League leader Galatasaray hopes for easy win at home
Galatasaray players are seen during a training sesision ahead of a Spor Toto Suıpğer League game against Kardemir Karabükspor in Istanbul. AA PhotoSpor Toto Super League leader Galatasaray is eyeing an easy victory at home against Karabükspor this weekend to extend its stay atop the league standings.
The April 5 game that will kick off at 4 p.m., one of the Istanbul club’s rare afternoon games this season.
Galatasaray leads the league with 55 points, one point ahead of Beşiktaş and two ahead of third-placed Fenerbahçe, while Karabükspor, second from the bottom, has only won a single away game so far this season.
Galatasaray board member Abdürrahim Albayrak has called on the team’s supporters to fill the stadium.
“We will be crowned the champions and get our fourth star,” Albayrak said midweek, referring to the stars put on club jerseys in Turkey for every five league titles they win.
Both Galatasaray and its archrival Fenerbahçe have 19 titles and are in a race to be the first Turkish club to have four stars on its jersey.
“We have nine games left, starting with the Karabükspor game,” Albayrak said. “The match will be played in the afternoon, and I tell our supporters, ‘let’s break a record. Let’s fill the stadium to its maximum and show everybody else that we are determined for the title.’”
Second-placed Beşiktaş will host Istanbul Başakşehir on April 6, a team the home side had struggled against in recent meetings.
Although Beşiktaş won the first matchup this season, it had failed to secure a victory in the previous six league games against Başakşehir, drawing four and losing two.
Başakşehir coach Abdullah Avcı, a former Turkish national team coach whose modest squad sits in fourth place and has the advantage for a berth in the Europa League next season, has eyes on a good result in the next game.
“We are in good condition both mentally and physically,” he said. “We have different targets from our opponents, but there are nine weeks to go and we want to get a result against Beşiktaş.”
Avcı added the game will see two “stable” teams on the pitch.
“They have more stress, we have self-confidence and my players are relaxed,” he said. “I hope that they will reflect this on the pitch in a positive way.”
Third-placed Fenerbahçe will travel to Çaykur Rizespor on April 4, hoping for a victory to stay behind the forerunners.
Also on April 4, cellar-dweller Balıkesirspor plays Mersin İdmanyurdu at home, Sivasspor travels to Eskişehirspor and Gençlerbirliği hosts Kasımpaşa.
In April 5 games, Akhisar Belediye entertains Gaziantepspor, sixth-placed Bursaspor is at home against Kayseri Erciyesspor and Trabzonspor visits Torku Konyaspor.