Ozil inspires Fenerbahce to victory on debut
Former Arsenal star Mesut Ozil played his first competitive football in close to a year on Tuesday as he turned out for Fenerbahce in their 2-1 Super Lig success over Hatayspor.
Ozil, released from the Gunners in January, was brought on with 13 minutes of the game remaining. At that point, Fener led 1-0, with an own goal after 88 minutes sealing the success before Aaron Boupendza scored a consolation for the hosts.
The contribution of Ozil, meanwhile, may not have been a great one in terms of volume, but he had his say in what proved the winning goal.
With the home side pressing, Fenerbahce won possession and launched a counterattack. Ozil, intelligently, did not break forward at full speed, instead jogging into space as the defenders sprinted back. This allowed him to find room in the centre circle.
Ozil, who had by now been on the field for 10 minutes without touching the ball, got the ball under his control with one touch then shuttled it out quickly to the right. Winger Ferdi Kadioglu was waiting, and after adjusting his run marginally, he sent a low cross into the box that Jean-Claude Billong put into his own goal.
Thereafter, the only involvement that Ozil had was completing a shot pass following kick-off as Hatayspor gave themselves late hope.
His cameo, then, was short but successful, and Ozil will hope to get more game time on Sunday, when Fenerbahce host Galatasaray. It will be a vital encounter, with the teams only three points apart at the top of the standings.
Meanwhile, Ozil may not have had a big role to play on his Fenerbahce debut, but he was decisive with little involvement – an attribute that so split Arsenal fans during his time at the Emirates Stadium.