Gençlerbirligi have every chance of adding injury-hit Parma AC to their list of scalps in only their second UEFA Cup campaign after a third round first-leg victory in Italy.
Referee Wolfgang Stark allowed the game to go ahead in spite of the heavy snow that fell all afternoon, and the start was delayed for 15 minutes to allow ploughs to clear the pitch. Only three minutes into the game the home fans almost felt a further chill as Serkan Balci had an effort from long range that fell only just wide.
Visitors hit post
The visitors, who have already eliminated Blackburn Rovers FC and Sporting Clube de Portugal, went close again eleven minutes later when Ali Tandogan's shot hit Serkan and was deflected off the post with the surprised Sébastien Frey beaten. Indeed, Parma were clearly finding the conditions difficult while the Turkish side were dominating on the flanks.
Parma finally forced a chance on 26 minutes but Matteo Ferrari headed Mark Bresciano's cross just past the post. On the half-hour Fabrizio Cammarata was denied his first goal in European competition by goalkeeper Damir Botonjic, who blocked his shot.
Frey then pulled off a save of his own to somehow claw out Souleymane Youla's point-blank header. Ali Tandogan also had a chance to put the away side ahead before the break but shot over after Josip Skoko's lobbed pass.
Home coach Cesare Prandelli brought on Marco Marchionni and Alessandro Rosina to try and add spark to Parma's midfield, but on the hour Gençlerbirligi were in front. Skoko's shot from 22 metres out gave Frey no chance.
Having taken the lead, the away team were then happy to soak up any Parma pressure, and saw out the last half-hour without Botonjic being troubled. Visiting coach Kazim Ersun Yanal declared: "
I am satisfied with the result and we could have won by a larger margin because we were clearly the better side."
'We did our best'
Parma now have a tough task when they travel to Turkey on Wednesday, but Prandelli insisted: "We did our best. We were forced to play without important players and the snowy pitch did not help us. I am confident that we can win after the second leg and hope to play in better conditions."