Rize, Erciyes win back promotion to top flight

Rize, Erciyes win back promotion to top flight

RİZE - Hürriyet Daily News
Rize, Erciyes win back promotion to top flight

Veteran coach Denizli celebrates after winning promotion to Super League. DHA photo

Çaykur Rizespor and Kayseri Erciyesspor will both make a return to the top level of Turkish football after the sides guaranteed themselves a finish in the top two positions in Turkey’s second division, the PTT First League.

Coached by Mustafa Denizli, Rizespor beat Ankaragücü 3-0 to maintain top spot with 59 points, while Erciyesspor remained second with 57 points despite a 1-0 home defeat to Karşıyaka.

The only coach to win the national title with Turkish football’s big three, Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş, Denizli has now added second-tier success to his career, but the 63-year-old does not lack in bigger targets.

“This is only the first mission accomplished,” Denizli said after the game. “Even if I am managing in the third league, or the Champions League, I always have targets. I have targets to lift Rize to higher spots. Now, we aim to make them come true.”

Çaykur Rize last played in the Super League in the 2007-2008 campaign, one year after Erciyesspor’s last top-flight appearance.

The top two teams are promoted directly to the Super League, while teams placed from third to sixth will enter a playoff stage.

1461 Trabzon and Manisaspor, with 50 points, and Bucaspor and Torku Konyaspor, with 49 points, occupy the playoff spots with two weeks left. Karşıyaka and Adana Demirspor, who both have 47 points, and Adanaspor, with 46 points, are also chasing.