Lions may clinch 18th league title

Lions may clinch 18th league title

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Lions may clinch 18th league title

DHA Photo

Galatasaray may clinch its 18th Spor Toto Super League title on May 6 with a win over Beşiktaş, but it will still need a favor from another team.

Galatasaray will be hoping to get all three points when it hosts Beşiktaş at the Türk Telekom Arena on Sunday. Fenerbahçe will be bidding to sustain its title hopes when it plays at Trabzonspor. Both games will start at 7 p.m.

The Lions lead the Super League’s championship playoff group with 46 points, three over Fenerbahçe with two weeks left.

Trabzonspor and Beşiktaş are not playing for the title, with 32 and 31 points respectively, but the two sides have demonstrated that they place immense importance on the title race.

The back-to-back fixtures of Galatasaray vs Trabzonspor and Fenerbahçe vs Beşiktaş certainly shaped the outcome of the season. Galatasaray was held to a goalless draw by Trabzonspor on May 2, just five days after beating its rival 4-2 on the away pitch. The 0-0 draw gave Fenerbahçe a major chance to take over the league’s driver’s seat for the title, but it lost 1-0 to Beşiktaş on May 3 to remain three points behind the leader. Beşiktaş’s first win in the playoffs meant Galatasaray can clinch the league title with a win, but only if Trabzonspor holds Fenerbahçe.

Earlier this week, Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera said he would like Fenerbahçe to drop some points so that the Lions “can celebrate the league title on their home ground.” Galatasaray will try to take all three points, and if Fenerbahçe is held by Trabzonspor, the last-week derby between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray will turn from a crucial title-decider into a game of virtually no importance.
On Sunday, Galatasaray will be without its coach Fatih Terim, who was given a three-game touchline ban because of his comments following the Trabzonspor match. Terim criticized referee Tolga Özkalfa during and after the match and challenged the Turkish Football Federation, saying “I will see if they can punish me.”

Fenerbahçe, as well, will be short a key squad member, because its Brazilian captain Alex de Souza, also the team’s top scorer with 14 goals in all competitions, will be out of selection due to an injury.

After missing the first of two Beşiktaş games due to injury, Coach Aykut Kocaman used the Brazilian in the second game against Beşiktaş, but the captain’s situation has gotten worse and he will miss his club’s trip to Trabzon. Already missing Senegalese striker Moussa Sow, who has scored eight goals since being purchased from Lille in January, Fenerbahçe is likely to depend on the explosive abilities of Slovakian attacker Miroslav Stoch up front.