Playoff spots at stake in crucial Turkish Super League matches
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Trabzonspor defender Giray Kaçar (L) and Beşiktaş’s Portuguese forward Hugo Almeida vie for the ball during a prior game between the two Super League teams. DHA photoFenerbahçe is set to welcome Gençlerbirliği while Beşiktaş takes on Trabzonspor in two games that will be crucial for deciding the championship playoff spots in the Spor Toto Super League.
Leader Galatasaray opened up its spell atop standings with a hard-fought 3-2 derby win over Beşiktaş in a week when other title contenders Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor fell to defeats as well.
Galatasaray sits comfortably on top with 63 points, nine points ahead of second-place Fenerbahçe.
Beşiktaş fell far behind the league summit with 49 points, and Trabzonspor has 46 points, two ahead of fifth Gençlerbirliği in the last six weeks before the end of the regular season.
According to a newly-implemented format, the top four teams will enter a championship playoff group, where the title will be decided with games between them.
The teams will carry half of their regular season points to the playoff stage.
While Galatasaray guaranteed its place in the championship playoffs, this weekend’s games will be crucial for the next stage.
When it hosts Gençlerbirliği on March 3, Fenerbahçe will be hoping to bounce back from a defeat sustained at Eskişehirspor last week. The Yellow Canaries lost four away games in a row but are unbeaten in 36 league games in a row.
However, high-flying Gençlerbirliği is one of the best performers of this season and have scored some big results, including a flashy 4-2 win over Beşiktaş against its strong Istanbul counterparts.
The game at Şükrü Saracoğlu kicks off at 7 p.m. Earlier relegated Ankaragücü takes on Eskişehirspor, Antalya plays Samsunspor and Mersin İdman Yurdu meets Orduspor.
Sunday’s big game will see Beşiktaş try to hold on to its third spot, as well as keep pace with Galatasaray in order to carry some hope going into the late periods of the season.
Beşiktaş will be without key defender Egemen Korkmaz, along with German full back Roberto Hilbert, but Beşiktaş welcomes playmaker Manuel Fernandes back from suspension after the Portuguese missed the Galatasaray derby.
Trabzonspor, will try to better its poor record in big games this season since the Black Sea Storm lost all of its meetings against Galatasaray, Beşiktaş and Fener, failing to score a single goal.
Earlier it is Kayserispor vs. Manisaspor, Gaziantepspor vs. Istanbul BB and Bursaspor vs. Kardemir Karabükspor. k HDN