Başakşehir winner of crucial week in league title race
A 10-man Başakşehir beat defending champion Beşiktaş on the night of March 18, a day after leader Galatasaray was held to a goalless draw at Fenerbahçe, cutting the gap with the Spor Toto Super League leader to one point.
Başakşehir’s goal came in the 28th minute, when a turnover cost visiting Beşiktaş when winger Eljero Elia calmly finished his team’s counterattack.
Junior Caicara was shown his second yellow card in the 61st minute, leaving Başakşehir with 10 men.
Başakşehir has now ousted Beşiktaş from second place with 53 points, one shy of leader Galatasaray.
Beşiktaş, with 50 points, follows Başakşehir in third spot, two points ahead of fourth-placed Fenerbahçe.
Başakşehir coach Abdullah Avcı said a single game would not decide the league champion.
“None of our games are a ‘do or die’ game,” Avcı said during a post-game press conference.
“We were not the loser of the top four last week, now we are the winner. The title race will continue among these four teams,” he said.
Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş blamed individual mistakes for the loss, adding that the home side deserved the victory.
“Lacking proper focus, we made too many uncharacteristic mistakes in tonight’s game,” said the experienced coach, who led his side to the league trophy in the previous two seasons.
“I am not going to hide behind excuses. We did not play well and deserved to lose tonight. We must find a way to get back on track soon,” he added.
The results of the Week 26 games in the Turkish league also heated up the fight against relegation.
Gençlerbirliği scored in the last minute to salvage a 1-1 home draw against Akhisarspor, dropping back to the danger zone with no victories in its last four games.
Its closest opponents were winners, with Konyaspor beating Kayserispor 2-0 at home, Osmanlıspor winning 4-0 at Karabükspor to climb up to the 15th spot on goal difference and Antalyaspor beating 10-man Kasımpaşaspor 3-1 in Istanbul.
Alanyaspor failed to take advantage of a home game, drawing 1-1 with Göztepe, while Bursaspor managed to stay clear of danger for now, with a 1-0 win against Sivasspor in a poor display.
Trabzonspor, meanwhile, grabbed a crucial 4-1 victory over Malatyaspor, climbing up to the fifth spot continuing its chances of winning a ticket to the next season’s Europa League competition.
The league will continue on April 1 following a week’s recess for international friendlies. Turkey will play Ireland on March 23 in Antalya and Montenegro on March 27 in Podgorica.