Fenerbahce vs Lokomotiv Moscow by Isaiah
Fenerbahce had a bit easier job last Friday evening when the team welcomed Kasimpasa and won them convincingly 3:1. It was good to see them bouncing back to winning ways after more or less four not that impressive performances in domestic competitions. Diego opened up the lead in 37th minute after their dominance, while the things got more easier near the end of the first halftime when the visitors stood playing with a man less while the penalty kick was awarded for the hosts and converted into goal via van Persie.
Potuk secured their victory with the third goal in 75th minute, while Malki only reduced the deficit three minutes before the full time whistle. Still, they continue being first at the table with four points more than Besiktas, however their closest followeres have played two matches less, so the team continues to be under pressure. As for Europa League, they did well to progress into the knock out stage after leaving Celtic and Ajax behind themselves, being second just behind Norwegian side Molde. The team now wants to make an extra step in Europe, but also to get a victory in their 100th home game in European competitions. Midfielder Diego (17/2) is suspended for this one, while injured is defensive Abdoulaye Ba (4/0) and winger Lazar Markovic (14/0) who continues to be injured as well.
Lokomotiv, on the other side, progressed to the knock out stage only thanks to the victory in the last round away to Albanian Skenderbeu 3:0, when they secured the first position with 3-2-1 record and a point more than Portuguese Sporting and two points more than Turkish side Besiktas. Their biggest problem for this game probably will be the fact that they didn't play a competitive game since 10th December when they visited Albania.
Russian championship will start on 5th March, so there is no doubt that the side still isn't anywhere close to their good form and that these two legs will represent quite a task for them. As for the league, Lokomotiv looked quite well during the season, but failed to obtain positive results in last couple of weeks before the pause, having only one victory in last six rounds, which saw them slipping to third position, however still only just five points behind CSKA Moscow. Visitors won't be able to count at defender Vedran Corluka (15/2) since he remains suspended for EUropa League, while injured are defensive Roman Shishkin (16/0), Arseniy Logashov (6/0) and midfielder Maxim Grigorjev (5/0).
Fenerbahce is doing well in front of their fans this season, being very motivated for tonight's game. Russian side isn't naive at all either, but with the lack of competitive matches and away factor, I don't see them having a real chance in this one. They'll have to search for their chances of progressing further in their own court.