Lions look to end year on top spot

Lions look to end year on top spot

Lions look to end year on top spot

In this file photo, Galatasaray defender Semih Kaya (L) challenges Trabzonspor attacker Olcan Adın in a Super League game between the two teams. Galatasaray will finish the year on top of the league with a win in Trabzon.

Galatasaray hopes to end the year on top of the Spor Toto Super League when it meets Trabzonspor in the big game of the weekend.

The Lions visit Trabzon on Dec. 23, in one of two games that will close the curtains on the first half of the campaign.

Elsewhere, Medical Park Antalyaspor will be visiting Eskişehirspor in another match involving the teams at the top.

Both games start at 7 p.m.

Defending champion Galatasaray leads the league with 32 points, while Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Antalyaspor all have 27 points. However, Antalyaspor has a chance to finish the first part of the season in the top two, since it has a game in hand. The Mediterranean’s game against Akhisar was abandoned after just 15 minutes due to torrential rain earlier this month.

Galatasaray comes to the Trabzonspor match high on morale in the wake of last week’s 2-1 derby victory over Fenerbahçe. Also on Dec. 20, Galatasaray learned that it would face Schalke 04 in the round of 16 in the Champions League, a draw that gave hope to the Turkish champion that it could have a realistic chance of making it to the quarterfinals of the top-level football competition. The draw could have pitted Galatasaray against continental heavyweights such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus or Paris Saint-Germain.

Trabzon’s last chance

Galatasaray hopes to end the year strongly, but Trabzonspor will also hope to win a crucial game that could otherwise virtually end its title hopes. The Black Sea Storm is currently nine points behind Galatasaray.

Trabzonspor will have to cope with many familiar faces, with forwards Burak Yılmaz and Umut Bulut facing their former team for the first time in Galatasaray colors. Playmaker Selçuk İnan was also a former Trabzonspor ace as well.

Earlier on Dec. 23, Bursaspor hosts Gençlerbirliği in a battle between the two teams striving to cling on to the teams at the top, while southern duo Gaziantepspor and Mersin İdman Yurdu will play a key duel in the relegation battle. Both games start at 4 p.m.
Sivas hosts Elazığ at 1 p.m.

On Dec. 22, Fenerbahçe will hope to bounce back from a bitter derby defeat when it meets Kardemir Karabükspor. Fenerbahçe will be without Raul Meireles, who was handed a shock 12-match ban for insulting and spitting at referee Halis Özkahya during the Galatasaray derby. The game at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium starts at 7 p.m.

Kasımpaşa and Istanbul BB meet in a local derby at 3 p.m.

Beşiktaş was set to play Kayserispor and Akhisar was hosting Orduspor on Dec. 21. k HDN