Turkcell Super League – Week 19 Sunday recap

Week 19 of the Turkcell Super League season came to a close on Sunday with the top four teams in action.  With the gap between first and second separated by only a point, both Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray were under pressure to keep their battle for the top going.  Bursaspor and Kayserispor looked to keep pace with the top two as they faced Eskişehirspor and Gaziantepspor respectively.  The other match on Sunday saw two teams locked in a battle to stay clear of the relegation zone as Ankaragücü and Manisaspor met.

Manisaspor hosted Ankaragücü in the battle to avoid relegation on a soaked pitch.  Ankaragücü had a couple of chances in the 10th and 12th minutes.  Headers from Ilhan Parlak and Muhammet Hanifi missed the target.  Much of the first half was played in the middle of the pitch as barely any action in front of goal took place.  The second half saw chances in the final third of the pitch happen in the last fifteen minutes.  In the 75th minute, Ankaragücü’s Jerome Rothen crossed the ball drawing Manisaspor goalkeeper Ilker Avcibay out of his goal.  Parlak beat Avcibay to the ball and passed to Mehmet Çakır, but the ball was blasted over the bar.  The best chance to break the scoreless deadlock came in the 85th minute.  Çakır advanced the ball down the right flank.  The crossing pass saw the ball slow to a halt on the muddy pitch.  Rothen’s shot went off Avcibay and ended up with Umut Sozen.  The ball was cleared off the line by the Manisaspor defense.  The match ended in a 0-0 draw and both teams still dangerously close to the relegation zone.

Kayserispor looked to keep pace with the leaders and hold on to fourth place and the Europa League spot.  They travelled down to Gaziantep to face Gaziantepspor.  Must of the first half was dominated by Kayserispor.  Gaziantepspor goalkeeper Mahmut Bezgin made some crucial saves to keep the match scoreless.  Gaziantepspor’s only opportunity of the first half came in the 36th minute.  Olcan Adin advanced the ball into the penalty area, getting by two Kayserispor players in the process.  His pass in front of Kayserispor’s goal couldn’t find any teammates and was cleared.  The second half featured the only goal of the match.  In the 49th minute, Franco Cangele advanced the ball into the penalty area and passed to Ariza Makukula.  Makukula settled the ball and calmly scored to give Kayserispor the lead 1-0.  Much of the rest of match saw little opportunities for both side and Kayserispor went on to win 1-0.

After last week’s match with Kasımpaşa was postponed, Bursaspor got their second half of the season started facing Eskişehirspor.  Bursaspor struck quick early on in the match.  With only 30 seconds elapsing off the clock.  Eskişehirspor’s Koray Arslan had the ball stolen from him by Bursaspor’s Ozan Ipek.  Ipek took advantage of the mistake to put Bursaspor on the board, 1-0.  The 12th minute saw Ivan Ergic’s pass shot by Ipek, but saved by Eskişehirspor goalkeeper Vanja Ivesa.  The 14th minute saw Sercan Yildirim got around a Gaziantepspor defender, and crossed the ball to Turgay Bahadir.  Bahadir calmly put the ball into the net to give Bursaspor a 2-0 lead.  Eskişehirspor hardly advanced the ball into Bursaspor’s penalty area for the entire first half.  The best shot they had in the first half was Umit Karan’s 45th minute volley that came off the post.  Bursaspor dominated possession in the middle of the pitch in the second half.  Eskişehirspor was lucky if they could advance the ball towards Bursaspor’s goal at all.  In the 83rd minute, Ali Tandogan scored to put Bursaspor up 3-0.  The only goal that Eskişehirspor got in this match was a penalty scored by Umit Karan in the 87th minute.  Bursaspor won the match 3-1, remained in third place, and still have a game in hand.

Fenerbahçe travelled eastward to face Sivasspor in Sivas.  Many of the men on the bench would have to be called into action, as Emre Belozoglu, Cristian Baroni, Andre dos Santos, and Diego Lugano would all be suspended through yellow card accumulation.  Dani Guiza would not play in this match either due to injury.  Sivasspor had their captain, Mehmet Yildiz, see his first action of the season after coming back from an injury that put him out for a total of seven months.  Fenerbahçe had a shot to take the lead in the 26th minute, when Gokcek Vederson passed the ball in front of goal from the end line.  But the resulting shot from Mehmet Topuz went off the post.  Sivasspor had their first chance of the match in the 27th minute, when Nabil Taider’s low shot was heading towards goal, but was saved by Fenerbahçe goalkeeper Volkan Demirel.  Fenerbahçe got the scoring started in the 30th minute.  Selcuk Sahin intercepted a back pass inside the penalty area.  His cross from the end line was put into the net by Semih Senturk and gave Fenerbahçe the 1-0 lead.  Sivasspor would answer back in the 37th minute.  An attempted clearance from Vederson would be intercepted by Musa Aydin.  Aydin left the ball for Yildiz, and Yildiz’s rocket shot went into the goal to tie the match.  The 1-1 score would be the score at halftime.  In the 54th minute, Sivasspor’s Abdurrahman Dereli went down and the match was stopped.  Play was resumed via a drop ball, and ended up with Fenerbahçe defender Deniz Baris.  Baris proceeded to deliver a long ball pass to Semih Senturk, who was onside and went one-on-one with Sivasspor goalkeeper Akin Vardar.  Senturk easily put the ball into goal to give Fenerbahçe the lead 2-1.  Senturk would then proceed to set up a goal in the 66th minute.  His pass to Ugur Boral resulted in Boral advancing the ball into the penalty area, and scoring with a low shot, making the score 3-1 to Fenerbahçe.  Four minutes later, Boral struck again after receiving a pass from Alex de Souza.  Boral’s second goal almost was a carbon copy of his first, and Fenerbahçe was cruising, the score at this point was 4-1.  Gokhan Gonul ended the scoring in the 84th minute, with his goal set up by Alex.  Fenerbahçe kept its top spot in the league standings with an authoritative 5-1 victory. 

With Fenerbahçe’s win earlier in the day, Galatasaray needed to win in order to remain one point behind their rivals in the chase for the league title.  With Galatasaray picking up Giovani dos Santos on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, it seemed like Galatasaray may be the team to watch this season.  They travelled down to Denizli to face Denizlispor.  Denizlispor has struggled this season, with only seven points, and their only win coming as a freebie due to Ankaraspor’s demotion.  Galatasaray opened the scoring in the 19th minute.  Baris Ozbek’s cross into the penalty box was headed into goal by Arda Turan to put Galatasaray up 1-0.  The 45th minute saw Jo have his first opportunity to score in a Galatasaray uniform.  But his low shot was saved by Denizlispor goalkeeper, Ozden Ongun.  The second half saw Denizlispor get off to a good start.  In the 54th minute, Dzemal Berberovic crossed from the right flank.  The ball was headed into the goal by Engin Memisler to tie the match 1-1.  Galatasaray would answer back in the 61st minute.  Mustafa Sarp advanced the ball into the penalty area and his shot took a deflection off a Denizlispor defender.  The ball ended up with Jo.  His first shot was saved by Ongun but Jo hit the rebound home to give Galatasaray the lead 2-1.  Galatasaray went on to win by that same scoreline.

The top five positions in the Turkcell Super League remained the same after this week.  Fenerbahçe continues to lead the league with 43 points.  Galatasaray are in second with 42 points.  Third place belongs to Bursaspor with 38 points and a +19 goal differential.  Kayserispor is in fourth place, also with 38 points, but with a +16 goal differential.  Beşiktaş remains in fifth place with 35 points.  It should be noted that Beşiktaş and Bursaspor have a game in hand.  Their week 18 matches have not been rescheduled.