Lions of Galatasaray on prowl away to Antalyaspor
Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba (C), midfielder Wesley Sneijder (L) and winger Nordin Amrabat watch the assistant coach Tugay Kerimoğlu at a camp. AA PhotoGalatasaray will seek to make it two from two when it takes the pitch for Turkish Ziraat Cup group play against Antalyaspor on Jan. 19.
The Lions opened their Group B campaign with a 2-0 win over third-tier side Tokatspor in midweek and will hope to put some distance between themselves and their group competitors against the Mediterranean side, which played to a 1-1 draw at Elazığspor in its first game.
Antalyaspor, which boasts a squad of Super League veterans, including new signing and former Turkish international hero Semih Şentürk, will try to upset Galatasaray. Antalyaspor is coached by two-time cup winner Samet Aybaba, who led Gençlerbirliği and Trabzonspor to the Turkish Cup in 2001 and 2003, respectively.
The Ziraat Turkish Cup quarterfinal stage is played over two four-team groups. The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals.
Elsewhere in the Group B, Elazığspor will visit Tokatspor, also on Jan. 19.
Tokatspor, hailing from the third-tier Spor Toto League Two, is the only lower-division team left in the competition.
Galatasaray, a 14-time winner in the competition, has emerged as the biggest favorite to win the trophy after the other members of the big four, Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor, suffered shock exits in the round-of-16. The Turkish cup appears to be Galatasaray’s greatest chance of a trophy this season, as the club is eight points behind leader arch-rival Fenerbahçe in the Spor Toto Super League.
Although historically the most successful team in the tournament, Galatasaray has failed to win the trophy since 2005, when it beat Fener 5-1. It is now the only multiple-winning team remaining in the tournament. The only other previous winners, Eskişehirspor and Bursaspor, won the trophy in 1971 and 1986, respectively.
Eskişehirspor will visit Sivasspor and Akhisar will host Bursaspor on Jan. 18.
In the Group A games played on Jan. 14, Akhisar beat Eskişehirspor 2-0, and Bursaspor defeated Sivasspor 2-1.
The third and fourth match days in the group stage will be played on Jan. 22 and Jan. 29-30, respectively.