Curtain falls on Turkish Süper Lig’s first half with Sivas in lead

Curtain falls on Turkish Süper Lig’s first half with Sivas in lead

Özgür Korkmaz - ISTANBUL
Curtain falls on Turkish Süper Lig’s first half with Sivas in lead

Players of Sivasspor, Turkish Süper Lig’s winter champion, are seen during a training session ahead of the last game of the season’s first half.

The Turkish top-tier football league’s first half of the 2019-2020 season will be completed with Week 17 games to be played this weekend.

Surprise leader Sivasspor is guaranteed to be crowned the winter champion of the Turkish Süper Lig going into the last game of the first half of the season with 34 points, four points ahead of closest rival Başakşehir.

Sivasspor will host Göztepe on Dec. 29, while Başakşehir takes on Kasımpaşa in Istanbul on Dec. 28.

Sivasspor coach Rıza Çalımbay is proud of his side’s position but cautions that the squad needs reinforcements if it is to go all the way.

“We have come where we are now by working hard, not by chance, and that makes us extremely happy,” he said.“But we need reinforcements. We want to maintain our good performances in the league, while also focusing on the cup competition. I’m aware that Sivasspor is not a club that can pay huge money to buy players, but we need to add three to four new names to our team.”

Çalımbay added that he had never said “we are playing for the title” and had warned his players about not being too aggressive on the pitch.

Trabzon hosts Kayseri

Trabzonspor, which sits in the third spot with 29 points, entertains cellar-dweller Kayserispor on Dec. 28, while Rizespor will take on Fenerbahçe on Dec. 29.

Fenerbahçe collected 28 points in 16 games, putting it in the fourth place following a 3-1 victory against Beşiktaş last weekend in an Istanbul derby.

Beşiktaş was to play Gençlerbirliği at home in the opening of Week 17 games late on Dec. 27.

Defending champion Galatasaray fell away in the title race as it moved down to the seventh spot with 24 points after last week’s 2-1 loss at Göztepe.

Galatasaray will host Antalyaspor at home in Istanbul on Dec. 28, and experienced coach Fatih Terim will have three weeks to rebuild his squad and re-energize his players as they aim for a third league title in a row.

Elsewhere in the final week of the Süper Lig’s first half, Ankaragücü wants to return to winning ways after 10 games, seven of which it lost, when its hosts Denizlispor on Dec. 28.

On Dec. 29, Alanyaspor plays Konyaspor at home and Malatyaspor visits Gaziantep.

The second half of the Turkish Süper Lig will kick off on Jan. 19 weekend, and the last games of the season will be played on May 17.