Week 22 of the Turkcell Super League can also be considered a pivotal point in the season. An important Istanbul derby was going to determine bragging rights, but perhaps if the leaders would be in the driver's seat to the title. An important top of the table clash was in the cards in an important for position for European competition. The derby had all of the headlines this week, as it usually does.
The action started on Saturday. Trabzonspor had not lost a match in the 2010 calendar year so far, and looked to continue that achievement at home against Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor. Umut Bulut had a chance in the 11th minute, but his header was into the hands of Istanbul BB goalkeeper Kenan Hasagic. The Istanbul municipal team continued to hold on in the first half. With an attempt by Selcuk Inan and Egemen Korkmaz having a goal wiped out due to an infraction of play, Trabzonspor looked like they were unlucky not to be up by at least one goal. The bad luck for Trabzonspor also reared its head in the second half. Teofilo Guitierrez had a shot on goal that deflected off the line by Gustavo Colman, his teammate. Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor had a chance in the 61st minute, as Tevfik Kose had a shot resulting in a save by Trabzonspor goalkeeper Onur Kivrak. In the last ten minutes of the match, Trabzonspor's bad luck continued. Selcuk Inan's shot on goal in the 83rd minute hit the post. In the third minute of stoppage time, Giray Kacar's attempt on goal was saved by Hasagic. The match ended in a 0-0 draw, and it was disappointing that Trabzonspor could not get maximum points at home. Considering the potential for the Istanbul teams to drop points, Trabzonspor will be ruing this opportunity to gain position and potentially get a European spot.
Saturday's other results saw a scoreless draw and a battle in the relegation zone. Eskişehirspor and Gençlerbirliği played to a scoreless draw. With a two match winning streak, Eskişehirspor looked to make it three straight against a Gençlerbirliği side that lost two straight. Eskişehirspor had many of the chances in the match, but the closest either club came to scoring was Gençlerbirliği's Hursit Meric in the 90th minute. Sivasspor and Manisaspor met in the other match. An even matchup was on the cards as the match went back and forth. The only goal of the match came in the 62nd minute, as Cihan Yilmaz scored off a cross by Mehmet Yildiz. Manisaspor fought hard for the draw, but even with six minutes of stoppage time added on in the second half, Manisaspor was unsuccessful to get the draw. Sivasspor has taken 7 points, including this week, in the last three weeks of league competition. Now in 13th place on 24 points, Sivasspor will look to continue this good form in order to avoid the drop.
Anytime either of the big three Istanbul clubs meet up, it's always the match of the week. This week it was no different, as Beşiktaş hosted Galatasaray at the Inonu stadium. Galatasaray looked to retain the Super League lead, after rising to the top of the standings with their free three points last week. Beşiktaş looked to get back on track towards a European spot after a disappointing loss to Gaziantepspor last week. The action got started in the 10th minute, as Michael Fink's long range attempt on goal went off a Galatasaray defender and out. In the 21st minute, Abdul Kader Keita came into the box from the left flank and shot a low range shot that Rustu Recber had to stretch out to save. Galatasaray had another chance in the 25th minute when Elano crossed the ball from the left flank, but Baris Ozbek's header missed the target. In the 33rd minute, Filip Holosko headed the ball to Mert Nobre standing outside the penalty area. Nobre's shot was saved by Leo Franco, and Holosko's attempt on goal went out. Some controversy came about in the 38th minute. Ibrahim Uzulmez's cross into the box was headed by Holosko towards the goal, and the ball looked to be saved off the line by Leo Franco. Some replays showed the ball might have crossed the line before Franco took full possession of the ball. Nonetheless, play continued and the ball was ruled by referee Firat Aydinus not to have crossed the line. Beşiktaş came close to scoring in the 44th minute. Ekrem Dag crossed the ball into the penalty area, but Nobre's header went off the post. Nobre tried to score off the rebound, but it was cleared for a corner. The resulting corner saw the ball cleared out of the penalty area, but Michael Fink crossed the ball into the area and Mert Nobre headed the ball out. The first half ended 0-0, but Beşiktaş seemed to have the upper hand. In the 51st minute, Elano shot the ball from a few meters from the penalty arc that was saved by Rustu Recber. The resulting cross by Caner Erkin went parallel to the goal line and went out for a throw in. Galatasaray drew first blood in the 68th minute. Jo, who has recently been substituted into the match, crossed the ball into the box. When Tomas Sivok tried to clear the ball, Arda Turan stole the ball and shot the ball low and into the net to put Galatasaray into the lead. After the goal, Turan looked to be injured and was substituted. Beşiktaş tried to answer back in the 72nd minute. Ekrem Dag's attempt from the penalty arc barely missed the post. Beşiktaş got the tying goal in the 82nd minute. A Beşiktaş free kick was attempted to be punched out by Leo Franco. The ball ended up with Tomas Sivok, and Sivok made up for his previous mistake by scoring. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Other results from Sunday saw a very interesting result from Diyarbakir. Denizlispor came into their match against Diyarbakirspor with only one win earned on the pitch. Denizlispor would emerge with a 2-0 win to make it two straight wins and perhaps a chance to avoid relegation. They will make it three straight wins next week, because they will get the bye and the free three points. Antalyaspor and Ankaragücü fought to a 2-2 draw. Jan Rajnoch struck first in the 17th minute for Ankaragücü. Veysel Cihan scored two goals in the 23rd minute and the 43rd minute for Antalyaspor. Ankaragücü got their tying goal through Muhammet Hanifi Yoldas in the 74th minute. Yilmaz Vural has a reputation in Turkish football for getting relegation bound teams to stay in the Super League. He seems to be weaving his magic again, as Kasımpaşa beat Gaziantepspor at home 3-0, through goals by Yekta Kurtulus, Şahin Aygüneş, and Murat Erdoğan.
The only match on Monday saw Fenerbahçe and Bursaspor clash at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium. Fenerbahçe looked to take the lead in the Super League standing after Galatasaray lost points in the Istanbul derby. Bursaspor looked to spring an upset and vault them closer to a Champions League spot. It looked good for Fenerbahçe in the 5th minute, as Alex de Souza received a pass from Cristian Baroni and shot the ball from long range into the net to give Fenerbahçe a quick 1-0 lead. In the 21st minute, Alex's corner from the right corner arc went all the way to Gokcek Vederson at the left flank. Vederson crossed the ball into the area, and Andre dos Santos flicked the ball into the net to give Fenerbahçe a 2-0 lead. In the 26th minute, Bursaspor would answer back. As Pablo Batalla approached the goal, he passed to Ozan Ipek on the left flank. Batalla would head the resulting cross from Ipek into the net to cut the deficit in half for Bursaspor. In the 34th minute, Fenerbahçe's emerging young star Ozer Hurmaci had to leave the game due to a separated shoulder, and is likely ruled out for the second leg of the Europa League clash with OSC Lille. In the 36th minute, Alex de Souza received a pass from Emre Belozoglu, and his resulting shot would hit the crossbar and out. As the first half ended with a 2-1 advantage to Fenerbahçe, it could be thought that all Fenerbahçe had to do was hold on and continue to play their game to win. The second half saw Bursaspor come out to make a comeback. In the 69th minute, Ali Tandogan crossed the ball to Omer Erdogan, but Erdogan's header would barely miss. In the 85th minute, Fabio Bilica was called for a high boot in the box. In this case, the resulting infraction resulted in an indirect free kick. Ozan Ipek took advantage and curled the free kick into the net to tie the match at two goals apiece. Fenerbahçe would attempt to win the match by going into an all out attack towards Bursaspor's goal. But in the first minute of stoppage time, a Fenerbahçe corner resulted in a three-on-one breakaway for Bursaspor. In the end, Ozan Ipek scored his second, and Bursaspor's third, goal of the match that gave Bursaspor the win and an important three points. Fenerbahçe got booed off the pitch in their own home stadium.
There was one incident in particular during the Fenerbahçe match that particularly caught my eye.. Dani Guiza was the starting forward for Fenerbahçe in their match against Bursaspor, and while he hasn't exactly found the form that made him lead La Liga in goal scoring in 2007-08, he has tried his hardest to adapt to Turkish football. He wasn't exactly on form in this match, and the fans at Sukru Saracoglu stadium booed loudly. Why is this mentioned? At one point, the fans were chanting for Semih Senturk to come on to the pitch. When Guiza did get substituted in the 70th minute, he was booed off the pitch. When he got to the bench, he basically broke down and cried. While he hasn't lit the Turkish football world on fire, it's hard not to feel for the guy as he seemed to look helpless. It could be inferred that he might have some deeper problems that he might have to work out. Perhaps he should get some help in order to get his stuff straighten out. It might be easy to say that he's a professional and he should be able to deal with it, but as evidenced with Robert Enke's suicide, some players might not know how to handle the pressure to perform as footballers. I'm hoping something really serious as that doesn't happen, but as evidenced with Enke, we don't know what goes through the mind of footballers in their lives. I hope Guiza can work everything out and he can at least play without any issues that affect his play on the pitch and his personal life.
As for the league standings, Galatasaray widened the gap between them and Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray now leads with 47 points to Fenerbahçe's 45 points. Bursaspor is in third place with 43 points. Kayserispor is in fourth with 42 points. Beşiktaş rounds out the top five with 39 points. The Turkish Football Federation this week announced the make up dates for both the Beşiktaş – Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor match and the Kasımpaşa – Bursaspor match that were postponed in week 18 due to snow. The matches will be made up on Wednesday March 10th. Kasımpaşa – Bursaspor will be the early game, while the Beşiktaş – Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor match will be the nightcap. Next week is highlighted by a crucial top of the table clash as Beşiktaş travels to the Kadir Has Stadium to face Kayserispor.