League race heats up as leader Başakşehir hosts Galatasaray
The title race in the Turkish Süper Lig will continue this weekend with league leader Başakşehir hosting defending champion Galatasaray on June 28 and Trabzonspor playing Ankaragücü at home on June 27.
The title hopes of Galatasaray took a deep hit last week with a 3-3 home draw against Gaziantep at home, and a loss at Başakşehir will practically end its slim chances of claiming its their trophy in a row.
Coach Fatih Terim, whose side is eight points behind the league leader, was furious with the referee after the Gaziantep game, among other complaints about efforts to unbalance the league.”
“I see that wanting, waiting and working hard are not enough,” he said.
“We have gone through a lot in the last two weeks to end in this mindset. Clearly, we need a method to find the virus that is not in the bodies but is in the minds and intentions.”
Başakşehir, on the other hand, has calmly climbed to the top of the standings after starting the season with two back-to back losses after losing its long-time coach Abdullah Avcı to Fenerbahçe.
Since then, the club has lost only once under coach Okan Buruk, a former Galatasaray player who was one of the club’s stars when it won the UEFA Cup and the European Super Cup in 2000, when Terim was coach again.
Başakşehir, based in an Istanbul suburb, finished runner-up in the league twice in the past and is determined to claim the trophy this season.
“We have a player group believing in victory,” Buruk said after last weekend’s 2-1 win at Ankaragücü.
“You never know what will happen in football, but we will do our best until the very end to be crowned the champion,” he said.
Trabzonspor, which is two points behind the leader after a draw at Alanyaspor, hosts struggling Ankaragücü hoping to keep the pressure on Başakşehir.
Bottom club Ankaragücü on June 25 replaced coach Reşit Akçay with İbrahim Üzülmez, who has a mountain to climb to stay in the top flight with six games to go.
The Süper Lig continues behind closed doors due to top coronavirus measures, but it is still not immune to the pandemic.
Beşiktaş, which was to play Konyaspor late on June 26, announced on June 25 that two of its players have tested positive for the coronavirus. Without disclosing their names, the club said the players were receiving treatment under quarantine.
Due to the new regulations, Süper Lig players are tested for the coronavirus every week and those who test positive will not be allowed to play, while the competition will go on.
Also in the Turkish Süper Lig Week 29 games, Fenerbahçe hosts Malatyaspor and Alanyaspor visits Göztepe on June 27.
Elsewhere, Sivasspor entertains Kayserispor, Denizlispor travels to Rizespor and Gaziantep takes on Antalyaspor at home on June 28.
Gençlerbirliği and Kasımpaşa will clash in Ankara in a game crucial for the fight against relegation in the week’s final game on June 29.