Beşiktaş on tough test against Bursa
AA PhotoSpor Toto Super League leader Beşiktaş will have a tough home game this weekend when it hosts fourth-placed Bursaspor.
The Istanbul club’s home performances this season have been worse than its away games, having suffered two of its three losses in home games, while its two draws so far were also at home.
Beşiktaş was also knocked out of the Ziraat Turkish Cup competition midweek with a 1-0 loss to Division One club Kayserispor, and now has the league competition to hang onto for a trophy.
“The way we played deserved the loss,” Beşiktaş coach Slaven Bilic said after the game. “Now, it’s time to focus on the Europa and Turkish Super Leagues, because we’ve got tough matches coming up with Liverpool and Bursaspor.”
Bursaspor, on the other hand, has been unbeaten in its last six league games and advanced to the quarterfinals in the Ziraat Turkish Cup through penalties against Istanbul Başakşehir.
Bursaspor will also rely on the services of its Brazilian striker Fernandao, who is the league’s top scorer with 13 goals.
Beşiktaş’s game will be tough, but he will do his best to help his teammates grab a victory, the striker told Bursaspor’s official website.
“I’m very happy to be here now and I am focused on the upcoming games, not my future career,” said Fernandao, whose contract with the club expires at the end of the season.
“Bursaspor is great club; we are having a great season, and I hope that I will continue to be a part of this club,” he added.
Bursaspor coach Şenol Güneş, meanwhile, was cautious.
“I’m happy to have advanced, but I do not want to say much about the play,” the former Turkish international coach said after the Başakşehir game.
“We failed to get the tempo going and I’m not happy with it,” said the coach, who added that his side should not make similar mistakes against Beşiktaş.
The game on Feb. 15 will be played at Atatürk Olympic Stadium, since Beşiktaş’s new home Vodafone Arena is still under construction.
Also on Feb. 15 in the Spor Toto Super League, Çaykur Rizespor hosts Mersin İdmanyurdu, Sivasspor travels to Torku Konyaspor and Trabzonspor takes on Istanbul Başakşehir at home.
On Feb. 14, second-placed Fenerbahçe is to visit Gaziantepsor, hoping to extend its away game winning streak.
Fenerbahçe has won its last four away games, and with one point separating the club from leader Beşiktaş, a victory is crucial for Fenerbahçe for its hopes of clinching the league trophy.
Fenerbahçe midfielder Emre Belözoğlu, who has fully recovered from an injury, is expected to be in the starting lineup for the first time in four weeks.
In Feb. 14’s other games, Kardemir Karabükspor hosts Kasımpaşa and Kayseri Erciyesspor visits Akhisar Belediye.
The last two games of Week 20 in the Spor Toto Super League will be played Feb. 16, when third-placed Galatasaray entertains cellar-dweller Balıkesirspor and Gençlerbirliği, which beat Eskişehirspor 3-0 on Feb. 12, will aim for a repeat of that success in an away game this time.