Turkish football supporters are unwavering. They’re unwavering in their delight at waving “Welcome to Hell!” signs at opposition teams when arriving in Turkey, at lighting enough flares and creating enough noise to actually make their home stadia seem like hell and in their support of their beloved clubs. Istanbul’s Besiktas are 14-time champions of the Turkish top-flight, but they’ve never advanced from the group stage of the Champions League.
On Tuesday, they traveled to Ukraine to play Dynamo Kiev knowing that victory would make them lifelong legends in eyes of Black Eagles supporters. With Dynamo Kiev already eliminated, it looked to be a historical night for the Turkish club.
30 minutes after kickoff and the match was effectively settled. Artem Besedin put Kiev ahead in the 9th minute and any hopes of a comeback were diffused by a ridiculous penalty call and red card against Besiktas' Andreas Beck in the 29th.
Down two goals and a man, Besiktas crumpled. By halftime the score stood at 4-0, and the hurt amongst the Besiktas players could be clearly seen upon goalkeeper Fabricio’s face. He couldn’t help but breakdown in the knowledge that their dream had been crushed in the space of 45 minutes.
The match would end 6-0, a scoreline that you would expect to start a riot among angry supporters. However, Besiktas returned to Istanbul in the early hours of Wednesday morning to find their fans giving them a heroes welcome.
Maybe it’s because they recognized how close the players had come to securing history or because they recognized how referee Craig Thompson had ruined the match, but this is a display of support you’d find nowhere outside of Turkey.
Şenol Güneş Şenol Güneş Şenol Güneş pic.twitter.com/ybkEPODvut— Beşiktaş Analiz (@Besiktas_Analiz) December 7, 2016