Başakşehir turns to domestic race after Europa League exit
Coach Abdullah Avcı warned that an exit from European competition will not provide an advantage to Başakşehir domestically, while praising the experience that his relatively low-budget team achieved abroad.
“We played against five teams with five different game plans in European competition,” Avcı said.
“We have important games every week [in the domestic league]. We have to rest properly,” he added.
In order to advance, Başakşehir needed Ludogorets lose out against Hoffenheim in Germany. However, the Ludogorets-Hoffenheim match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Ahead of the weekend’s match Sivasspor coach Samet Aybaba voiced his respect for the league leader but said “all teams can be beaten.”
“We know about the strength of our rival, which has high-quality players,” Aybaba said.
The second Turkish team in the Europa League, Konyaspor, was also eliminated late on Dec. 7 following a 1-1 draw with Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.
In its last match of Group I, the green-whites bid farewell to the tournament after finishing third in the group. Konyaspor’s French midfielder Mehdi Bourabia scored the goal for his team, sending the ball into the opposition net at the 15th minute. But in the second half of the match Konyaspor defender Ali Turan scored an unfortunate own goal while trying to clear the ball.
The Central Anatolian side, also struggling domestically with only 11 points from its first 15 matches, will take on cellar dweller Karabükspor on Dec. 11 in the closing game of the week.
Beşiktaş, the sole Turkish team in left in European competition, faces a tough trip to Kayserispor on Dec. 10, just one day before the Champions League Round of 16 draw.
Beşiktaş, which on Dec. 6 became the only Turkish team ever to qualify from the Champions League group stage undefeated after a 2-1 win over Leipzig, will now try to focus on the domestic league to continue chasing 29-point Başakşehir from six points behind.
On Dec. 9, second place Galatasaray, which bowed 3-0 to Beşiktaş last week, will host Akhisarspor, hours after the Kasımpaşa-Trabzonspor, Malatyaspor-Göztepe and Antalyaspor-Gençlyerbirliği games.