Galatasaray out to retain league title in front of sell-out crowd
Galatasaray players celebrate the winning goal by Dutchman Wesley Sneijder (14) against Kardemir Karabükspor in the Spor Toto Super League. The Lions are currently on a six-match winning run.Galatasaray plans to claim its 19th Spor Toto Super League title with a victory over Sivasspor on May 5.
The Lions are seven points ahead of their archrival Fenerbahçe, and will retain their title as long as they win at least one of their remaining three matches in the Super League.
With the two bitter rivals set to meet next week, Galatasaray will without a doubt want to wrap up the title to ease the tension in the remaining two match days.
Tickets for the title-decider sold out within minutes on May 2, giving a clue about the atmosphere the night of May 5.
Assistant coach Ümit Davala said, “We want to win the title in front of our home fans in the Sivasspor game.”
Davala has been leading the team the last two weeks due to coach Fatih Terim’s nine-match ban. Terim will again be absent from the touchline, due to his outburst at referee Süleyman Abay during last month’s Mersin İdman Yurdu game, but Galatasaray has done well without “the Emperor.”
The Lions are on a six-match winning streak, and three of those games came during Terim’s suspension.
Even though he will not be on the touchline, Terim is inching closer to his 19th trophy as a Galatasaray coach and likely to add to his record five Super League titles. Sivasspor, however, aims to pull an upset for Galatasaray. The Central Anatolian team enjoyed a crucial 4-1 win over Istanbul BB, getting an edge in the relegation battle, and will also focus on advancing to the Turkish Cup final.
Sivasspor won the semifinal first-leg game against Trabzonspor 2-1 and sees the Galatasaray game as a test for the cup clash.
“Playing against Galatasaray before Trabzonspor will be an advantage, because we will play in the same atmosphere in Trabzon,” said coach Rıza Çalımbay. “We know Galatasaray’s strength, and we know that we have a tough task, but we are aiming for a good result before the cup game. We are aiming for nothing else.”
Elsewhere, Fenerbahçe will try to return to Turkey, after missing out on its bid for a maiden Europa League final midweek. On May 2 Fenerbahçe lost 3-1 to Benfica to be knocked out of European competition, but it needs a victory over Istanbul BB, even if it is for securing the second spot for a Champions League berth.
Akhisar, right above Istanbul BB with 36 points, visits Medical Park Antalyaspor in a crucial game, while Kardemir Karabükspor, with 37 points, hosts Gaziantepspor, which has 39 points. Bottom dweller Mersin İdman Yurdu, which has already lost the relegation battle, hosts Sanica Boru Elazığspor, which has 38 points.
All five games, with direct effect on title and relegation battles, start at 8 p.m. on May 5. Earlier, Beşiktaş visits Eskişehirspor at 4 p.m.
On May 4, Orduspor could be relegated with a defeat to Bursaspor. In another game, Kayserispor and Trabzonspor meet in a mid-table battle.
Gençlerbirliği and Kasımpaşa met on the opening match day of the Spor Toto Super League’s 32nd round on May 3.