Title contenders make perfect start to second half of Turkish League
Four title contenders in the Turkish Super League have made a perfect start to the second half of the season, as challengers Göztepe and Anatolian underdog Kayserispor failed to leave their mark in the title race.
Galatasaray defeated Kayserispor 3-1 late on Jan. 22 in a game that came two days after the Istanbul team received a new chairman in an extraordinary congress.
The Lions, who were visiting Kayserispor, comfortably kept their second spot on the standings despite lacking prolific striker Bafetimbi Gomis and attacking midfielder Younes Belhanda.
Galatasaray’s Switzerland international Eren Derdiyok scored two goals in six minutes to give his team a comfortable 2-0 lead after 18 minutes.
Kayserispor managed to find the net in the 52nd minute when former Galatasaray striker Umur Bulut’s header bypassed goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. But the visiting team Galatasaray managed to ward off Kayserispor’s comeback chances with a counter-attack that ended with Garry Rodrigues netting a pass from Badou N’Diaye inside the penalty area.
“We have achieved nothing, but ending the week with three points was important,” said Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim after the game
“It wouldn’t have been appropriate to have lost to our rivals,” he said.
The energy-sector businessman and former bureaucrat Mustafa Cengiz narrowly beat former Galatasaray chair Dursun Özbek on Jan. 20 to claim the seat.
Galatasaray is still one point behind league leader Başakşehir, which trounced Bursaspor with a 3-0 away victory on Jan. 21, rising to 39 points. Başakşehir’s new player Arda Turan scored his team’s third goal after replacing regular Marcia Mossoro in the 65th minute.
The newly signed Arda did not play much in the past year at Barcelona, Başakşehir coach Abdullah Avcı said after the game.
“It’s great for us and him that he has made a start with a goal. He will add very important things to our team as he integrates his great talent into our system,” Avcı said.
Defending champion Beşiktaş also grabbed a hard-fought 2-1 away victory on Jan. 21 over Antalyaspor, to remain alone at the fourth spot with 33 points. Portuguese attacker midfielder Anderson Talisca scored a goal to give his team three points after falling behind.
On Jan. 20, Fenerbahçe defeated Göztepe 2-1, thanks to a last-minute goal from Spanish striker Roberto Soldado, allowing the team to secure its spot at number three in the standings.
Istanbul’s Kasımpaşa beat Alanyaspor in the opening game of the week on Jan. 19. Ankara’s Gençlerbirliği beat Karabük 2-0 away on Jan. 20, while Osmanlıspor remained just above the relegation line with a goalless draw with Malatyaspor at home
On Jan. 21, Sivasspor drew 1-1 with Akhisarspor before signing a surprise contract with one-time wonder kid Robinho, who played for Manchester City, Milan and Real Madrid during his heyday.
Trabzonspor drew 2-2 with Konyaspor on Jan. 21.