Turkcell Super League – week 15 – Friday and Saturday action
The top of the Turkcell Super League board got tighter last week. Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş, Bursaspor, Galatasaray, and Kayserispor, in that order, were separated by only a three point margin. This weekend looked crucial as to where the league table would look like at the winter break. A total of three games were played on Friday and Saturday. Beşiktaş looked to gain some momentum before a critical Champions League clash against CSKA Moscow at the Inonu Stadium. Fenerbahçe looked to snap a dip in league form. Sivasspor and Kasımpaşa fought in the other end of the table to avoid relegation woes.
Friday’s match featured Beşiktaş at home against Diyarbakirspor. With an eight league match winning streak on the line, Beşiktaş looked to gain the league summit. The first half play made it seem like Beşiktaş’ was ready and willing to take the top spot, but not yet. Corners after corners were taken by Beşiktaş, but they couldn’t be converted into goals. Attacks from the left and right flanks were futile. Beşiktaş dominated play in the first half but couldn’t convert chances to goals. A 30th minute header from Matteo Ferrari was stopped. Shots from Yusuf Simsek, Michael Fink, and Ismail Koybasi couldn’t find the net. In the 45th minute, Fabian Ernst fired a shot that was saved by the Diyarbakirspor goalkeeper. The second half was more balanced in terms of possession and attacks. Sener Askaroglu fired a shot on goal in the 49th minute, and Beşiktaş keeper Rustu Recber parried it away. Nihat Kahveci seemed to be absolutely useless on the pitch. With Diyarbakirspor playing at the back with six men behind the ball, Beşiktaş couldn’t find any way to score. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. While they haven’t lost in a total of nine consecutive weeks, this doesn’t bode well for Beşiktaş’ chances against CSKA Moscow come midweek.
Two teams in the lower part of the table clashed in the early game on Saturday. Kasımpaşa was coming off a win against Fenerbahçe, and was hosting Sivasspor. Both teams were looking to improve their chances of avoiding relegation. The scoring began in the 14th minute, as Kasımpaşa’s Cenk Isler put his team ahead by shooting the ball over the head of Sivasspor goalkeeper Michael Petkovic. A penalty was given to Sivasspor in the 24th minute, but it seemed that Ersen Martin dived to gain the penalty call. Martin coverted the spot kick to tie the match. Yekta Kurtulus would be shown his second yellow for a handball in the match and sent off in the 40th minute, leaving Kasımpaşa with 10 men. Kasımpaşa would find the goal again in the 49th minute, as Gokhan Gulec scored. But in the 73rd minute, Sivasspor’s Akeem Agbetu had his centering pass deflect off Kasımpaşa’s Baris Basdas and into the Kasımpaşa goal to set the final score, Kasımpaşa 2 – 2 Sivasspor.
The late match on Saturday featured Eskişehirspor against Fenerbahçe. Fenerbahçe looked like they were slipping from the form that had them win eight straight to start the season. The last time they had won a competitive league match (not counting the freebie match against Ankaraspor) was week 10 against Galatasaray. Fenerbahçe had their best chance of the first half in the 37th minute, when Mehmet Topuz’s centering pass found Alex, but his header went straight into the hands of Eskişehirspor goalkeeper Vanja Ivesa. In the 40th minute, Souleymane Youla had Eskişehirspor’s best chance of the half, but the ball ended up in the hands of Fenerbahçe goalkeeper, Volkan Demirel. The scoring would start in the 62nd minute, when Adem Sari fired a volley off a centering pass to put Eskişehirspor up 1-0. The play started when Youla took a corner kick and passed it to Volkan Yaman. Yaman made the centering pass to Sari for the goal. Sari would score again in the 78th minute. Surrounded by Fenerbahçe defenders, Sari shot a weak shot that confused Volkan Demirel, and trickled by Demirel on the left hand side of the goal. Eskişehirspor was up 2-0 and Fenerbahçe seemed to find nothing in attack afterwards. Diego Lugano would score a goal in stoppage time to make it 2-1, but that would be the final. Fenerbahçe has now lost three straight league matches, and is now tied on points with Beşiktaş with 31, with Fenerbahçe having better goal differential.
With both of the top two slipping, the door has been pried open to the top. Bursaspor and Kayserispor, who were third and fifth repectively coming into the weekend, play against each other on Sunday. A Bursaspor win would mean that Bursaspor would take the lead, while a Kayserispor win would potentially take them to third place. Galatasaray can take the top spot if they beat Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor and Bursaspor loses. Should both Galatasaray and Bursaspor both win, Bursaspor would take the lead based on goal differential, unless Galatasaray wins by four or more goals.