Turkish Football News

Istanbul giants to battle for first place on Sunday

Istanbul giants to battle on Sunday for first place

Spor Toto Super League leader Basaksehir will line-up against city rivals Galatasaray on April 15 in a game that could settle the title race with just six games to go.

Last season’s runner-up Basaksehir, based in the suburb with the same name in Istanbul, leads the league with 59 points after 28 games, two ahead of Galatasaray.

Defending champions Besiktas defeated Akhisarspor earlier today and have moved up to 1st place with 59 points.

Basaksheir’s performances against the “Big Three” Istanbul clubs has been more than impressive this season. The club, which changed its name from Istanbul Municipality to Basaksehir in June 2014, has lost only twice in its 17 league and cup games against Besiktas, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, winning nine of those games.

It has an even more impressive record against Galatasaray, having won the last four games played between the two sides.

Under coach Abdullah Avci, a former Turkish national team coach, Basaksehir have been constantly performing well in the top league since its promotion in the 2013-2014 season.

The club finished in the fourth spot in two consecutive seasons in 2015 and 2016, before being runner-up last season.

Avci said he was delighted to be in the title race with the traditional three giants of Turkish football.

“We are enjoying it,” he said after last week’s 1-0 win against Malatyaspor when asked about his team situation in the league.

“Our stance will not change whether we win or lose the Galatasaray game. We bring joy to the league and it is important to be able to contribute to Turkish football. I hope the Galatasaray game will be an enthusiastic one within the spirit of fair play and I hope we will be the winning side,” Avci added.

The weekend will also see a number of crucial games in the relegation zone.

Gençlerbirligi, a surprise winner last week against Galatasaray, travels to Kayserispor on April 15, while Konyaspor visits Antalyaspor on the same day.

Osmanlispor, on the same number of points as Konyaspor, will host Trabzonspor in Week 29’s final game on April 16.

Fourth-placed Fenerbahçe will aim for a victory to keep pace with the top three teams when it travels to Sivasspor on April 14.

Bursaspor, which replaced coach Paul Le Guen with Mustafa Er after last week’s 1-0 home defeat against Kasimpasaspor, will be at Göztepe on April 15.

On April 14, Karabükspor, the first team to be relegated from the Super Lig this season, will travel to Istanbul to play Kasimpasa, while Malatyaspor will entertain Alanyaspor.

Source: HurriyetDailyNews

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