Fenerbahçe plays Akhisar as league competition intensifies
AA photoSpor Toto Super League leader Fenerbahçe travels to Akhisar Belediye this weekend, as the race for the league title and European competition berths intensifies.
Fenerbahçe took over the league lead last weekend by winning 2-0 against Beşiktaş, which has a game in hand. The Istanbul club has won seven of its last 10 league games, losing only once, and wants to continue its good form against Akhisar on March 6.
Fenerbahçe midfielder Volkan Şen, who was on the score sheet in the victory against Beşiktaş, said the team highly desired claiming the title.
“To win championships is my biggest dream,” said Volkan, who moved to Istanbul form Bursaspor at the beginning of this season and was part of the Bursaspor team when it won the league title in 2010.
“Fenerbahçe is a team that always plays for the title. We have many games to come, but we really want to win the title with this squad,” he added.
Akhisar, on the other hand, is vying for a top four finish to win a European berth for next season. The competition for the tickets is a tough one, with Torku Konyaspor sitting in third spot with 40 points, one point ahead of Başakşehir and three ahead of Galatasaray and Akhisar.
Defending champion Galatasaray, which plays Başakşehir at home on March 6, desperately needs the European berth after it was banned from continental cups for one year by UEFA for failing to fulfill the financial fair play requirements.
If Galatasaray manages to finish in the top four this season, it will not be allowed to join the Europa League next season, thereby allowing the club to serve its penalty this season. If not, the penalty will carry over to next season.
Galatasaray is also going through a coaching crisis. The club appointed its youth coach to manage the first team after Mustafa Denizli quit on March 1, three months after taking the job.
The resignation caused more turmoil in a club already hit by disappointments at home and abroad.
Galatasaray said in a statement that Orhan Atik, the team’s U-21 coach, would manage the side until the end of the season.
Denizli had taken over in November 2015 after former coach Hamza Hamzaoğlu left after less than a year at the helm.
The Istanbul Lions have struggled this season, standing fifth in the domestic league. They were knocked out of the Europa League last week.
In other league games this weekend, on March 5 Kayserispor hosts Gençlerbirliği, Gaziantepspor travels to Osmanlıspor and Bursaspor takes on Çaykur Rize at home.
On March 6 Torku Konyaspor plays Trabzonspor and Kasımpaşa hosts Antalyaspor.