Galatasaray extends league lead with comeback win
Galatasaray came back from behind against Konyaspor late on March 11 to extend its stay atop the Turkish Super League, in a week that saw title contender Başakşehir suffer a bitter defeat.
“I congratulate my players for not giving up. I have a group of players who like attacking. We did everything we could to score,” Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim said after the game.
The team had a tough time in front of its home fans after Konyaspor took the lead just three minutes into the game.
In-form French striker Bafetimbi Gomis also missed a penalty-kick in the first half, meaning that Galatasaray was 1-0 down at the end of the first 45 minutes.
The second half, however, proved a different story, with Gomis making up for his miss in the first half to score in the 69th minute, equalizing the match with a header.
Galatasaray’s substitute winger Sinan Gümüş then shot his team into the lead in the 84th minute with a superb volley from Japanese full back Yuri Nagatomo’s cross inside the six yard box.
The upcoming March 17 derby away to Fenerbahçe was on Gümüş’s mind after the game.
“I am happy with ending the game with an assist and a goal,” he said in a post-game interview.
“If we manage to pull three points out of the Fenerbahçe game, I believe no one can prevent us from clinching the title. We will go there as the league leader and we want to defend it,” Gümüş said.
Archrivals Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray had battled to a goalless draw at Galatasaray’s Türk Telekom Stadium in the first half of the season.
Sergen Yalçın, who was coaching Konyaspor for the first time in the Galatasaray match after taking over from Mehmet Özdilek, said he was happy with his team’s performance.
“I think we will face a difficult period but we can make it,” Yalçın said, commenting on his side’s battle against relegation.
The comeback win increased Galatasaray’s points total to 53, three points above second-placed Beşiktaş and third-placed Başakşehir.
On March 10, Beşiktaş defeated Ankara’s Gençlerbirliği 1-0 thanks to a single goal by Talisca. The Black Eagles thus claimed second spot by goal difference from Başakşehir, which lost to Alanyaspor 4-1 on March 9.
Beşiktaş and Başakşehir will now face off in a crunch clash at Başakşehir’s home stadium on March 18.
Fenerbahçe, meanwhile, defeated Yeni Malatyaspor 2-0 on March 11 to continue its pursuit of the top three teams, reaching 47 points.
Elsewhere, Sivasspor and Malatyaspor drew 2-2 on March 10, while Osmanlıspor beat Istanbul’s Kasımpaşa 2-1.
On March 11, Kayseri beat Karabük 3-2 and Göztepe beat Antalyaspor 3-1.