Fenerbahçe strives to stay in league title race
With seven games to go in the season, Fenerbahçe is in the second spot, four points behind leader Beşiktaş despite playing one more match.
The club wants to follow a 3-1 win at home over Gaziantepspor last weekend with another victory at Başakşehir before sitting out the midweek action to have its bye week, with the league being played with 21 teams.
Speaking after the last week’s win, Emre Belözoğlu, who retired from football at the beginning of the season to become the club’s sporting director and replaced Erol Bulut as the team’s coach last month, said his side would be in the title race until the very end.
Responding to criticism directed at the team’s level of play, the 40-year-old coach said that winning points at this stage of the competition was more important than dominating the pitch.
“Fenerbahçe has its own dynamics,” he said. “If we look at the seasons, the club won titles in the past; there was a dominating style of play on the pitch. Whoever stands in my place would want to go ahead following such a style, but every match comes with a different scenario.”
He said a fluid and attacking style of play was his ultimate goal, adding that staying in the title race was currently more important for his side.
“Fenerbahçe always forces its chances of winning trophy to the very end,” he said.
“We have seven more games to play, and we’ll see what happens next. Hope never dies at Fenerbahçe,” he added.
The Başakşehir tie seems easy for Fenerbahçe on the paper, with the home side having won just twice in its last 15 league matches. The club sits in the 17th spot, trying to avoid becoming the first defending champion to relegate from the top Turkish football league.
Third-placed Galatasaray, trailing Fenerbahçe by four points, after losing two games in a row, strives to return to its winning ways when it visits Göztepe on April 17.
Leader Beşiktaş, which was to play Ankaragücü at home late on April 16, faced further financial troubles on April 15 when it was ordered to pay 17.3 million Turkish Liras ($2.1 million) to its former coach Abdullah Avcı, who is currently at the helm of Trabzonspor, as a compensation for the termination of his contract.
On Thursday, the Turkish Football Federation’s Dispute Resolution Committee (UCK) sent a notice to the club about their decision that Besiktas is liable to pay 17.3 million liras and this amount’s legal interest starting on Jan. 29, 2020, until the payment is done to Avcı, as the UCK found out that Avcı faced an unjust termination of his contract last year.
Besides, the club will also pay the legal expenses worth 520,200 liras ($64,810) to Avcı.
Beşiktaş sacked 57-year-old Avcı in January 2020 following a string of poor results after seven months in charge.