Turkish league continues after Europe action
The Turkish Süper Lig competition continues with Week 2 games after three title contenders played midweek games on the European stage.
Fenerbahçe will host Antalyaspor on Aug. 22 after grabbing a 1-0 victory over HJK Helsinki in a UEFA Europa League playoffs first leg match on Aug. 19.
Fenerbahçe seemed more effective than Helsinki throughout the game, and the team’s efforts paid off as a screamer from 20-year-old midfielder Muhammed Gümüşkaya in the 65th minute brought his team victory over the Finnish side.
Fenerbahçe supporters were especially happy with the performances of Gümüşkaya and 16-year-old Arda Güler.
Coach Vitor Pereira praised the young players after the game, saying that they played flawlessly among experienced squad members.
“Both Muhammed and Arda have prepared themselves very well,” he said. “They played not because they are young. They were on the field because they have the quality and character to be there,” he said.
The Portuguese coach said young players need to be given playing time to develop.
“You need to give young players self-confidence,” he said. “When they make mistakes, they need to be supported. If you do these things, and if they possess the quality, the players shine.”
In another Europa League playoff game on Aug. 19, Galatasaray was held to a 1-1 draw by Danish side Randers.
Kerem Aktürkoğlu, who was the victim of an assault by his teammate Marcao in last week’s Süper Lig match, opened the scoring for Galatasaray at the Randers Stadium, rifling home a long-range shot in the 26th minute.
Frederik Lauenborg finished from close range to equalize for the home side in the 54th minute.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Football Federation’s (TFF) Professional Football Disciplinary Board (PFDK) announced on Aug. 19 that Marcao would be suspended for eight games for the assault.
Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim said he was satisfied with the score.
“We would have liked to win, but the players were a little tired,” he said.
“Despite this, we believe that we will pass the tour with God’s will in Istanbul. Galatasaray will do what is necessary in the second leg.”
Terim’s men will now play Hatayspor in Istanbul in a Süper Lig match on Aug. 23.
Another Turkish club in the European competition, Trabzonspor, lost 2-1 to AS Roma in the first leg of a Europa Conference League matchup.
Roma coach Jose Mourinho was impressed by the ambiance at the Şenol Güneş Sports Complex.
“Trabzonspor is a very good team; their fans were excellent,” he told a post-game press conference.
“We missed this type of ambiance. I hope everything goes well for them, but next week we will be the winners.”
The next test for Trabzonspor will be on Aug. 23 when it plays against Sivasspor, which also lost its game in the Europa Conference League on Aug. 19, 2-1 to Denmark’s Copenhagen at home.
Defending champion Beşiktaş, which also made a winning start top the Süper Lig season, visits Gaziantep on Aug. 21.
Elsewhere in the league competition, Kayserispor hosts Adana Demirspor, Giresunspor visits Kasımpaşa, Rizespor plays Karagümrük at home, Altay travels to Alanyaspor, Konyaspor entertains Başakşehir and Göztepe and Malatyaspor clash in İzmir.
The Süper Lig games are being played in front of fully vaccinated fans under updated COVID-19 measures. Away fans will not be allowed in the stadiums for the entire season.