Galatasaray lifts trophy, Istanbul BB goes down on dramatic day
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
An Istanbul BB player reacts after his team is relegated, while champion Galatasaray (top) and Akhisar were the celebrating sides. AA photoGalatasaray lifted its championship trophy as Istanbul BB was the losing side in a dramatic relegation battle of the Spor Toto Super League on May 18.
The Lions beat Trabzonspor 2-0 in a match the sole meaning of which was to precede the hosts’ 19th Super League title celebrations.
The real tension and drama, however, was elsewhere, as Istanbul BB lost the relegation while Kardemir Karabükspor and Akhisar stayed in the top-flight.
Istanbul BB lost 2-1 to Kasımpaşa, while Karabük and Akhisar won to survive in the Super League.
The Galatasaray vs. Trabzonspor game started five minutes later than the other three matches to coincide with 19:05, to signify the club’s foundation year.
The Istanbul giants had already guaranteed the championship on May 5 when they crushed Sivasspor 4-2. “I congratulate my players and everyone who has a share in this championship,” said coach Fatih Terim.
Terim watched the match from the stands because last month he was hit with a nine-game ban by the Turkish Football Federation over a furious outburst against the referee during a league game.
The team’s management had announced earlier that there would be no big celebrations because of the May 11 bomb attacks in a Turkish town near the Syrian border that killed 52 people, and the murder of a 19-year-old Fenerbahçe fan on May 12.
This year’s victory for Galatasaray means a 19th title, breaking the deadlock with its archrival, and another Istanbul giant, Fenerbahçe, who has won 18.
Celebrations delayed until next season
After the final whistle, Galatasaray players held the trophy and made the rounds at the stadium, but the board said the real celebrations would be held at the beginning of next season.
In another part of the city, there was sorrow, as Istanbul BB ended its six-year top-flight success with a bitter defeat to city neighbor Kasımpaşa.
Istanbul BB had successful spells in its first four seasons, but has been flirting with relegation in the last two seasons, especially after losing long-time serving coach Abdullah Avcı to a national team job in late 2011.
The team was still enjoying a mid-table run earlier this season, but plummeted after selling Cameroon forward Pierre Webo to Fenerbahçe in January. Webo was the team’s top scorer with nine goals halfway through the season.
It was almost the opposite for Akhisar, whose fortunes changed after signing Greek striker Theofanis Gekas from Levante in January. Akhisar, which ended the first part of the season at the bottom of the standings, survived, thanks to 12 goals in just 15 matches from Gekas.