Fenerbahçe to defend seat despite defense injuries
AA PhotoTurkish Spor Toto Super League leader Fenerbahçe is set to defend its league lead at home on Nov. 8 against Black Sea underdogs Çaykur Rizespor, but a pileup of injuries threatens to make their task more difficult.
The Canaries were happy Nov. 6 for the arrival of right back Gökhan Gönül, who was injured during the Istanbul derby against Beşiktaş last week.
However, captain Emre Belözoğlu and full back Egemen Korkmaz will miss the ninth week challenge due to injuries, while left back Caner Erkin is also suspended.
Fenerbahçe’s Bruno Alves, who incurred a red card in the Galatasaray derby three weeks ago, may play against Çaykur but coach İsmail Kartal is instead expected to pick Bekir İrtegün and Michal Kadlec for the full-back positions.
The Istanbul side has accumulated 16 points so far, dropping points in two defeats and one draw. Çaykur is 11th with 10 points.
Beşiktaş, meanwhile, looks confident before Istanbul Başakşehirspor, the giant killers-to-be, in a rather smaller Istanbul derby, mainly due to a 2-1 win against Serbia’s FK Partizan in Europa League Group C on Nov. 6. Senegalese striker Demba Ba, who scored the two goals in Istanbul against the Serbians, remains Beşiktaş’s most lethal gun for the closing game of the week on Nov. 9.
Still, Başakşehir, who posted a dramatic 4-0 win against Galatasaray just two weeks ago, has served notice that it is no pushover on its newly pitch.
Besiktas has 14 points and dropped from top to fourth in the standings after the 2-0 loss against Fenerbahçe last week.
Mersin İdmanyurdu, who is just three points behind Fenerbahçe, will take on Balıkesirspor on Nov. 8, as Galatarasaray, one of the three biggest clubs in the country, faces a crash test against Kardemir Karabükspor away, following a series of losses both in the league and the Champions League group stage.
Coach Cesare Prandelli said his side needed more time to get better following a 4-1 defeat on Nov. 4 at Borussia Dortmund. That was the fourth four-goal loss for Galatasaray in the seven official games it has played since Oct. 1, but Prandelli said the team needed improvement and patience.
Trabzonspor, which enjoyed a 1-1 draw Nov. 6 against Belgian side Lokeren in a game to raise hopes of qualification in Group L of the Europe League, will host Torku Konyaspor on Nov. 9. Internal problems might turn into the largest problem for the “Black Sea Storm,” especially with the performance of coach Vahid Halilhodzic being placed firmly under the spotlight. Ersun Yenal, who won the league title last year with Fenerbahçe, did not deny reports on Nov. 6 that claimed that Trabzon contacted him about an offer to take up the reins at the club. However, he said, it was not ethical to conduct talks when a coach is already running the team.
Kayseri Erciyesspor, which achieved its first win two weeks ago, will take on Bursaspor in another Nov. 9 game.