Turkish football league leader Başakşehir confident before winter break
A confident Super League leader Başakşehir will face Alanyaspor away the closing week of the first half of the season, hours after Istanbul’s Beşiktaş plays against Kasımpaşa in a city derby on Dec. 22.
Başakşehir coach Avdullah Avcı was happy on Dec. 18 both for a Turkey Cup win over Adana Demirspor and return of former Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan from injury.
“We have already guaranteed to lead the first half but now we are traveling to Alanya to maket his more valuable,” Avcı said.
Başakşehir remains strong on top of Turkey’s first-tier league with 34 points following a draw with rival Galatasaray last week.
Kasımpaşa’s experienced coach Mustafa Denizli will miss injured Abdul Rahman Khalili and İlhan Depe against his former Beşiktaş, which welcomed the return of Dutch international Ryan Babel from injury earlier this week.
Galatasaray, one of the five teams with 26 points along with Beşiktaş, Kasımpaşa, Trabzonspor and Antalyaspor, will play against Sivasspor at home on Dec. 23.
“This a very important and tough game for us,” said Sivas’ Brazilian star Robinho on Dec. 21.
He denied rumors on a possible move during the winter transfer window.
“I am very happy here. Robinho will remain in Sivas,” he said.
Yeni Malatyaspor, the underdog that follows the leader from six points behind will visit Bursaspor the same day.
Trabzon will take on cellar-dweller Rizespor.
On Dec. 24, a struggling Fenerbahçe below the relegation line will host Antalyaspor.
Currently, the Istanbul giant is with 15 points at 17th place in the league - 19 points away from top of the standings.
Still, new coach Ersun Yenal raises hopes for the second half of the season.
“I would like to inform you about our plans after the Antalyaspor game,” he told journalists, following a 5-2 Turkey Cup win over second-tier Giresunspor on Dec. 20.
This was his first win after he returned to the Yellow Canaries to fill the hole left by the sacking six weeks ago of Dutch coach Phillip Cocu.
Dutchman Erwin Koeman was holding the fort as caretaker coach until his arrvial.
Elsewhere, Ankaragücü will take on İzmir’s Göztepespor on Dec. 22, as Erzurumspor, the third team below the relegation line, will host Kayserispor on Dec. 23.
Akhisarspor will play against Konyaspor at home on Dec. 24.