Turkcell Super League – Week 23 recap
With the disappointment of both Turkish teams getting knocked out in the Europa League, it was back to business as usual. Week 23 of the Turkcell Super League season was another one of those weeks where things seemed to be business as usual. Some teams would be disappointed, some teams would feel elated. The drive for the title would produce excitement this week.
Trabzonspor was looking to keep up a very interesting streak of sorts. Trabzonspor has not lost at all in the calendar year. But with a draw last week, they would look to win against Antalyaspor. It looked good for Trabzonspor in the fifth minute. Selcuk Inan’s corner was headed into the net by Burak Yilmaz, and it sent the Trabzonspor fans into a frenzy. Antalyaspor would answer back. In the 16th minute, Veysel Cihan’s pass found Necati Ates in the box, and Ates made Trabzonspor pay for their defensive lapse and tied the match. The rest of the first half saw chances, but the teams did not put their attempts on net. The second half saw Trabzonspor come out more aggressively. Selcuk Inan’s free kick in the 50th minute barely missed the goal. In the 57th minute, Engin Baytar made a terrific pass to Inan finding Inan with a golden opportunity for the goal. But Inan’s resulting shot went out, to the disbelief of the Trabzonspor fans. Trabzonspor had another chance in the 70th minute, but the Antalyapsor defense held. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Trabzonspor still has yet to lose in the calendar year, but rues the opportunity to at least get a win, against an opponent they considered before the match started to be “like sugar”. That probably meant that Trazbonspor would get a sweet win, but it was not to be.
Bursaspor seems to be having a dream season so far. With their comeback victory over Fenerbahçe last week, many would be looking to see what they could do for an encore against Sivasspor. Bursaspor came out aggressively, as Turgay Bahadir barely missed shots in the 3rd, 8th, and 11th minutes. It seemed as though who was winning was determined in those first eleven minutes. In the 30th minute, Sivasspor’s Ibrahim Dagasan found Bursaspor’s Ivan Ergic, setting up a free kick for Bursaspor. Pablo Batalla fired the free kick into the net to put Bursaspor up 1-0. In the 31st minute, Ali Tandogan’s cross from the right flank was headed toward goal by Ozan Ipek, but Sivasspor goalkeeper Akin Vardar had to stretch out to save the attempt. Bursaspor went into the halftime break up 1-0, and with plenty of confidence. They came out all guns blazing in the second half. In the 48th minute, Ali Tandogan’s free kick from the left wing was headed in by Turgay Bahadir and Bursaspor was up 2-0. In the 50th minute, Ozan Ipek received a long pass from midfield. Ipek shot the ball as he went into the box. After a defensive block, Ipek got another shot, and put the ball in the net to give Bursaspor a three goal lead. Bursaspor seemed to dominate the entire match, and after the third goal, the match was pretty much over. Bursaspor beat Sivasspor 3-0 and could potentially be a serious contender for the championship. Bursaspor still has a game in hand and if they continue their run of current form, it is possible that Bursaspor could at least get a Champions League spot, or become champions.
The match of the week this week feature Beşiktaş travelling to the Kadir Has stadium to face Kayserispor. With the recent earthquake in Chile, Beşiktaş’ Rodrigo Tello was playing with a heavy heart, and wore a black armband to show solidarity to his country. He would make his presence known in the 2nd minute, as after receiving a pass from Michael Fink, Tello blasted the ball past Kayserispor goalkeeper Hamidou Souleyanou to give Beşiktaş a quick 1-0 lead. It seemed the match would be over by the 13th minute, as Bobo’s shot hit the post and almost gave Beşiktaş a 2-0 lead. After having the bye week last week, it might be observed that Kayserispor was a bit off this week. In the 30th minute, Tello started another attack and passed to Bobo. Bobo then found Ekrem Dag, and Dag scored to put Beşiktaş up 2-0. Beşiktaş seemed to have control for the rest of the first half and were up 2-0 at the break. Beşiktaş seemed to take it easy in the second half, but Kayserispor seemed to increase the tempo. Kayserispor would draw one goal back in the 81st minute, as Ariza Makukula scored. But Kayserispor could not find the net again as Beşiktaş went on to win 2-1. Beşiktaş crawled closer to a Europa League spot, which looked improbable considering their start to the season.
Without a win in their last six competitive matches, Fenerbahçe looks like a team in turmoil. With perhaps their title chances slipping away, Fenerbahçe looked to get back on the winning track again against Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor. It didn’t look good for Fenerbahçe as Istanbul BB struck first. Ali Guzeldal passed a through ball to Iskender Alin, leaving him behind the Fenerbahçe defense. Alin then avoided the charging Volkan Demirel, and put the ball into the net to give Istanbul BB the 1-0 lead. Fenerbahçe thought they had tied it a few minutes later, but when Deniz Baris shot the ball into the net, Andre dos Santos made a slight attempt to play the ball from an offside position, and the goal was called back. The second half saw Fenerbahçe put added pressure on the Istanbul BB goal. Fenerbahçe got the tying goal in the 57th minute. After Dani Guiza’s shot was blocked, Gokhan Gonul got the ball and advanced down the right flank. Gonul’s cross was struck home by a volley by Alex de Souza. Some controversy came about in the 69th minute. A long pass from Fabio Bilica was intended for Dani Guiza, which would have left him with a one on one situation with Istanbul BB goalkeeper Kenan Hasagic. However, Guiza was pushed down by defender Ekrem Eksioglu. Normally, the play would have resulted in a direct red card, but referee Firat Aydinus gave Eksioglu a yellow card. Achieving at least a tie would get harder for Fenerbahçe, as in the 79th minute, Alex de Souza got a direct red card for putting his studs on Mahmut Tekdemir’s thigh in a rash challenge. Istanbul BB took advantage of the ejection, and Iskender Alin scored in the 82nd minute to give Istanbul BB the lead and the win. The Fenerbahçe winless streak went to seven competitive games and Fenerbahçe are seeing their title chances slip away.
With Fenerbahçe losing, Galatasaray looked to pad their lead in the Turkcell Super League standings. Kasımpaşa came into the Ali Sami Yen stadium, which has become a fortress for Galatasaray, as Galatasaray have yet to lose at home this season. The action got started in the 2nd minute. Kasımpaşa’s Sahin Aygunes shot a ball that was saved by Galatasaray’s Leo Franco. Emre Toraman put the ball into the net, but since Toraman was in an offside position when Aygunes shot the ball, the goal was called back. If Toraman had left it for the advancing Yekta Kurtulus, the ball certainly could have ended up as a goal. In the 29th minute, Abdul Kader Keita had a shot blocked and ended up being headed forward by Servet Cetin. Jo got the ball in the penalty area, passed the ball to Arda Turan, and Turan scored to put Galatasaray up 1-0. Galatasaray went into the halftime break with the 1-0 lead and confidence. In the 55th minute, Giovani dos Santos fired a shot from just outside the penalty area, but the shot was saved by Kasımpaşa goalkeeper Murat Sahin. Kasımpaşa had a chance in the 57th minute, as Ali Gunes fired a shot from 30 meters out and barely missed the post. Kasımpaşa got the tying goal in the 65th minute, as Yekta Kurtulus scored. Galatasaray got the lead back in the 75th minute. After a Giovani dos Santos shot was saved by Murat Sahin, Arda Turan headed the ball towards Abdul Kader Keita. Keita hit the volley off a bounce into the net. In the 82nd minute, Jo was fouled in the box by Kasımpaşa defender Koray Avci, which led to Avci being sent off via a direct red card. Avci was the last defender when Jo made his attempt towards goal. Jo the converted the penalty to give Galatasaray a 3-1 lead. Two minutes later, Keita scored again to make the final score 4-1. With the win, Galatasaray pads their lead in the standings.
Other results in the Turkcell Super League were as follows: Gençlerbirliği 0-1 Ankaragücü, Gaziantepspor 1-1 Eskişehirspor, and Manisaspor 2-1 Diyarbakirspor. The top five of the Turkcell Super League standings as follows: Galatasaray is in first place with 50 points, Bursaspor climbs to second place with 46 points and a game in hand, Fenerbahçe falls to third place with 45 points, Kayserispor is in fourth place with 42 points and a +17 goal difference, and Beşiktaş is in fifth also with 42 points, and a +13 goal difference. Beşiktaş, like Bursaspor, also have a game in hand. With Bursaspor’s and Beşiktaş’ matches soon to be made up on March 10th, the standings will be evened out, and will provide a clearer picture of how the league will play out. But there is still a long way to go.