Ludogorets played bravely, inspired and strong and may regret losing 1:3 to Fenerbahce in the debut of their new old coach Georgi Dermendzhiev. In front of the infernal atmosphere of a full Şükrü Saracaoğlu, the transformed Bulgarians had a few very clear chances, but in the end it was the class of the hosts and the luck they had that helped them record their 18th consecutive win from the start of the 18-game season.
In his third debut at the head of Razgrad, Georgi Dermendzhiev bet on a rather curious line-up, Simon Sluga started in goal, who has generally been the starter since the beginning of this season. In front of him, Aslak Von Witry, Sonko Sundberg, Olivier Verdon and captain Anton Nedyalkov, who played in a European match for the first time since February, came out in the seam. It was most interesting in the midfield, because there Dermendzhiev had placed three instead of the usual two midfielders, and so Pedro Naressi entered next to the starters Jakub Piotrowski and Claude Gonsalves. There were also three forwards - Rwan led the attack, supported on the wings by Caio Vidal and Bernard Tekpetey, who had also recently lost the trust of former coach Ivaylo Petev.
The great star Edin Dzeko was not in Fenerbache's lineup, but Dusan Tadic, Fred and Michy Batshuayi were there.
In the 3rd minute, Bernard Tekpetey shot from a free kick, the ball bounced off the wall but hit the feet of Claude Gonalsves, who shot well but wide. An excellent attack followed for the Eagles. Nedyalkov brought Rwan out, he feinted two defenders and shot, but Egribayat saved. Then he intervened easily after a shot by Piotrowski. The hosts responded with Tadic's performance, but in an out. In the 17th minute, Piotrowski found Caio Vidal in the penalty area, but the Brazilian got frustrated and missed an excellent chance. After 20 minutes of play, Miguel Crespo and Bernard Tekpetey clashed in the air. The intervention of the medical teams was necessary and for a while they both continued the match.
In the 26th minute, the hosts seriously threatened Ludogorets net, but Simon Sluga was careful and deflected with his hand, just enough to trip Dusan Tadic. The guests responded with a shot from about 20 meters to Piotrowski - in the out. Following the line of the double-edged game, Dusan Tadic headed again, but missed the goal.
Fenerbahce took the lead in the 42nd minute. Then, after a mistake in the build-up, the Turks took over and made a quick counterattack. It was completed with a goal by Belgian international Michy Batshuayi. However, before the goal, Pedro Naressi, who was returning to the defense, clashed with referee Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez. Because of this, the players of Ludogorets sought an explanation after Batshuayi's goal, because in such cases the game can be stopped by the referee. It all ended with a yellow card for Naressi.
At the beginning of the second half, Tekpetey shot well, but after the intervention of the defender of the hosts, the ball went out for a corner. After his performance, Verdon would head in, but out. In the 52nd minute, Fenerbahçe led 2:0. Miha Seitz was correct. We'll just note that this was goal number 50 for the Turkish club since the beginning of the season, and it's still October. Georgi Dermendzhiev's footballers had a claim to this goal too, because a player of the "Lanterns" was standing right in front of the goalkeeper Simon Sluga, even though he had fallen. This time, the Bulgarian claims were not accepted.
Ludogorets returned one goal in the 65th minute. After taking a corner, Pedro Naressi attempted a backscissor, the ball bounced off Rodrigo Becao's leg and into the Turkish net.
In the 70th minute, in search of an equaliser, Dermendzhiev made a double substitution, bringing on Kwadwo Duah and Spas Delev, sending off Rwan and Caio Vidal. Ten minutes before the end of the match, Batshuayi could have scored his second goal in the match, but was stopped by Simon Sluga.
Ludogorets was extremely close to equalizing in the 83rd minute. Tekpetey escaped the "Lanterns" defense on the right and shot, the Turkish goalkeeper saved, but the ball went to Kwadwo Duah, who failed to intercept it in the empty net. Towards the end, Georgi Dermendzhiev made an offensive change, removing Gonsalves and replacing him with Dominic Yankov. It was the national team that could have equalized, as Kwadwo Duah shot powerfully, the Fenerbahce guard did not intervene well and the ball reached Yankov, who failed to play with one touch. Shortly after, Tekpetey shot with his left foot, but straight at the goalkeeper. A point of contention was put by Micha Seitz, who scored a copy of his first goal, in the continuation of the meeting.