Mesut Ozil suffers derby frustration despite lively performance
Former Arsenal star Mesut Ozil had spoken of his excitement at facing Galatasaray in his first derby with Fenerbahce, but ultimately suffered frustration.
Fener fell to a 1-0 home defeat, with Mostafa Mohamed scoring early in the second half to put Gala top of the Turkish Super Lig on Saturday.
Ozil, who joined the club from Premier League side Arsenal, had made his debut with a brief cameo off the bench in the 2-1 win against Hatayspor on Tuesday.
Having been in exile with Arsenal under Mikel Arteta, he was again a substitute against Galatasaray as he builds up his match fitness.
But this time he came on earlier, with 63 minutes on the clock.
Fenerbahce were already trailing at that point, though Ozil did make an impact.
The playmaker thought he had an assist before VAR ruled out what would have been an equaliser from Ozan Tufan.
Ozil also created a headed chance for Attila Szalai.
And he forced a late save from Gala captain Fernando Muslera, who was man of the match after frustrating Fenerbahce throughout.
Per FootballCritic, Ozil completed 20 of his 21 passes, nine of which were played into the final third.
The 32-year-old also completed two dribbles and attempted five crosses, though he lost possession on eight occasions.
Ozil plays in ‘better’ second half
Fenerbahce boss Erol Bulut felt his team looked more threatening with Ozil on the pitch.
“We already started in midfield with Ozan Tufan, Jose Sosa and Mert Hakan Yandas, so in that sense we did not have a midfield player in our bench,” he said.
“We made changes in the second half.
“Those were made to try and support the attack with Mesut Ozil, Papiss Cisse and Sinan Gumus.
“And the second half was better.
“But our lack of strength in midfield was felt slightly in terms of our defence.”
It was also a frustrating day for Ozil’s former club Arsenal, who suffered their 10th Premier League defeat of the season at Aston Villa.
Fenerbahce and Galatasaray are now level on 48 points, with Besiktas three behind with a game in hand, so Ozil has arrived amid a thrilling title battle.