Galatasaray to host Beşiktaş in do-or-die derby
Turkish Super League leader Galatasaray will host second-placed Beşiktaş in a do-or-die game on April 29, just days after Beşiktaş announced that it will refuse to take part in the resumption of another derby against Fenerbahçe scheduled for next week.
The Black Eagles declared on April 26 that they would not take part in the resumption of the Turkish Cup semi-final game against Fenerbahçe, which was abandoned after violence from Fenerbahçe fans in the stadium targeting the Beşiktaş bench.
“We have taken the decision not to take part in the match to be played on May 3,” the club said in a statement.
If Beşiktaş doesn’t play on May 3, Fenerbahçe would be declared the winners by default, making it to the cup final. Underdog Akhisarspor is the first squad to reach the final after eliminating Galatasaray.
Fenerbahçe was playing at home against Beşiktaş when the second leg of the Ziraat Turkey Cup semi-final was stopped in the 57th minute after Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş was struck by an object thrown from the stands.
Güneş needed five stitches in his head after he was taken to hospital following the incident.
The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) ruled on April 25 that the match should resume from the time it stopped but without any spectators. The rivals were locked at 0-0 in the night and 2-2 on aggregate.
Beşiktaş said the decision came as a “huge surprise” that it met with “sorrow and regret.”
The club’s supporters urged Beşiktaş on April 26 to boycott the resumption game in protest at the TFF’s ruling, which it said had no basis in the rules and was far too lenient toward Fenerbahçe.
Beşiktaş said it was convinced the decision was the “most dignified,” adding that the club wanted to ensure its supporters’ voice was heard.
“We have been on the field for 115 years. We have won, had draws or lost on the field. In order not to accept being losers, we will not show up on the field on May 3,” read the official Beşiktaş statement.
Four weeks before the end of the season, Galatarasaray is just one point above Beşiktaş ahead of the league derby. Beşiktaş holds a goal difference advantage due to a 3-0 home win in the first half of the season, which would give the visitor the edge if the two teams end the league campaign on equal points.
Coach Şenol Güneş reportedly told his players during a meeting on April 26 to leave governance issues to the club management and focus on the league.
“Please only think about the Galatasaray game,” Doğan News Agency quoted Güneş as saying.
“If we want to be taste the excitement of the Champions League again next year, we have to win the league,” he said.
Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim is expected to field a team comprised entirely of foreign players. The league’s top striker Bafétimbi Gomis is Terim’s biggest gun, but Güneş will have Pepe’s return from suspension to defend against him.
Just hours before the derby, third-place Başakşehir, which shares 62 points with Beşiktaş, will host Osmanlıspor, an Ankara side battling relegation.
If Galatasaray drops points against Beşiktaş then Başakşehir, last year’s runner-up, will have a chance to top the league.
Fourth-placed Fenerbahçe, still hopeful for the title, will visit city rival Kasımpaşaspor on April 28.
Kayserispor will take on Alanya, struggling Gençelrbirliği will visit Sivasspor, and Antalyaspor will host Trabzonspor on the same day.
Akhisarspor will visit Malatyaspor on April 29 and Bursaspor will clash with Konyaspor in the closing game of the week on April 30.