Leader Galatasaray ready to take on freezing cold in Sivas
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Workers clear the snow and ice from the stands of Sivas’ 4 Eylül Stadium yesterday, hoping to have the stadium ready before tonight’s game against Galatasaray. DHA photoalatasaray will be fighting tonight against Sivasspor, as well as the freezing weather in the central Anatolian province, to extend its lead in the Spor Toto Super League.
The pitch at Sivas’ 4 Eylül Stadium is expected to be in mild condition, thanks to an under-soil heating system, but the temperature, expected to be around minus 10 degrees Celsius, will be a major challenge for the players and the spectators in the stands.
The statistics also back the home side, which has not lost at home since last September, winning seven and drawing six games since then.
Sivasspor coach Rıza Çalımbay hopes to make the best use of his team’s advantages. “Galatasaray has very good players and leads the league, but we have to win if we want to finish the league in a good position,” Çalımbay told reporters on March 3. He defied critics of the team’s defensive style of play, arguing “Sivasspor has enough scoring chances in every game but we fail to convert those chances.”
Another piece of good news for the home side is the return of its chairman, Mecnun Odyakmaz. A court ban on Odyakmaz, who was released pending his match-fixing trial two weeks ago, entering stadiums was lifted on March 2.
Çalımbay said Odyakmaz’s return to the stands meant a lot. “We are happy that he is out and we will do our best to make him happy in the first game he will watch this season,” said the Sivasspor coach.
Galatasaray will want to win the game to carry its nine-point lead over Fenerbahçe, which destroyed Gençlerbirliği 6-1 on March 3.
Fenebahçe’s Miroslav Stoch scored twice in the first half, either side of an effort by Moussa Sow to put the home side in complete command.
Emre Belözoğlu made it 4-0 after 56 minutes and although the visitors pulled a goal back through Soner Aydoğdu’s penalty on the hour, Alex de Souza and Issiar Dia completed the rout.
“This is the normal result Fenerbahçe, the games we dropped points were the abnormal ones,” Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman told reporters after the game.
In other games on March 5, Ankaragücü remained adrift after losing 5-2 at home to Eskişehirspor, Samsunspor won 2-0 at Antalyaspor with a penalty from Theofanis Gekas in the 14th minute and a late goal from Ekigho Ehiosun, while Mersin İdman Yurdu beat Orduspor 1-0 as Spas Delev scored the only goal.
Ankaragücü gained twice through Atilla Garhan and Şerol Demirhan, but each time the lead only lasted a matter of seconds as Diomansy Kamara and Erkan Zengin hit back. Diego Angelo and Kamara then struck again before Alper Potuk completed the scoring 12 minutes from time.