League leader Sivas out to make a statement
Turkey’s Super Lig resumed after the winter break, following a first-half marked by so-called underdogs, with none of the three title contenders from Istanbul making it to the top three.
League leader from eastern Turkey, Sivasspor will re-launch its campaign in Istanbul, facing fourth-spot Beşiktaş.
Sivas now sits four points ahead of second-placed Başakşehir, a rising star for the recent years.
It will miss its Brazilian midfielder Fernando, who was injured during the mid-season training camp and will be out for four more weeks.
Another midfielder, Mert Hakan Yandaş, is also suspended, bothering coach Rıza Çalımbay.
Still, the former Beşiktaş legend, as a captain, says his side is out to win.
“We will do all we can. We want to leave [Istanbul] with a good result,” he told the media.
His side is high in morale after beating Yeni Malatyaspor 4-0 in a Turkey Cup game on Jan. 15.
Rival Beşiktaş, for its side bowed 3-2 to second-tier Erzurumspor in the cup matchup in freezing night in eastern Turkey.
On Jan. 18, Başakşehir will face Yeni Malatyaspor at its Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium on the European side of Istanbul.
Third-spot Trabzonspor will continue to fight for the league title in the second half from six points behind with a new manager.
The Black Sea club announced the new manager Hüseyin Cimşir in winter break to replace former head coach Ünal Karaman.
It also signed the Senegalese midfielder Badou Ndiaye from Stoke City on loan for the rest of the season.
The Black Sea side will play against Kasımpaşa at the Medical Park Stadium on Jan 19.
Another title contender, Fenerbahçe will visit Gaziantepspor for the 18th week match at the Kalyon Stadium on Jan. 18.
Fenerbahçe increased their defender options with the signing of Guinean center-back Simon Falette on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt until the end of the season.
Defending champion Galatasaray will host Denizlispor at its Turk Telekom Stadium on Jan. 19.
Galatasaray strengthened its squad with significant transfers after it failed to meet expectations in first half of the season.
The club’s former winger Henry Onyekuru from Nigeria joined Galatasaray on loan from the French team Monaco.
In addition, Uruguayan left-back Marcelo Saracchi moved to the Istanbul club on loan for one-and-a-half-year.
He played for the German team Leipzig before joining the Turkish club.
Galatasaray also transferred Nigerian right-winger Jesse Tamunobaraboye Sekidika from Eskişehirspor.