February 08, 2019

Altinordu Impress as Madrid Toils

After successive nights of 10 goals at the Alkass International Cup, the fourth day of the tournament saw goals in short supply.

The first game of the evening saw Turkish outfit Altinordu edge out Etoile Sportive Du Sahel of Tunisia with a late goal by substitute Enis Destan.

Altinordu, a Turkish second tier side who are making their debut in the tournament, have an emphasis on producing homegrown talent and their emergence is already attracting European scouts to their matches.

Etoile Sportive Du Sahel had looked very impressive when deservedly beating Bayern Munich two days earlier but they failed to reproduce that form against Altinordu, having made several changes to their side.

The opening 45 minutes saw very few chances but the Turks thought they had taken the lead just before the break when Alihan Senturk’s left-foot drive found the net following Salih Kavrazli’s cross but VAR came into play and the effort was ruled out due to a foul earlier in the move.

The second half brought an improvement and both teams had the ball in the net in the closing stages. Makram Krifa thought he had put the Tunisians ahead but was adjudged to be offside, and moments later Tayfun Tatli crossed for Destan to rise above the keeper to head the only goal of the game. The tall striker only came on as a second-half substitute but his impact was such that he received the player of the match award.

The second game saw former winners Real Madrid held by South Koreans Suwon Samsung, with both goals coming from the penalty spot.

Real enjoyed 55% possession and looked much better in the second half after bringing on lively midfielder Pau Aran, but a controversial penalty – awarded against Rafael Zamora – saw Yong Joon Cho put the Koreans ahead on 71 minutes.

Just as Suwon sensed a shock victory, Real were awarded a penalty of their own – this time Zamora winning the spot-kick, which was initially given as a free-kick until the VAR officials intervened – and the impressive Aran fired home to earn a point for the Spaniards.

Real were not at their best but they deserved to win after producing several promising moves in the second half, and with the likes of Aran and Andri Gudjohnsen looking lively in the tournament so far they still have to be considered among the favorites to lift the title on February 15.

Moez Guezzeh, Head Coach of Etoile Sportive Du Sahel

“We knew the match would not be easy as it’s only been two days since our last game. The team didn’t have enough time to physically rest, although I have changed all the players, to give everyone a chance to play.

“It’s a great tournament to be part of, and I am glad we are competing against all these European and Asian teams.”

Manuel Fernandez Gomez, Head Coach of Real Madrid

“The penalty gave us the opportunity to qualify for the next round, but I think it’s more than fair because we did enough things to win the match – and, of course, if we cannot win then at least we want to draw.

“Losing the match would have been very unfair, so I am happy that we equalized. “We didn’t play well, we have to recognize that. We will improve, we need to improve, that’s clear. But our objective was to qualify and we did that.”