Galatasaray Wins Another Good One

Galatasaray played a derby game that resembled a cup final against Fenerbahçe last Sunday. Now it is going to play another match this weekend at Sivasspor that is equally important in its bid to secure the league title. After winning the crucial battle over Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray plays another vital game this Sunday, when it takes on surprise package Sivasspor, which hopes to cap its glorious season with a shock title, or at least a runner up position.

The Turkcell Super League leader is three points away from the closest trailers, Sivas and Fener, who are obviously seeing Sunday’s game as the best chance to catch up with Galatasaray again. They have a reason to think so, as high-flying underdog Sivasspor’s home performances this season has seen it bag 40 points, and is only less than Fenerbahçe’s 41. It also started the season with a league-high 10 home wins in a row.

However, Sivasspor is not unbeatable, especially in big games, which is the team’s Achilles’ heel. The sole two defeats it suffered at home were at the hands of Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. Given that it could not survive at Galatasaray’s Ali Sami Yen Stadium, in the first encounter between the teams this season, Sivasspor has to end its “big-game-syndrome.” If Sivas wins, it will equal its point tally with Galatasaray at 73. However, it needs to get a result better than 2-0 to secure a superior head-to-head record.

On the other hand, a draw will be enough for Galatasaray to maintain its lead in the last week of the season. It may even hand the Lions the league title if Fenerbahçe is impeded by Gençlerbirliği the same day. After the Fenerbahçe game, where Galatasaray probably displayed its best performance this season, the league leader will not want to lose its hard earned position in Sivas. Galatasaray winger Arda Turan confirms that the team does not intend to allow such slipups.

“Now that we’ve won the Fenerbahçe game, everything is alright,” the creative player said to Galatasaray TV. “We have crossed the ocean, and do not want to drown in a creek.” However, that does not mean that Galatasaray is underestimating the strength of Sivasspor. “The Sivasspor game will be tough because they are doing really well so far, and still going strong,” Arda said. “I hope we will come away with a win.”

Utility player Barış Özbek is way more decisive than his teammate though. “We easily won the home game [against Sivas],” said Barış. “It is going to be harder there in Sivas, but we will play well to get three points.” While Sivasspor will seek a win to wrench the title away, or at least the runner up position that will earn it a berth in next year’s pre-preliminary rounds in the Champions League, which will be another first-time event for an Anatolian team, Fenerbahçe will hope that a Galatasaray slump will revive its dim hopes of landing silverware this season. However, fourth-place Beşiktaş will be waiting for Galatasaray to win, in order to climb to third for UEFA Cup qualification.

Apart from the top four, the only thrill left in the league is whether Manisaspor will manage to write an incredibly epic story and avoid relegation. The Aegean side needs six points in the last two weeks, waiting for one of either Gençlerbirliği or Konyaspor to lose both of their remaining games. If Manisa succeeds in erasing this six-point difference, to avoid joining the likes of Çaykur Rizespor and Kasımpaşa, who have already lost all hopes of remaining in the Turkcell Super League, it will be a miraculous run, which will be among the most interesting sporting stories in recent years. Manisa starts its decisive two weeks with the game against Kasımpaşa, while Konyaspor plays at Gaziantepspor.

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