Galatasaray eyes home win for 22th title
The Turkish Super League will reach its climax on May 19 when Galatasaray and Başakşehir, the two teams that share 66 points at the top of the standings, engage in an almost final battle one week before the season ends.
Galatasaray, the host, is high in morale after clinching the Ziraat Turkey Cup on May 15 and is now looking for a domestic double, according to its ambitious coach Fatih Terim.
“Galatasaray will play to win with 55,000 fans behind it,” he said, after the cup game against Akhisarspor.
“God willing, it is going to be a great game and end with our victory,” he said.
“This is the week for two cups,” he said, confirming his confidence in the team.
A win will bring Galatasaray the title on its home pitch with a goal difference advantage to its rival regardless of its last game against Sivasspor away in the closing game of the season since the two contenders were held by a draw in the first half matchup.
Defending champion Galatasaray is the most successful team in the Turkish league history with 21 trophies in its museum.
Galatasaray’s arch-rival Fenerbahçe, which is experiencing its worst season ever, follows with 19 titles.
Terim, who has had an on-and-off relation with the Lions since 1996 when he first took the helm as coach has clinched so far one third of all of Galatasaray’s domestic league victories.
Başakşehir coach Abdullah Avcı, for his side, is worried over the health condition of prolific midfielder Emre Belözoğlu, who was injured last week in the league game against Ankaragücü.
His team defeated the Ankara side 2-1 on May 12 to stick with the race.
Despite going down 0-1 after first half, it came back in the second half with goals from Riad Bajic and one-time wonder-kid Robinho.
Third-spot Beşiktaş will play against Black Sea giant Trabzonspor one day before the derby in hopes to continue its tiny hopes for securing a spot for next season’s Champions League, since Turkey sends two teams to Europe’s top-tier competition.
The Black Eagles are four points behind the top two and they have a goal difference disadvantage to both of them.
Another significant matchup of the week will take stage in Bursa on May 19. Bursaspor with 33 points will host İzmir’s Göztepespor, which is one spot above the host with 34 points, in a game that might decide which of the two will be relegated.
Turkey Cup runner-up Akhisarspor has already been relegated and played against Kayserispor on May 19.
Another team under the relegation line, Erzurumspor, will play against Fenerbahçe on May 20 in a bid to improve its 32 points in 32 games and stick to the Turkish Super League.