League leaders Başakşehir to host buoyant Beşiktaş

League leaders Başakşehir to host buoyant Beşiktaş

League leaders Başakşehir to host buoyant Beşiktaş

AA photo

Istanbul’s Medipol Başakşehir, which has surprisingly accumulated the best record of any Turkish Super League in the first 11 weeks over the last 13 years, will take on its closest rival, Beşiktaş, on Nov. 26 with an eye to putting more distance between themselves and the chasing pack.

Unbeaten Başakşehir, which has won nine league games so far, has hurt defending champion Beşiktaş, also unbeaten, several times in previous seasons as an underdog, but the former giant killer is now daring to dream of bigger things.

Beşiktaş, which is two points behind, has only won four of 18 official games against Başakşehir, which also won four games. Seven out of the last nine games between the two sides have ended in draws, with Beşiktaş scoring 22 goals, one more than its opponent. 

“We want to remain the leader,” said Başakşehir’s experienced captain, Emre Belözoğlu.

“We can see that Beşiktaş is doing many things right on the pitch. However, we can observe some mistakes and we will bid to exploit them,” he told journalists on Nov. 24.

His teammate Alexandru Epureanu said Başakşehir has different plans for each game under coach Abdullah Avcı. 

“We have a different plan for this game, too,” he said. 

Beşiktaş is high in morale after a historic comeback against Portugal’s Benfica in a Nov. 23 Champions League Group B game at home. 

The black and whites hit back from three goals behind at halftime, scoring twice in the last 10 minutes, to force a 3-3 draw and ensure its destiny is in its hands when it visits already-eliminated Dynamo Kyiv away in the last matchday next month. A win will guarantee progression to the Round of 16, while a draw would also be enough provided Benfica beats Napoli in a concurrent match.

The team had a closed-door training session on Nov. 24, but the club released pictures of the players celebrating coach Şenol Güneş, a former Turkish language teacher, on Teachers’ Day. 

Fenerbahce, which beat Ukraine’s Zorya Luhansk 2-0 in a UEFA Europa League Group A game on Nov. 24, increasing its chances of qualification for the second round of the competition, will visit Çaykur Rizespor of the Black Sea region on Nov. 27, to continue its chase of the top two spots. 

On Nov. 26, Akhisar Belediye will host Kasımpaşa as Antalyaspor takes on Adanaspor at the bottom of the standings. On Nov. 27, Trabzonzpor will visit Ankara’s Gençlerbirliği.

Atiker Konyaspor, which lost all its qualification chances in the Europa League Group H after being beaten 4-0 to Shakhtar Donesk on Nov. 25, will host on Nov. 28 Osmanlıspor, which bowed 2-1 to Steaua Bucharest away the same night, but remains in top spot in its delicately poised Europa League group.