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TURKEY > Turkish league action returns

ESKİŞEHİR - Hürriyet Daily News

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Eskişehirspor made an early start to the new season with continental games against St. Johnstone and Marseille (pictured). AFP photo

Eskişehirspor made an early start to the new season with continental games against St. Johnstone and Marseille (pictured). AFP photo

The Spor Toto Super League action returns with tonight’s Eskişehirspor vs. Akhisar match, marking the start of the 55th season of top-flight Turkish football.

The Turkish Football Federation ditched the tradition of having the defending champion open the season last year. The 2010-2011 champion, Fenerbahçe, which proceeded to start the 2011-2012 season under the cloud of a match-fixing case, was not scheduled to play the opening game of the season last year and the same will apply this weekend.

Holder Galatasaray starts its title defense against Kasımpaşa in the final match of the first round, on Aug. 20. There will be six games that played on Aug. 18 and 19.

Tonight, Eskişehirspor hosts Akhisar to kick off the new season. The match marks the start of a new era for Akhisar, which won promotion from the League One, after finishing the season in second place in the standings.

Akhisar, a tiny district in the Aegean province of Manisa with a population of around 100,000 people, will be represented in the top-flight league for the first time in its history. In a strange twist of fate, Manisaspor, the team of the province’s central city, was relegated last season, so the two sides will not be playing a local derby in the Super League.

Eskişehirspor made an early start to the season due to its European competition appearance. The Red-Blacks replaced Beşiktaş, which was kicked out of the competition due to financial irregularities, played in the Europa League last month.

The team beat St. Johnstone of Scotland in the second qualifying round of the competition, but was knocked out after meeting France’s Marseille.

Tonight’s game at the Eskişehir Atatürk Stadium starts at 9 p.m.

August/17/2012

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