In a recent Turkish soccer match there was a matchup between two tenacious midfielders. Emre Belozoglu of Fenerbahçe had a run in with Didier Zokora of Trabzonspor. Well, actually, that is not completely accurate. In the midfield run-in the boot of Didier Zokora met with the tenderest region of Emre Belozoglu.
Emre, formerly of Newcastle United, is a bit of a pocket rocket. Known around Turkey for flying into challenges and making himself known to as many opposition players as possible, Emre is somewhat of a nuisance. He has skill, but he prefers to use it at tight quarters. He is a good passer and can strike a free kick, but he prefers combat to finesse.
Lucky for him, then, that he came up against Zokora of the Ivory Coast.
The term Berserker would perhaps describe Zokora best. A defensive midfielder, the Ivorian was famous at Tottenham Hotspur for never scoring. His play was more about putting his head on the ball and giving away professional fouls when the side needed relief.
Fitting, then, that in this meeting the play contained two unavoidable targets rushing in, one wild boot and one rather painful looking contact. I would suggest that Emre should have got counting immediately after this incident to, you know, just make sure everything is still there.
This is one of those incidents where you do not want to watch, but cannot look away. I wince every time but I will probably watch this over and over again. There is also possible motivation for such a challenge. Earlier in the season Emre was hit with a two-game ban after clashing with Zokora. Zokora claimed that racist language was used.
This ‘tackle’ looks bad, but I have now learned to fear Didier Zokora…