Galatasaray to brave city rival to defend seat

Galatasaray to brave city rival to defend seat

Galatasaray to brave city rival to defend seat

Istanbul’s Galatasaray, who claimed the driver’s seat last week, will visit its Istanbul rival Kasımpaşa on Feb. 18 to sustain its lead.

“I think the title race will last until the end of the season,” Galatasaray’s Sofiane Feghouli said on the sidelines of a training.

“We should focus on what we should do rather than what our rivals can,” he said, adding that remaining in winning ways against Kasımpaşa was important.

Galatasaray’s assistant coach Hasan Şaş, a former club legend, said the team was motivated by coming from behind and achieving the leader’s spot.

He said the team would miss Younès Belhanda, who was sent off last week when Galatasaray beat Antalyaspor 3-0, climbing to one point ahead of Başakşehir, which suffered a devastating 2-0 loss at home to Fenerbahçe on Feb. 11.

The assistant coach also wished good luck to Beşiktaş, an Istanbul rival who will visit Bayern Munich on Feb. 20 for the first stage of a Champions League round of 16 matchup.

Başakşehir will visit Trabzonspor to wrap its wounds in one of the most difficult away games of the season.

Trabzonspor enjoys welcoming back striker Burak Yılmaz from injury and playmaker Yusuf Yazıcı, who was suspended last week.

Third-spot Fenerbahçe will host Alanyaspor on Feb. 17 without striker Vincent Janssen and defender Martin Skrtel, who are still injured.

The Istanbul side wants to extend its 14-game record of no losses.

Alanyaspor’s Barış Başdaş said Fenerbahçe was strong at home but “all teams can be beaten.”

Antalyaspor, just above the relegation line, will take on Kayserispor the same day as Sivasspor will host another struggling team, Ankara’s Osmanlıspor.

Bursaspor will play at home against Malatyaspor on Feb. 18. Karabükspor, who is at the bottom with only 12 points in the first 21 weeks, will host Akhisarspor.

In the closing game of the week, Gençlerbirliği, another Ankara team will host İzmir’s Göztepe, who is looking for a spot to attend the European competition next year. 

Göztepe has not won for the past five weeks but manager Taner Tuna said they had a tough fixture, which included matchups with Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor.

“We will take the Göztepe fans back to Europe,” he said.