Galatasaray, Beşiktaş meet in crucial game for title chase
The two teams’ first meeting this season was marred by a supporter invasion on the last minute of the game.Galatasaray hosts Beşiktaş on Feb. 22 in a crucial match between the two Istanbul rivals’ chase for Spor Toto Super League leader Fenerbahçe.
The two teams have reignited the title race after both going unbeaten in the four matches in the second part of the season.
Fenerbahçe had opened a 10-point lead at the top of the league halfway through to the season, but with two away defeats in four matches, the title race is now wide open. The winner will pile pressure on Fenerbahçe, which will not play Sanica Boru Elazığspor until Feb. 24.
Neck and neck battle for the title
The Yellow Canaries are still leading the league with 47 points, but Beşiktaş has 42 points and Galatasaray has 41, as Turkish football’s perennial “big three” promise a neck and neck battle for the title.
The derby at the Türk Telekom Arena will be the first time the two Istanbul rivals face off, following an eventful game in the first part of the season.
Fans invaded the pitch at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in the last seconds of the game as Galatasaray was leading Beşiktaş 2-1 Sept. 22, 2013. Referee Fırat Aydınus then called off the game and the Turkish Football Federation ordered a 3-0 win for Galatasaray.
The match was also Fatih Terim’s last as the Galatasaray coach and only days after the victory “the Emperor” was fired following a string of internal problems with the board.
Coach Roberto Mancini will have his first derby experience at the Türk Telekom Arena, the 52,000-seat home of Galatasaray.
The derby will also be the last test for Galatasaray before a crucial Champions League round-of-16 game against Chelsea on Feb. 26.
The Galatasaray vs. Beşiktaş derby starts at 7 p.m. and will be officiated by Cüneyt Çakır, the country’s top referee.
Earlier, on Feb. 22, Gaziantepspor will host Akhisar, which targets European Cups qualification after collecting 31 points to be sitting seventh, at the early kick-off at 1:30 p.m. Fifth Kardemir Karabükspor visits relegation battling Kayseri Erciyesspor at 5 p.m.
On Feb. 23, Trabzonspor, which suffered a 2-0 defeat despite battling hard against Juventus in the Europa League midweek, hosts Kayserispor at 7 p.m. At 1:30 p.m., Gençlerbirliği hosts Torku Konyaspor and Kasımpaşa takes on fourth Sivasspor, coached by Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos. Medical Park Antalyaspor hosts Eskişehirspor at 4 p.m.