Berbatov got the game underway and the boys appeared fairly composed as the home fans began bobbing again with even more gusto. The first ten minutes were relatively uneventful on the pitch, with the home side effectively contained and our own play not without a few attacking forays - Keane being the principal focal point.

The ball was in the Besiktas net on 11 minutes when a Danny Murphy shot was spilt by Vedran Runje in the home goal and Berbatov slotted home the rebound, but from an offside position.

The team remained lively and were pretty much dictating the ebb and flow of the game, keeping it tight and breaking forward with purpose. Benoit Assou-Ekotto fizzed a shot not too far over the bar as Jean Tigana was getting animated on the touchline as it was not his team looking the most fluent unit.

Superiority was confirmed on 31 minutes and the stadium silenced, all bar the vocal pocket of Spurs fans, when Berbatov played in Hossam Ghaly. The Egyptian bore down on goal and struck his shot which was well saved by Runje. As luck would have it the ball came back onto Ghaly and flew high into the net for his first goal for the Club.

The lead was warranted, but nearly didn't last long when Paul Robinson was forced into a sharp reaction to deny Burak from a free-kick. He palmed the ball high but not over and there was something of a scramble to clear lines. The close call did seem to put some spark back into Besiktas proceedings and a zip was added to their play.

It was nearly two though shortly before the break when Berbatov got the better of Toraman and slipped the ball through to Murphy - his low drive flashing just across goal. At the other end Nobre got far too close to Robbo's goal for comfort, although the lead was protected going into the interval.

The second half began with the team continuing in the same measured, although offensive, manner and Runje had to be alert in order to field a decent strike from Berbatov.

The Bulgarian doubled the joy on 62 minutes when he accepted the ball from Keane before bursting past his marker and then turning back inside and rounding the keeper. The ball was then calmly stroked into the net and the celebrations began.

Keane then hit the bar from a Berbatov cut back and shot over moments later after a dash down the left. The home crowd were finally getting a little agitated. Keane then spurned a better chance after great work from Huddlestone and Berbatov - the latter who had a decent penalty shout a minute later.

Besiktas were, by this point, particularly vulnerable to swift counter attacks. Murphy, who was very impressive and a creative influence on the night, was replaced by Reto Ziegler with just over ten minutes left on the clock. Aaron Lennon quickly followed, taking over from from the battling Ghaly.

It was a case of just seeing the job through by this point - and it was a job extremely well done.