Title hopefuls flawless in Turkish Süper Lig opening week
The title contenders in the Turkish Süper Lig won their games in the opening week of the competition, indicating a tight race until the very end of the season.
Defending champion Beşiktaş beat Rizespor 3-0 at home on Aug. 13 and Fenerbahçe earned a hard-fought 1-0 win against Adana Demirspor on Aug. 15, while Aug. 16’s games saw Trabzonspor thrashing Malatyaspor 5-1 in an away game and Galatasaray wining 2-0 against newcomer Giresunspor.
However, Galatasaray’s victory was marred by a rare incident on football pitches as the Istanbul club’s Brazilian central defender Marcao headbutted and punched teammate Kerem Aktürkoğlu in the second half, which led to a straight red card for Marcao over the violent act.
In the 63rd minute of the game, Marcao suddenly ran towards 22-year-old Turkish winger Aktürkoğlu to headbutt and punch him. Other teammates intervened to stop the incident.
The Brazilian was sent off after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review.
Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim said that “what needs to be done will be done,” but it will not be a rushed decision.
“We will now take a breath, sleep over it. We will not take an impulsive decision,” Terim told a post-game press conference.
“We will start by protecting Kerem’s rights and his youth, giving Marcao the right to speak, but apologizing to everyone for such an incident taking place among Galatasaray players,” he added.
Marcao is expected to be suspended for at least five games by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) for assaulting a player, while Galatasaray fans on social media urged the club to harshly punish the Brazilian player, many even calling for the termination of his contract.
In Malatya, a rampant Trabzonspor hammered Malatyaspor with goals from Anastasios Bakasetas, Anthony Nwakaeme, Gervinho, Marek Hamsik and Djaniny.
The home side’s consolidation goal came from Adem Büyük.
The win carried Trabzonspor to the top of the league table on goal difference.
In Adana, former Real Madrid and Arsenal star Mesut Özil brought victory to Fenerbahçe with a close-range finish in the 46th minute as he netted his first goal for the Istanbul club.
Defending champion Beşiktaş, meanwhile, dominated visiting Rizespor in its win.
Beşiktaş took control of the match at the beginning, with Georges-Kevin Nkoudou scoring the opener in the ninth minute, assisted by Kenan Karaman at Vodafone Park.
In the second half, 38-year-old veteran midfielder Atiba Hutchinson doubled the lead in the 52nd minute, while Cyle Larin’s stoppage time goal declared the score.
Elsewhere in Week 1 games, Karagümrük beat 10-man Gaziantep 3-2, newcomer Altay won 3-0 at home against Kayserispor, Hatayspor was held to a 1-1 draw by Kasımpaşa, Başakşehir lost 1-0 to Alanyaspor in a home game, Antalyaspor and Göztepe shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw and Konyaspor won 1-0 against Sivasspor.
The Süper Lig games are being played in front of fully vaccinated fans under updated COVID-19 measures. Away fans will not be allowed in the stadiums for the entire season.