Beşiktaş tops league as cards reshuffle
AA PhotoBeşiktaş reclaimed the top seat in the Spot Toto Super League thanks to an injury time winner against Karabükspor in the closing game of the week.
The Istanbul side, which plays home games in Ankara due to the reconstruction at its stadium, started the April 27 game in an attacking mode and went ahead after 25 minutes with a bullet header from Canadian midfielder Atiba Hutchinson.
The relegation-bound Karabükspor pushed hard for the equalizer but cooled down after goalkeeper Boy Waterman was sent off for handling the ball outside the box. The Eagles took their one-goal lead into the half but played only 16 minutes with a man advantage, until Necip Uysal was sent off in the 68th minute.
The black-and-whites could not prevent the visitors from leveling the score through Musa Çağıran’s header in the 79th minute.
With relentless attacks from both flanks, the Black Eagles tried to regain the lead for the remainder of the match only to wait until the final minute of stoppage-time for the winner. Substitute Cenk Tosun produced a header which secured all three points for Beşiktaş and launched the club back to the top of the standings.
“We recorded a valuable victory at a very critical time,” said Beşiktaş coach Salven Bilic after the game. “It was a dramatic finish, but thanks to a brilliant goal from Tosun, we managed to come out on top. I must admit we were a bit lucky to win this one because they covered us well and did not give us much space throughout the game. If we could have made it 2-0, things would have been a lot easier.”
An angry Karabük coach Yılmaz Vural blamed bad luck for the loss and said the referee was too generous for adding seven injury minutes to the end of the game.
A day earlier, Galatasaray had taken the helm for one day from Fenerbahçe, after beating a challenging Gaziantepspor 1-0 at home.
Galatasaray, the Istanbul giants, increased the pressure on Gaziantepspor starting from the beginning of the game, but could not find the deadlock-breaking goal until the 85th minute.
Defender Hakan Balta, who had not scored in the league until April 26, scored the header after a corner with five minutes to go in the game.
With these results, Beşiktaş and Galatasaray now have a league-leading 61 points, as Fenerbahçe, which drew with a resilient Eskişehirspor 1-1 on April 25, follows from one point behind.
In a mid-standings clash on April 24, Mersin İdmanyurdu beat Medicana Sivasspor 2-1 away.
Bursaspor swept away Istanbul Başakşehir, one of the two main rivals for the fourth seat in the standings, with a 4-1 win on April 25.
Trabzonspor, another bidder for the spot, drew 1-1 with Gençlerbirliği.
Balıkesirspor and SAİ Kayseri Erciyesspor drew 1-1, as both are anchored to the bottom of the league and feeling the heat of relegation.
Torku Konyaspor beat Akhisar Belediye 2-1 as Çaykur Rize bowed 3-1 to Kasımpaşa.
The league leader will take a hard away game test against Trabzonspor this week, as Fenerbahçe will take on Balıkesir.
Galatasaray will visit Akhisar before the last five weeks of the league race.