Galatasaray claims record 23rd Turkish league title

Galatasaray claims record 23rd Turkish league title

Galatasaray claims record 23rd Turkish league title

Turkish giant Galatasaray has claimed its 23rd Turkish Süper Lig title on night of May 30 with a 4-1 win over Ankaragücü in its penultimate match of the season, with a double from Mauro Icardi and further goals from Barış Alper Yılmaz and Sergio Oliveira.

It was the first time the Istanbul club has claimed the league title since the 2018-19 season.

Galatasaray started the match brightly and took the lead in the 17th minute through Icardi. The Argentine striker scored his 21st goal of the season with a close-range finish.

Ankaragücü equalized six minutes later through Felicio Milson, but Galatasaray regained the lead in the 38th minute through Icardi again. This time, the striker headed home from a cross by Kerem Aktürkoğlu.

Galatasaray extended its lead in the 73rd minute through Barış Alper Yılmaz, with the Turkish midfielder scoring after dribbling past Ankaragücü goalkeeper Gökhan Akkan.

Portuguese midfielder Oliveira scored a fourth goal for Galatasaray in the 79th minute to seal the victory, heading home from a corner kick.

The victory lifted Galatasaray onto 82 points, five points ahead of its second-placed rival Fenerbahçe, which beat Antalyaspor 2-0 at home on May 30.

Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe are set to play against each other in their final match of the season on June 4.

Both sides will win automated three points in their last league games since the fixture pits them against two teams that withdrew from the league competition.

Galatasaray fans paraded through the streets of Istanbul and many other cities in cars, sounding horns and waving flags in the club’s red and yellow colors.

It was an emotional night for Galatasaray coach Okan Buruk, who won his first league trophy as a player of the club 30 years ago in Ankara.

“I won my first championship as a footballer here on May 30, 1993,” he said at a post-game press conference.

“Exactly 30 years later, I am winning my first championship as Galatasaray coach. Also, it is very important to win the cup in the capital Ankara on the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Both facts make me very happy and proud.”

Buruk, who is enjoying his second Süper Lig trophy after leading Başakşehir to its first-ever title in 2020-2021 season, gave the biggest credit for the success to his players.

“We have come a long way and today was the final,” he said.

“First of all, I would like to thank my players for making Galatasaray fans, me, our president, our management, the whole community happy with this victory. They are very important, very precious to me.”

The successful coach has one last target for the season ahead of him.

“Now we will have a quick rest, and start our preparations for the next match,” he said. “Hopefully, we will complete the league by winning the derby match.”

The race for the championship had intensified in recent weeks, with Galatasaray in consistently impressive form throughout the season.

Led by Argentinian forward Icardi and Belgian Dries Mertens, the team thrilled fans with their attacking prowess and defensive solidity.

The other of the big three Istanbul clubs, Beşiktaş, is third on 74 points, while last season’s champion, Trabzonspor, is in fifth place after May 30’s games.

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