Melo-Riera brawl overshadows last week in the Super League
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Galatasaray’s Felipe Melo (L) celebrates his 10th goal this season. Brazilian midfielder, who is on loan from Juventus, is having a succesful year, but a recent fight with Riera puts his Galatasaray future in doubt.Spor Toto Super League leader Galatasaray is entering its last match in the regular season, but the meeting with Manisaspor has been overshadowed by a training ground punch up between Felipe Melo and Albert Riera.
The two midfielders were involved in a fight at the Florya Metin Oktay Facilities on April 5, causing both to miss the closing game of the regular season.
NTV Spor reported that Brazilian defensive midfielder Melo and Spanish winger Riera started arguing on the pitch, but the fight got more heated after coach Fatih Terim sent the two to the dressing room. Terim on Friday announced that Riera needed stitches after the brawl, which he described as “an unusual situation.”
“It started as a regular exchange of words, but I decided to send them to the dressing room seeing that it was not ending,” Terim said to reporters. “That was an unusual situation.”
Terim confirmed that Melo and Riera would not be included to the squad to face Manisaspor on April 8.
The game will be the last fixture of the regular season, but the team will then enter a six-week playoff stage, or “Super Final,” to face title rivals Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor. At this stage they are likely to need Riera and, especially, Melo.
The Brazilian, who is currently on loan from Juventus, has scored 10 goals in 30 matches for Galatasaray this season, a major factor in the team’s successful performance.
“The two players will not train with the squad and are not coming with us to the Manisaspor game. Financial penalties will be given as well,” Terim said. “I will decide next week whether they will be with us on our walk to the league title, which is the main issue.”
Galatasaray leads the league with 74 points, nine ahead of second-place Fenerbahçe. Trabzonspor, with 55 points, and Beşiktaş, with 54, will also participate in the playoffs. All points will be halved going into the playoff stage.
Manisa has already lost its battle against relegation. The game starts at 7 p.m.
Black Sea meeting
Earlier that day, Trabzonspor visits Orduspor in a match-up between the two Black Sea teams.
Another team from the Black Sea region, Samsunspor, will play a make-or-break game against Sivasspor. Samsunspor, with 36 points, will join Manisaspor and Ankaragücü on the way down to the Second Division if it fails to win.
Samsunspor might go down even if it wins its final game, since Medical Park Antalyaspor, which has 39 points and is the only other remaining team in the relegation battle, will survive if it is unbeaten against title-chasing Fenerbahçe.
The two matches will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, along with three other meetings.
Fifth-place Bursaspor takes on Gaziantepspor, Istanbul BB plays Gençlerbirliği and Eskişehirspor hosts Mersin İdman Yurdu in games, which have some importance to the Europa League playoffs.
Four teams from fifth to eighth will also enter the playoffs, where the winner will play a decisive game with the last-placed team of the Super Final, to enter the second-tier European competition.
The league’s bottom-placed team, Ankaragücü, plays its last game in the top-flight when it hosts Kayserispor at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.