Başakşehir gives Beşiktaş heavy wound in title race
ISTANBULTurkish Super League’s second-spot Medipol Başakşehir, the dark horse of the season, handed defending champion Beşiktaş a major wound, if not vital, beating the leader 3-1 late on April 30.
The home side began the game at a fast pace and took an early 3-0 lead with back-to-back goals from 19-year-old Cengiz Ünder and Emmanuel Adebayor in the first 18 minutes.
Beşiktaş eventually managed to balance the play in the second half and found a late goal from substitute Demba Ba, but failed to change the outcome.
Başakşehir’s veteran striker, Adebayor, meanwhile, gave Beşiktaş defenders a hard time, particularly in long balls from his defenders at times of trouble.
Known for his cautious statements, Başakşehir coach Abdullah Avcı said after the game that it was a very successful season for his side regardless of what the outcome would be.
“A coach and players would want all cups. But whatever the result is, we did things as precious as clinching the title,” he said, while commenting on an increasing chance for finishing the season at the top.
The coach praised Ünder, his rising star, vowing to give him all the support for higher goals.
Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş was upset after the game.
“We have had a concentration problem right from the kick-off of the match and looked too soft on the pitch,” he said.
“We apologize to our supporters for letting them down, but we will recover quickly and do our best to win our remaining fixtures,” he added.
With the win, Başakşehir rose to 60 points - only four behind Beşiktaş - with five more games before the end of the season.
Beşiktaş on April 7 will face the third-place Fenerbahçe, which beat Çaykur Rizespor 2-1 earlier in the day thanks to a buzzer by Moussa Sow in Istanbul to reach 56 points.
Başakşehir on April 5 will visit Antalyaspor, which is struggling for a spot to join the UEFA Europa League next season.