Başakşehir crowned winter champion in Turkish league
After a series of unexpected results have dismantled Galatasaray, Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe in the first half of the Turkish Spor Toto Super League season, it was Başakşehir who was crowned the winter champion with 35 points.
The league leader on Dec. 22 salvaged a 1-1 draw at Alanyaspor to stay atop the league standings, six points clear of defending champion Galatasaray, Trabzonspor, Kasımpaşa and Malatyaspor.
Galatasaray on Dec. 23 returned to winning ways following a four-game winless streak in the league by beating Sivasspor 4-2 at home to climb up to finish the league’s first half in the fifth place on a goal difference from the other three teams.
Trabzonspor’s recent successful run, during which it has won four if its last five league games – including Dec. 23’s 4-1 home win over Rizespor – and losing none, carried the Black Sea side to the second spot.
Malatyaspor dropped one spot to the third following a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Bursaspor on Dec. 23, while Kasımpaşa ran rampage against Beşiktaş to thrash its title hopeful opponent 4-1 to climb up to the fourth place in the standings.
Beşiktaş, which has not won a league game since a 1-0 win over Galatasaray three weeks ago, was in the seventh spot as of Dec. 24 and could drop further based on the results of two games to be played late on Dec. 24 when seventh-placed Antalyaspor was to host Fenerbahçe and Konyaspor in eighth place was scheduled to play at Akhisar.
Fenerbahçe grabbed its first win under new coach Ersun Yanal when it defeated First League side Giresunspor 5-2 in a Ziraat Turkish Cup game on Dec. 20, and would finish the first half of the season out of the relegation zone with a win against Antalyaspor.
Başakşehir coach Abdullah Avcı was still cautious about his side’s title chances despite being crowned winter champion.
“The victory could have gone either way tonight, and it ended in a draw,” Avcı, who has been at the helm of the club based in an Istanbul suburb since 2006, expects a 18-game spell as coach of the Turkish national team in 2011-2013, told a post-game press conference.
Avcı criticized the game’s referee for allowing a rough game.
“I am telling this to keep the players healthy, it is never an excuse to not win,” he added. “I congratulate our opponent. We will try to make fewer mistakes in the second half of the league competition and try to be better at what we already do well.”