Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Liverpool focus on home after Istanbul shock exit

27 February 2015, 10:36

Istanbul - A bruised Liverpool will narrow their focus to domestic competitions after being slung out of the Europa League at the round of 32 stage by Besiktas in a thrilling penalty shoot out.

Liverpool surrendered a 1-0 lead from the first leg for the game to go to penalties after a goalless extra time, with Besiktas sneaking through 5-4 after Dejan Lovren's dramatic miss.

"We can just now concentrate on our league campaign, which is now going better, and we have an excellent opportunity in other competitions," said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers after the game.

Liverpool's Premier League campaign has now gathered momentum after a dismal start and in the the FA Cup they face Blackburn in the sixth round in March.

The side must now also pick itself up for a crunch league clash against Manchester City at the weekend.

"I can only give credit to my players," said Rodgers.

"Unfortunately for us Istanbul has not been a happy place for us tonight.

"We are disappointed of course to go out in the manner we did."

With an estimated 70,000 Besiktas fans creating a cauldron-like atmosphere, Liverpool knew they faced a tough task on a balmy February evening at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

Besiktas levelled on aggregate in the 72nd minute with a stunning strike from Tolgay Arslan, assisted by a deft back heel from Senegalese striker Demba Ba, sending the match into extra time and then a penalty shoot out.

With penalties level at 4-4 and all the takers holding their nerve, Arslan skillfully slotted in. Lovren stepped up for Liverpool but his effort went high, leaving the player unconsolable and Besiktas fans running onto the pitch in joy.

"Someone had to miss and unfortunately it was him and us," said Rodgers.

The stadium had special memories for Reds fans as the scene of the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final where the team famously pulled back a three goal deficit to defeat AC Milan on penalties.

But Liverpool were this time without talismanic leader Steven Gerrard, who starred on that famous night in Istanbul but is still nursing an injury in his last season for the club.

"We did miss some of our creativity but it's no excuse," said Rodgers.

The famously fanatical black-clad fans of the Eagles worked hard to raise the roof, with deafening whistles every time a Liverpool player touched the ball and dozens of flares burning in the Istanbul night sky.

Also read: Serie A games to start late over Parma crisis

Banners raised on the stands included 'welcome to hell!", a favourite slogan from Turkish fans for visiting foreign teams.

"It's a great feeling. It's a great night for our great club, for Besiktas. For Turkish football as well" said triumphant Besiktas manager Slaven Bilic.

He said Liverpool "did not have the creation" but we "definitely deserve it and we are so proud of our players."

 'Great night for Turkey'

Helped on by the vociferous support, Besiktas pushed forwards in the early stages but were let down by some sloppy touches.

On 19 minutes Raheem Sterling forced an impressively acrobatic save from Cenk Gonen with a long range effort.

In no way overawed by the occasion, Besiktas started the second half strongly with Simon Mignolet blocking a dangerous ricochet shot from Serdar Kurtulus.

Arslan came close when a long range effort zoomed past Mignolet's left post in the 70th minute with Besiktas now looking much the more aggressive side.

But the midfielder then found the net in the 72nd minute, leaving Mignolet with no chance and sending an electric shock through the already pulsating stadium.

With Liverpool seeming to flag, Ba pushed a good chance high over the bar in the 25th minute of extra time before the game drifted into penalties.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Dating that one person that socie...

Works at a massage parlour. Works at Millionaires Club (that one on Baricho road) - you know the ones I am talking about. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
What do men mean when they say th...

As much as men think they are the ones confused by relationships, they have a better idea of it than most women actually do. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Ruto urges African leaders to shu...

DP William Ruto has called on African nations to shun help from western forces, saying that they can solve their own problems. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Don't be corrupt like your elders...

Shun corruption at all costs, President Uhuru Kenyatta urges Kenyan youth. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Senators order PS to resign over ...

The Senate Health Committee has told Health PS Nicholas Muraguri to resign over the unaccounted for KES 5 billion. Read more...