Turkcell Super League – week 21 review
Week 21 of the Turkcell Super League might be considered an important week in the big picture of who wins the league title. Galatasaray had the bye week because they would have played the disqualified Ankaraspor, so they got the free three points. There was the possibility that Galatasaray could take the lead in the standing without even having to take the field. The pressure fell on Fenerbahçe in order to win at Manisaspor in order to keep their lead in the standings. Kayserispor travelled to Denizli to face Denizlispor to sustain their Europa League spot. Beşiktaş had a trip to the southeast to face Gaziantepspor. Bursaspor played Trabzonspor in a matchup of two teams in the top six of the table.
Creeping closer to a Europa League spot, Beşiktaş travelled to Gaziantep to play Gaziantepspor. Going to Gaziantep can be a tricky proposition for any club in the league. Gaziantepspor ended Fenerbahçe’s record season-starting unbeaten streak at the Kamil Ocak stadium, and looked to take another scalp of one of the big three. It looked good for Gaziantepspor in the 11th minute. Beşiktaş’ Ekrem Dag made a bad back pass that was intercepted by Julio Cesar de Souza. De Souza made Beşiktaş pay for their mistake and gave Gaziantepspor the lead 1-0. From that point on, it seemed Beşiktaş didn’t feel like playing as Gaziantepspor continued to find chances in the Beşiktaş area of the field in the first half. The second half saw Beşiktaş manager Mustafa Denizli put in 36 year old Yusuf Simsek in order to provide a spark to the Besktas offense. Simsek had a good game last week, and worked with Rodrigo Tabata well. This week lightning didn’t strike twice. In the 52nd minute, Olcan Adin’s corner was headed in by Armand Deumi, doubling Gaziantepspor’s lead. It seemed that Beşiktaş just stopped trying after that second goal. Mert Nobre was brought in to at least try to get a draw, but he couldn’t find the back of the net. Gaziantepspor beat another of the big three Istanbul clubs at home, as the final score was Gaziantepspor 2-0 Beşiktaş.
With the Beşiktaş loss, Kayserispor looked to pull away and consolidate their fourth place position. It seemed as though that would be an easy task as Denizlispor was their opponent this week. Denizlispor had gotten their only win of the season due to Ankaraspor’s disqualification. With a very likely relegation bound opponent, Kayserispor wouldn’t have a problem, right? It wouldn’t be the case. While the first half ended 0-0, the first half was balanced in terms of attacks from both sides. Either shots hit the post, barely went out, or were saved by the goalkeepers. Denizlispor took the advantage in the 65th minute. Kayserispor goalkeeper Hamidou Souleymanou missed an opportunity to clear the ball after a pass into the penalty are from the midfield. Emil Angelov capitalized on the mistake and gave Denizlispor the lead. Kayserispor tried to answer back after the goal, but couldn’t as Denizlispor held on to win the match 1-0. These three points were the first points earned by Denizlispor since a draw in week 13 against Antalyaspor. But with only ten points gathered in their league campaign so far, it will take a miracle for Denizlispor to stay up. Kayserispor will rue the opportunity to gain points against the leaders this week, and pull away from Beşiktaş to gain the automatic Europa League spot.
Fenerbahçe were under pressure to retain the league lead. With a trip to Manisa to face Manisaspor, in the relegation zone, it seemed that Fenerbahçe should have an easy time of it and retain the league lead. But the last time these two played in Istanbul, Manisaspor were game and nearly beat Fenerbahçe. Fenerbahçe took the lead in the 13th minute, when Ozer Hurmaci’s pass from the left found Cristian Baroni, and Baroni’s shot went into the net. Alex de Souza faked a shot in order to fool the defense, and Baroni made good with the shot. Fenerbahçe practically dominated the first half as they held on to the ball, and Manisaspor couldn’t get any opportunities. The only time Manisaspor did get an opportunity in the first half was in stoppage time. With Mehmet Nas’ pass finding Issac Promise, Promise took advantage of lax defense from Fenerbahçe’s central defensive pair of Deniz Baris and Fabio Bilica, and put the ball into the net to tie the match before the halftime break. The second half saw Fenerbahçe dominate possession, but Manisaspor looked inspired to pull an upset. Manisaspor threatened the Fenerbahçe goal through counterattacks, but Fenerbahçe’s defense held up. It seemed that for most of the second half, Manisaspor spend more time on the ground holding up play than playing. It would set up one of the most harrowing stoppage time play. Seven minutes of stoppage time would be added, because of Manisaspor goalkeeper Ilker Avcibay’s treatment for his eye. Avcibay would eventually be substituted. In the third minute of stoppage time, Manisaspor went on a counterattack, and Issac Promise put the ball in the back of the net to give Manisaspor the lead. Fenerbahçe looked desperate to at least salvage a draw. They would get the goal necessary for a draw, as recent transfer Gokhan Unal headed the ball into the net from a cross from Gokcek Wederson in the sixth minute of stoppage time. The match ended in a 2-2 draw and Fenerbahçe lost their lead in the league standings.
The match of the week in the Turkcell Super League this week had Trabzonspor and Bursaspor face off. With Trabzonspor yet to lose a match in this calendar year, it seems as if they are the hottest club in Turkey at the moment. Bursaspor, with a match in hand and with Fenerbahçe’s draw, looked to pull closer to second place in the table. It would be tough without forward Sercan Yildirim, who was out of this match due to injury. The first half saw both teams with an equal amount of chances, as the teams played an end to end physical match but without any scoring. Trabzonspor had an opportunity to get a goal in the 30th minute. Engin Baytar crossed the ball from the left flank, but it was cleared by a Bursaspor defender before Umut Bulut could get a foot on the ball. The second half saw most of the same between the two clubs as the match continued its physical play. Bursaspor found the go ahead goal in the 66th minute. Ozan Ipek crossed the ball from the left flank, and Pablo Batalla scored with the header to put Bursaspor up 1-0. From there, Trabzonspor had the better of opportunities but could not score until the 88th minute. Egemen Korkmaz headed a cross towards the direction of Umut Bulut, and Bulut put the ball into the back of the net to tie the match. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Other results from the Turkcell Super League were as follows: Diyarbakirspor 1-1 Sivasspor, Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor 1-1 Ankaragücü, Antalyaspor 1-2 Eskişehirspor, and Gençlerbirliği 0-2 Kasımpaşa. The top five of the Turkcell Super League standings are as follows: Galatasaray are in first place with 46 points, Fenerbahçe is in second with 45 points, Bursaspor are in third with 40 points and a game in hand, Kayserispor is in fourth place with 39 points, and Beşiktaş are in fifth place with 39 points and a game in hand. Next week has the potential to shuffle the standings. Galatasaray will have to travel to the Inonu Stadium to face Beşiktaş in a big three derby. It will be interesting to see how the bye week will affect Galatasaray as they play their intra-city rival. Beşiktaş will look to rebound after the disappointing loss at Gaziantepspor. Fenerbahçe will play at home against Bursaspor that can either pull Bursaspor closer to a Champions League spot, or potentially give Fenerbahçe the league lead again should Beşiktaş beat or draw Galatasaray. Kayserispor will have the bye next week.