CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Monday, February 14, 2011
Jozy Altidore made his debut for Bursaspor on Sunday and helped out on the opening goal, but saw the hosts equalize and knock his new team out of first in the Süper Lig.
Altidore saw 77 minutes of action in his first start and appearance since making the move to Turkey two weeks ago.
The hosts in Eskisehir Atatürk stadium burst out of the gates with a near-miss and a cage-rattling strike from Sezer Öztürk within five minutes. Burhan Eser tried to follow up Öztürk's try with a header but Bursa goalkeeper Dimitar Ivankov was there to swat the shot away.
Altidore displayed great skill for coach Ertugrul Saglam in the build-up to the opening goal of the afternoon. Collecting a pass at the center circle, he sprinted through the midfield, performed an impressive 360 turn on Alper Potuk, and laid off to Kenny Miller on the left flank.
Although the Scotsman's feed into the box was successfully cleared into the midfield, Serbian Ivan Ergic stepped up to bullet a 25-yarder past Vanja Ivea for the 1-0 lead.
The hosts saw their best chance to equalize in the 54th minute after Erkan Zengin on the left wing crossed in for Rodrigo Tello. The Chilean international headed nicely at Ivanov's net, but the Bulgarian keeper rose in time to swat the shot away just below the bar.
Eskisehirspor was reduced to ten men in the 68th minute when striker Batuhan Karadeniz got his marching orders for needlessly elbowing Milan Stepanov while in the box.
Although a man up, the Green Crocodiles gave the game away in the 77th minute when Miller brought down Serdar Özbayraktar while streaming into the penalty area. Referee Halis Özkahya pointed to the spot and displayed a yellow at the former Glasgow Rangers striker.
Sezer Öztürk stepped up for the penalty and blasted past Ivanov to bring the game to level terms at the 76 minute mark.
Bursa coach Ertugrul Saglam ended Altidore's debut a minute later, bringing midfielder Volkan Şen for the American.
Things got worse for the visitors in the 79th minute when Ozan Ipek was sent off with his second yellow of the day for disputing a no-call when Miller was pulled down in the box. In the ensuing protest, referee Halis Özkahya also sent off Bursa coach Saglam.
Both teams tried frantically to steal the win in the final ten minutes, but neither squad found the back of the net.
With the result Bursaspor currently sit in second with 45 points, and could end up in third if Fenerbahçe wins Monday evening against Kayserispor.
The Green and White will suit up again on Saturday as they host Gaziantepspor.