Beşiktaş back in driver’s seat of Turkish league
AA PhotoBeşiktaş reclaimed the top seat in the Super Toto Super League Feb. 8 after four weeks, in a season which has already turned into a Sisyphus effort, only one day after rival Fenerbahçe failed to find the net at home against Black Sea giants Trabzonspor.
The Black Eagles came out flat in the first 45 minutes of their away game against Çaykur Rizespor. Both sides tried to break the deadlock in weak attempts, as Beşiktaş narrowly escaped a nightmare in the remaining 45 minutes, despite two red cards to its rival.
Beşiktaş stepped up a gear with the start of the second half, and got rewarded in the 59th minute when Argentinian playmaker Jose Ernesto Sosa, working a neat pass game with Demba Ba, found the net from a narrow angle. Rize’s Kıvanç Karakaş was immediately sent off by referee Cüneyt Çakır due to bad language after the goal. Still, the ten-man Rize recovered quickly, as Sercan brought the sides on level terms three minutes later with a header following a poor mistake by goalkeeper Tolga Zengin.
After Koray received a red card in the 65th minute and left Rizespor two men short, the game turned in Beşiktaş’ favor once again. The Eagles’ pressure paid off two minutes before full-time, as Demba Ba put them back in front for good with a penalty-kick, granting the Istanbul side its ninth away win in ten away games this season.
“After a poor first half, I told the lads to pull themselves together or otherwise, and they got the message. We picked up a valuable win and three points tonight,” Beşiktaş coach Slaven Bilic said after the game, congratulating Çaykur Rize for a great effort.
“Since we’ve set our eyes on the league title, we have to get used to these types of tough matches,” Sosa said. “After conceding a silly goal, we did not panic and bounced back to life quickly. I am delighted that I was able to help my team with a goal. When I step on that pitch, I am trying to give everything I’ve got.”
Hours earlier, Bursaspor, who will face Beşiktaş next week in Istanbul, beat Ankara side Gençlerbirliği 3-1, coming from behind and continuing its chase far below the top three Istanbul teams.
Mersin İdmanyurdu’s 6-2 win over Istanbul’s Kasımpaşa was an oasis for Turkish fans in a week marked by few goals.
Balıkesirspor at the bottom of the week received a killing strike from Torku Konyaspor in a one-goal home game.
Gaziantep managed to beat SAİ Kayseri Erciyesspor on the relegation line 1-0 away, before it hosts wounded Fenerbahçe next week. The “yellow canaries” could not pass Trabzonspor’s defense on Feb. 7 as a 0-0 draw put the Istanbul side one point behind 44-point Beşiktaş at the end of the week.
Medicana Sivasspor won 2-0 against Akhisar Belediye, surpassing the rivals on the standings.
The week began Feb. 6. with a four-goal İstanbul Başakşehir-Kardemir Karabük draw.