Turkish league’s top two to clash for driver’s seat
Sivasspor players are seen during a training session ahead of a league game against Başakşehir. (İHA Photo)
The top two of the Turkish Süper Lig, leader Sivasspor and Başakşehir, its closest follower from two points behind, will clash in the eastern province of Sivas in the highlight game of match week 21 on Feb. 9.
The host was very comfortable unlit last week, four points away with its closest follower but it was shaken by a 5-1 defeat against Gaziantep away.
The team under Rıza Çalımbay failed to gain morale when it visited Antalyaspor on Feb. 6 for a Turkey Cup game that ended silently.
The coach was angry about the match schedule, saying that they could have played the cup game a day earlier.
“We could not prepare for the game,” he said in a post-game interview.
The team stayed the night in Antalya since flights back to Sivas were canceled due to bad weather conditions.
Still, the host wants to enjoy the advantage of playing at home, with weather forecasts saying that it will be around -8 degrees Celsius on the match day, conditions that Istanbul team cannot adopt well to.
Malian striker Mustapha Yatabare remains as the biggest gun of Sivas with eight league goals so far.
Trabzonspor, three points behind Sivas with one game in hand, will visit the Turkish capital to take on Gençlerbirliği on Feb. 8.
Hüseyin Çimşir, the new coach of the Black Sea side, made a good start to the second half of the season, beating Istanbul giant Fenerbahçe 2-1 las week and sweeping second-tier Erzurumspor 5-0 in a cup game.
Another new coach, Sergen Yalçın of Beşiktaş, will try to give his team confidence when it hosts Gaziantep on Feb. 8.
Yalçın, a Beşikaş legend as a player, replaced Abdullah Avcı following a chain of bad results and will appear first time as a coach at Beşiktaş’s Vodafone Park, just to revive memories of victories. Thousands of people attended Yalçın’s signing ceremony at the stadium on Jan. 30 before the team headed to Rizespor. Beşiktaş won the game 2-1.
Fans are also expected to welcome Ghanaian defender Kevin-Prince Boateng, the team’s new arrival from Fiorentina on loan.
Later in the day, Fenerbahçe and Alanyaspor, the two teams just behind the top three, will play in Istanbul and both sides want to win to boost pressure on the top three.
Galatasaray, another title contender, will visit city rival Kasımpaşa on Feb. 9.
Göztepe and Rizespor will clash in the closing game of the week on Feb. 10.