Beşiktaş eyes remaining in winning ways
Turkish Super League’s third-spot Beşiktaş will pay a crucial visit to Yeni Malatyaspor, its closest follower, on Feb. 15 in a bid to continue its recovery in the second half of the season, mainly with the arrivals of newcomers.
The Istanbul giant, which won only seven games out of 17 in the first half, achieved three wins in the first four games after the winter break, dropping only two points when it was held by a draw against cellar-dweller Erzurumspor.
Former Beşiktaş striker Burak Yılmaz, who arrived back at the Black and Whites before the end of the closure of the winter transfer window, scored twice to help his side win 2-0 against Bursaspor last week.
“We prevented their fast-paced attacks from the start and kept the game under control until the final whistle. Thanks to our disciplined and aggressive play, we got what we wanted. I am satisfied with our performance and result,” said Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş after the game, also ruling out rumors that he was offered the national team head coach seat. This was before the Turkish Football Federation terminated its contract with Mircea Lucescu on Feb. 11.
A week earlier, Japan international Shinji Kagawa, another new signing, came off the bench by the end of the away game against Antalya on Feb. 3 to score twice for Beşiktaş in a 6-2 win.
French defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, who flew from PSV Eindhoven for a reported fee of 350,000 euros, did not lose much time to get integrated with the team that conceded only three goals in four games.
Beşiktaş has too much to depend on its new defense strategy since Yeni Malatyaspor, a dark horse of the season, has a track record of not losing the games that it scores first.
On Feb. 16, another Istanbul giant which feels the heat of the relegation line will host Konyaspor, a competitive side for a season-end spot for qualifying for European competitions.
Earlier in the day, Akhisar, at the bottom of the standings, will host the capital city’s Ankaragücü and Rizespor will visit Bursa.
Galatasaray, second-spot title contender with 39 points, six less than leader Başakşehir and three more than Beşiktaş, will visit on Feb. 17 Istanbul’s Kasımpaşaspor and coach Fatih Terim’s side is high in morale due to a 3-1 home win against a strong Trabzonspor last week.
Still on Feb. 17, Trabzon will take on Alaynaspor and Erzurum will face a tough Sivasspor test at home. Kayserispor will take on İzmir’s Göztepe.
In the closing game of the week on Feb. 18, the leader will visit Antalyaspor.