Turkish league contenders have bad day at the office

Turkish league contenders have bad day at the office

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish league contenders have bad day at the office

Fenerbahçe’s Brazilian midfielder Cristian Baroni (L) kicks the ball before Bursaspor’s Argentinean player Pedro Batalla (R) during a Super League game. AA photo

Title hopefuls Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe barely salvaged points in their Spor Toto Super League matches over the weekend.

Galatasaray scored a late goal for one point in a dramatic 3-3 draw with Gençlerbirliği on Oct. 19, with Fenerbahçe coming back for a 1-1 draw against Bursaspor a day later.

Despite the failure to get all three points, Galatasaray remains the leader of the Spor Toto Super League standings with 15 points after eight matches.

Antalyaspor rose to the second spot, again holding 15 points after beating Sivasspor 4-2 on Oct. 20. The same day, Orduspor missed a chance to top the league and dropped to the third spot with a 2-2 draw against bottom-dwelling Elazığspor.

The draw means Galatasaray failed to win its last four matches in all competitions and coach Fatih Terim agreed that his team needs a win soon.

“We are not getting the results in the last few weeks,” Terim said. “Those things can happen in a long race like that. We need a good result as soon as possible.”

Against Gençlerbirliği, Galatasaray conceded a goal in the first half but fought back with two goals early in the second half. However, defensive mistakes cost Galatasaray dearly, with Gençler taking the lead again. A late goal from left back Hakan Balta awarded Galatasaray one point.

“It was a match that could have gone either way. We should not have given away a 2-1 lead,” Terim added. “But we should have played better, we should have given less chances. We have some problems but we can overcome those problems by training.”

Galatasaray has a do-or-die battle against Romania’s Cluj in the European Champions League tomorrow.

Bursaspor draw

Fenerbahçe, who also has a Europa League match against Greek Cypriot AEL Limassol on Oct. 25, ended with a draw as well.

Fener defender Serdar Kesimal put the ball into his own net and forward Moussa Sow tied the match with a header as the game ended 1-1. Fenerbahçe had more chances in the first half, but Bursaspor failed to retaliate in the second half, with Fenerbahçe goalkeeper Volkan Demirel stopping many Bursa attacks.

“In the first half, we were the better side. We had more accurate passes and kept them under control,” Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman said. “While we were thinking about improving in the second half, it was the opposite. They were the better team then.”

Fenerbahçe players were satisfied with the result.

“We played against a good team. It was a game that could have gone either way,” defender Bekir İrtegün said. “At least we are not returning beaten.”

Left back Hasan Ali Kaldırım agreed that the team did well to get one point, saying “You should not lose if you cannot win.”

The eighth day of matches will wrap up with tonight’s Kayserispor vs. Istanbul BB game.