Fenerbahçe maintains pursuit of Galatasaray after hard-fought 1-0 win

Fenerbahçe maintains pursuit of Galatasaray after hard-fought 1-0 win

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Fenerbahçe maintains pursuit of Galatasaray after hard-fought 1-0 win

Christian Baroni's one moment of brilliance was finally enough for Fenerbahçe to clinch a priceless victory. AA photo

The destination of this year’s Spor Toto Super League title is likely to go down to the wire as Fenerbahçe held serve in its race to unseat Galatasaray as league champion, matching the Lions’ 1-0 victory on April 13 with a 1-0 win of their own over Eskişehirspor yesterday.

The Yellow Canaries were made to work for their victory, but the Istanbul side ultimately saw off the Central Anatolians’ challenge thanks to a moment of beauty from Fener midfielder Cristian Baroni, who scored the game’s only goal early in the second half at Istanbul’s Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium.

The Brazilian volleyed home in the 52nd minute following a nice link-up on the edge of the area. The moment of brilliance, however, was the only event to separate the two teams, as mid-table Eskişehir gave the Istanbul giants all they could handle.

Erkan Zengin nearly opened the scoring for the visitors in the eighth minute, but his long-range shot was saved by the woodwork. Fenerbahçe gained the ascendancy after Eskişehir’s early pressure, but the Canaries were unable to find a breakthrough before the end of the half.

Pierre Webo thought he had found the opener for Fenerbahçe right after the restart, but his strike was called off for offside.

Minutes later, it was Eskişehir’s turn to protest a disallowed goal, as Alper Potuk appeared to give the guests the lead, only for the referee to rule that he had directed the ball in with his arm.

The disallowed goal then set the stage for Baroni’s winner. The two sides continued to trade chances, but the score remained 1-0. With the win, Fener remained just four points in arrears of Galatasaray, who triumphed 1-0 over Kardemir Karabükspor away thanks to a goal from Wesley Sneijder; the two sides will meet in round 33 at the Şükrü Saraçoğlu in a match that is likely to determine this year’s league winner.

Elsewhere today, Akhisar Belediye Gençlik took an important step toward avoiding the drop, picking up a well-deserved 1-0 win away to Kasımpaşa. Greek dangerman Theofanis Gekas scored his eighth goal for the Aegean side since coming over from Levante in the winter transfer window. Akhisar moved up to 32 points, just one point from safety.

Kasımpaşa, which was forced to play the fixture behind closed doors due to crowd trouble during their 2-0 win over Bursaspor two weeks ago, saw their dreams of European qualification take a blow, as they fell three points behind Bursa in the race for fourth spot.

In another key relegation fight, Elazığspor picked up a priceless, 1-0 victory at home over Istanbul BB, moving up to 35 points and pushing the Istanbul Municipality-run side deeper into the relegation mire. With just one win in their last 10, Istanbul BB now stands just one point ahead of Akhisar in the last position above the drop.