Beşiktaş faces Trabzon challenge to defend top spot
Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor, the two remaining Turkish teams in the UEFA competitions, are set to battle each other in a crucial league game followed closely by rivals. AA PhotoTurkey’s Spor Toto Super League leader Beşiktaş will face Trabzonspor, the Black Sea giant that has enjoyed a comeback under new coach Ersun Yanal, in the game of the week on Dec. 7 in the Central Anatolian province of Konya.
A Ziraat Turkey Cup game against third division team Sarıyerspor on Dec. 4 turned out to be fine training for his club on the eve of the Trabzonspor match, Beşiktaş coach Slaven Bilic said in his post-game interview.
The Black Eagles started their cup campaign with four goals on Sarıyerspor.
“Two teams that have achieved good results in the Europe League will face off,” Bilic said about the upcoming match. “Trabzonspor had some trouble at the beginning of the season, but today they are in good shape.”
However, the coach said he believed in the self-confidence and performance of his players.
Trabzonspor trashed visiting Gençlerbirliği last week 4-1 to win its second game in a row under Yanal, who replaced Bosnian coach Valid Halilhodzic.
Paraguayan Oscar Cardozo, who scored a hat-trick against Gençler, climbing to second on the list of top scorers in the league, should be Trabzon’s largest threat on the Beşiktaş goal.
However, his counterpart, Demba Ba, has been shouldering Beşiktaş, both in league and UEFA games, and Beşiktaş striker Mustafa Pekdemek will miss the Trabzon battle due to a red card received in the Karabük game.
Trabzon, which suffered a draw against third division underdogs Keçiören Gücü, is also assertive. A club spokesperson told Anadolu Agency he had confidence for a win “if the referee does not make big mistakes.”
“Mete Kalkavan is a young referee,” he said, “He does not have experience in such big games and I hope he will not be influenced.”
Meanwhile, Beşiktaş has announced that fans who bought tickets for the Asteras Tripolis Europa League game on Nov. 27, but who could not make it to the Greek city due to a strike in in the neighboring country, will be granted free tickets for the Dec. 11 game against Tottenham, a decisive fixture for the group leadership, at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadium.
The club also decreased their usual ticket prices to net more fans during a season where they are playing without a home pitch as re-constriction work at İnönü continues.
Trabzon will play away against Legia Warszawa in a bid to supplant the Polish side at the head of the section, as it has also already guaranteed to qualify for the knock-off stage.
Galatasaray eyes top seat
Following one point behind Beşiktaş, Galatasaray aims at winning against Akhisar Belediye and climbing to the top spot in the league standings if its rival loses points.
Galatasaray appointed its former midfielder and current Turkey assistant coach Hamza Hamzaoğlu as its new coach Dec. 1 after parting ways with Italian Cesare Prandelli.
Fenerbahçe also has a chance for the top spot if Beşiktaş and Galatasaray both lose points and it wins against Balıkesirspor at the bottom of the standings in the Dec. 6 away game.
The match week will start with a Torku Konyaspor – Mersin İdmanyurdu game.