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06.05.2007 Football News

Appiah Helps Fenerbahce To Close In On Title

Stephen Appiah helped Fenerbahce to a 1-0 win over Besiktas Stephen Appiah helped Fenerbahce to a 1-0 win over Besiktas

Ghana captain Stephen Appiah produced a man-of-the-match performance to help Fenerbahce beat rivals Besiktas 1-0 in Turkey's table-topping clash on Saturday.

Appiah, who was playing his first game since suffering a knee injury last month, was instrumental as his side opened a five point lead over their opponents with three games remaining.

The Yellow Canaries won the game thanks to a 12th minute strike by Serbian Mateja Kezman, in a move started by the Ghana skipper.

The win left Fenerbahce on 63 points, five points clear of Besiktas and well placed to seal their 17th title next week against Trabzonspor. Appiah played through the pain barrier, as he is yet to overcome the knee injury, and was named man-of-the-match after producing an outstanding and industrious display from midfield.

Fenerbahce have struggled without the Ghanaian, dropping some crucial points against lowly-placed teams and were eliminated from the Turkish Cup by Besiktas.

The Black Stars captain says he is keen to help to erase the bad memories of last season in which Fenerbahce relinquished the title on the last day.

”I was getting uncomfortable as the situation was looking like that of last season when we lost the title on the last game of the season,” Appiah told Ghanaweb.

”I wanted to help to ensure that it doesn't happen again this year and also to help the club get revenge over Besiktas for eliminating us from the Turkish Cup.

”Even though I can still feel the pain I think the risk has paid off and I am happy that the fans are happy. Now I have to rest for two days to enable the knee to recuperate.

”I want to play against Trabzonspor so that we can have the title in the bag before the end of the season despite the injury.

”We will go on a break at the end of the month and hopefully I can use that period to fully recover from the injury and regain full fitness.”

Saturday's victory was an important revenge for Fenerbahce after Besiktas knocked them out of the Turkish Cup in the semi-finals last week.