Beşiktaş JK wrote a new chapter in the history of their club by beating Feyenoord 3-1 on Wednesday – the first time they had knocked a Dutch team out of European competition.
Already leading their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie 2-1 following an away victory in Rotterdam, Beşiktaş completed their progress to the play-offs with three goals from Demba Ba. The new signing from Chelsea FC, making his debut start, was thereby the first Beşiktaş player to score a European hat-trick.
When Beşiktaş opted not to renew the contract of Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida, several candidates were rumoured to be his replacement. Ba's name certainly made people excited but also worried them at the same time, due to failed medicals scuppering previous moves. But Ba completed the transfer and although he did not have a shot as a substitute last week at Feeyenoord, he more than made up for that at the Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadium.
Olcay Şahan, who set up Ba's second goal, said: "Ba has had very good understanding with the team since the first day. He is a very nice person too." Coach Slaven Bilić added that Ba could be getting even better. "We have spoken to him many times. He is not 100% but fit to play."
Ba himself said: "My team-mates are helping me a lot. I have established good bonds with them in such a short time. They are doing their utmost to ease my job and everybody is trying to shorten my adaptation period.
"To be honest, at the end of the game I was a little tired and I felt it. Still, I tried to do my best. Starting from next week, I expect my adaptation to get a major boost."
If Ba keeps up this form, he could join Beşiktaş’s cult pantheon with another signing from west London: Les Ferdinand, who spent 1988/89 on loan at the Black Eagles from Queens Park Rangers FC and scored 14 times.
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