From my hideaway in Galatya, North Cyprus I joined hundreds of local Turkish Cypriots in the village cafe, who had joined me to see if Turkish side Fenerbahçe could overcome their British rivals Arsenal and progress into the group stages of the Champions League. In my piece published Wednesday on the sport.co.uk site, I suggested a comfortable victory for the Gunners and sadly for the local Turks my predicted result was spot on.
Fenerbahçe were a team low on confidence and unable to play as a unit, despite their gifted individuals. The only player who came out of the game with any credit was Dirk Kuyt, who ran tirelessly for Fener and almost caught Wojciech Szczexny out with a speculative long range effort early in the second half.
For Arsenal, this was a much needed boost, as they bossed the game, particularly in the second half, where they scored three goals in a blistering 25 minute spell. In 51st minute Gibbs found himself unmarked in the six yard box to fire into the roof of the net for the opening goal, after good work by Walcott out wide. Then Volkan made a horrible error failing to parry a straight forward shot from Aaron Ramsey, which put Arsenal in the driving seat. Giroud sealed the comfortable win for Arsenal from the penalty spot after man of the match Theo Walcott was floored by the hapless Bruno Alves.
The only sour moment for Arsenal came when Koscielny was kicked in the face by Pierre Webo and and was substituted late in the first half with blood pouring from his face. Whether he will be fit for the Fulham match Arsenal fans will need to wait and see.
The return leg in six days time should be a formality with Arsenal progressing into the group stages of the Champions League for the 16th season in a row.
For Fenerbahçe their appeal is now an irrelevance as their future in the Champions League has again been cut short at a very early stage.