Beşiktaş JK upset the UEFA Champions League formbook with a 2-1 third qualifying round first-leg win at Feyenoord last week but they have some inside knowledge as they prepare for the home return tonight.
The victory in Rotterdam was Beşiktaş's first competitive win against a Dutch team and they now aim to complete their maiden elimination of a club from the Netherlands. One of their key men will be Canada midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, who knows more than a little something about Feyernoord having joined Beşiktaş last year after three seasons at PSV Eindhoven.
A powerhouse in the middle for Beşiktaş, Hutchinson is steeling himself for a big game this evening. "It was an almost perfect away victory for us," he said. "Scoring two away goals is a big advantage but we have to forget about it and focus on the second leg instead."
Last Wednesday's victory was hardly Hutchinson's first against Feyenoord, the 31-year-old having been on the winning side four times in five encounters during his PSV days, including a memorable 10-0 triumph in October 2010. "I have always played well against Feyenoord and they can't get away from me," Hutchison remarked.
As for the first leg, he added: "We were really organised and all my team-mates played closer to each other. Every player was helping the other. No matter how good they were, Feyenoord could not break our resistance. However, I don't expect them to play the same way in the second game."
When Beşiktaş coach Slaven Bilić signed him last summer, little was known about the former FC København and Helsingborgs IF player. But once he arrived in Istanbul, it was clear the 67-times-capped international was so versatile he could operate almost anywhere except in goal.
Indeed, wherever the No13 has been fielded, he has delivered a top-quality display, receiving recognition as a hard worker who contributes both defensively and offensively. Even so, Hutchinson still has an ideal position: "For most of my career, I have played as a central midfielder – I feel more comfortable there."
Demba Ba is likely to partner Mustafa Pektemek up front tonight after Bilić indicated he wanted to try a twin-striker system from the start. Around 60,000 Beşiktaş fans are expected at the Atatürk Olympiyat Stadium as the club aim to move a step closer to a first group campaign in five seasons.
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