Turkish Super League side Trabzonspor defeated Derry City 7-2 on aggregate in their Europa League second round of qualifying tie. The home match ended 4-2, but in Ireland, the Turkish side managed to keep a clean sheet to boost their confidence ahead of the next round.
The player who impressed the most was none other than Colombian-born striker Paulo Henrique. Scoring three goals in two games, the 24-year-old is finally beginning to find the form he is truly capable of, and it could not have arrived at a better time for the Black Sea side.
If he continues to play like this, opponents in Europe as well as in Turkey will have a lot to fear when facing him.
Derry is not the toughest team by any means, but Trabzon have not featured in European competition since the 2011-2012 Champions League, where they finished in third and went on to the Europa League, only to lose 6-2 on aggregate to PSV Eindhoven. This time around, if they make it to the group stage, they will look to advance to wipe away those bad memories.
Besides Europe, these early performances surely must have caught the eye of their Super League opponents who are also title contenders — Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray. These three sides are all out to win the title and put a stamp of dominance on this league. Gala and Fener have been doing so, but now that Besiktas and Trabzon have coaches that know how to bring the best out of their players, they will also be very dangerous.
Now, Trabzon will face FC Dinamo Minsk of the Belarussian top flight. This opponent is much tougher than Derry was, but the Turks have slightly more European experience that should definitely carry them through to the playoff stage.