Runaway leader takes on Trabzon in game of week

Runaway leader takes on Trabzon in game of week

ISTANBUL-Hürriyet Daily News
Runaway leader takes on Trabzon in game of week

Galatasaray is on an eight-week unbeaten run in the Spor Toto Super League. The Lions maintained its streak with a 2-2 draw at Fenerbahçe on March 17. AA photo

Galatasaray will host Trabzonspor in the highlight match of the weekend on Sunday. Although it is guaranteed to finish the regular season in the top spot, this weekend’s game against Trabzonspor will be crucial for Spor Toto Super League leader Galatasaray.

The Lions lead the league with 70 points, nine more than second-place Fenerbahçe. Trabzonspor and Beşiktaş are third and fourth respectively with 53 points each. Galatasaray is guaranteed to finish the regular season on top of the league, but it will try to enter the championship playoffs with as great an advantage as possible.

According to the Turkish Football Federation’s (TFF) ruling, the top four teams will enter a six-week playoff stage. The teams will only carry half of their regular season points to the playoffs.

Sunday’s match will also mean a chance for Trabzonspor to climb back to the top. The team is far from its performance last season when it finished as runner-up, but it will be bidding for a late push for the title.

Both teams suffered unexpected mid-week defeats in the Ziraat Turkish Cup. Galatasaray was defeated 1-0 defeat by Sivasspor on Tuesday, while Trabzonspor lost to Medical Park Antalyaspor 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday.

The Galatasaray vs. Trabzonspor game kicks off at 7 p.m. Before the big game, there will be six matches of crucial importance in the relegation battle, all at 3:30 p.m. Gaziantepspor, which has 39 points, Kardemir Karabükspor with 37 points, Medical Park Antalyaspor (36 points), Manisaspor (32 points) and Samsunspor (30) are in the relegation battle.

Samsunspor, which will take on Mersin İdman Yurdu, will lose virtually all hopes of survival if it loses. Manisaspor, who will play against Sivasspor, will also need a win to stay alive. Medical Park Antalyaspor will try to remain clear of the red zone, and the fact that it will visit Ankaragücü, the hapless capital city team playing with reserve players due to a limited squad, gives them reason to be hopeful.

Ankaragücü has collected only 11 points in 31 weeks. Kardemir Karabükspor visits Kayserispor, Eskişehirspor hosts Gaziantepspor, and Orduspor welcomes Gençlerbirliği in other crucial games.

Fenerbahçe will host Bursaspor in Saturday’s only game. Bursaspor, standing at fifth place with 46 points, is making an unlikely bid for the championship playoffs, while Fenerbahçe will try to reduce the gap between it and runaway leader Galatasaray. The game will be played in front of women and children only, due to a Professional Football Disciplinary Committee (PFDK) ban on Fenerbahçe due to crowd trouble during the game against Galatasaray on March 17. The kick-off is at 7 p.m.

Beşiktaş to vote for new chairman

Beşiktaş delegates will go to the ballot box to elect the Istanbul club’s new chairman on March 25. Fikret Orman, Bülent Deriş and Nazmi Koca are running in the presidential race.

The three will be trying to take over the presidency left vacant after Yıldırım Demirören’s eight-year tenure ended earlier this month, when he left the chair to take over the Turkish Football Federation.
Advisory Board head and current Vice Chairman Yalçın Karadeniz was believed to be the frontrunner in the race, but he withdrew his candidacy.

Orman, a former board member, lost the 2004 presidential race to Yıldırım Demirören. Koca is the leader of a Beşiktaş fans’ association called 100. Yıl, while Bülent Deriş is the head of the Beşiktaş Dostları Derneği (Friends of Beşiktaş Association).