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   June 19, 2002 | 1330 IST


Umit Davala
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Turkish Cup miracle is made in "Hell"

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It's often wise to build a national team around a successful club side, but Turkey are coming dangerously close to actually fielding the club side.

Eight of the starting Turkish line-up for their 1-0 second round win over Japan on Tuesday either play or have played for Galatasaray, and of those, seven were in the squad that lifted the 2000 UEFA Cup for the Istanbul side.

Their success for club and country is something of a mirror of the West German 1974 World Cup-winning side which was built mainly around the Bayern Munich team of the mid-70s which won the European Cup from 1974 to 1976.

If Emre Asik and Emre Belozoglu, both rooted in Galatasaray, had not been suspended, there could have been more than eight.

As it was, Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Yildiray Basturk, Aston Villa defender Alpay Ozalan and goalkeeper Rustu Recber, of Galatasaray's archrivals Fenerbahce, were the only Turkish players against Japan never to have worn the yellow-and-red strip of the side known to its fans as "Cim Bom".

Defender Bulent Korkmaz and midfielders Ergun Penbe and Hasan Sas are still with Galatasaray, who play at Ali Sami Yen, a dilapidated cauldron in the Mecidiyekoy area of Istanbul that fans affectionately call "Hell".


Umit Davala has recently moved back there on loan from AC Milan after failing to secure a regular place in Italy.

The rest have moved on to pastures new from the club that has often struggled to pay players despite making the second group phase of the Champions League and securing a record 15th Turkish league title last season.

Right-back Fatih Akyel has even committed the sin of moving across the Bosphorus straits to Fenerbahce, the big-spenders from the Asian side of the city who revelled in denying Galatasaray a fifth consecutive league title the season before last.

The rest are in Europe. Tugay Kerimoglu and Hakan Unsal are at Blackburn in England with former Galatasaray coach Graeme Souness, remembered with either love or loathing in Istanbul for planting a Galatasaray flag on the centre-spot of Fenerbahce's ground after one of their usually intense derby matches.

Hakan Sukur is at Parma, where he is settling after a frustrating time on the bench at Inter Milan. Emre Belozoglu is at Inter Milan.

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