Spor Toto Super League standings

Monday, February 22, 2010

Turkcell Super League – Week 22 review

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.

Turkey National Team Schedule for Euro 2012 Qualifying

The national team schedule for the qualifiers for the Euro 2012 tournament has been determined. The schedule is as follows:

  • September 3, 2010: Kazakhstan – Turkey
  • September 7, 2010: Turkey – Belgium
  • October 8, 2010: Germany – Turkey
  • October 12, 2010: Azerbaijan – Turkey
  • March 29, 2011: Turkey – Austria
  • June 3, 2011: Belgium – Turkey
  • September 6, 2011: Austria – Turkey
  • October 7, 2011: Turkey – Germany
  • October 11, 2011: Turkey – Azerbaijan

Perhaps the hardest team to get the wins from will be Germany. Belgium is going to cause problems in these qualifiers, if recent history shows. Perhaps the safe bet is that Turkey will finish second in the group and move on to the qualification playoffs.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Turkish National Team to Play Exhibitions in the USA

The Turkish national team will be playing a couple of exhibition games in the United States coming up in May. On May 22nd, Turkey will be playing the Czech Republic in a rematch from the heralded Euro 2008 group stage match at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. On May 29th, Turkey will be playing the United States at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The May 29th match will serve as the World Cup sendoff for the United States. This will be an interesting time for the Turkish team. With the prospects of Guus Hiddink taking over as national team coach in August, this will serve as a test to see who will step up to get noticed. With Euro 2012 qualifiers around the corner, it will be interesting to see who will be called up to play these matches. Oguz Cetin will serve as the temporary coach while Guus Hiddink serves out his contract with the Russian Football Union.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Guus Hiddink appointed as head coach of the Turkish National Team.

It has been confirmed, through various sources, that the Turkish Football Federation has agreed in principle to hire Guus Hiddink as the head coach of the Turkish national team. Hiddink, who is still under contract with the Russian Football Federation until June, will sign a contract that will have him begin his duties as head coach on August 1, 2010. He succeeds Fatih Terim, who resigned the post in October after the loss in the World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign to Belgium back in October. After meeting with Turkish Football Federation president Mahmut Özgener and TFF vice-president Lutfi Arıboğan in Amsterdam, a contract was agreed upon with the 63-year old. The contract is said to be a four year contract, guaranteeing that Hiddink will be the coach through at least the Euro 2012 tournament, with optional two more years. Hiddink's assistants are to be former Fenerbahçe great Oğuz Çetin and former Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe goalkeeper Engin İpekoğlu.

Hiddink's has been considered one of the top coaches in the world due to his success at club level, but mostly at international level. He had won the treble of Dutch league, cup, and European Cup with PSV Eindhoven in 1988. While coach of PSV Eidhoven, he had won three Dutch league titles. His coaching stink with the Netherlands saw the Dutch make it to the World Cup semi-finals in 1998. He became a South Korean national hero, and an honorary citizen of South Korea, after leading the Korean national team to a fourth place finish in the 2002 World Cup. After leading the Australian national team to the second round in the 2006 World Cup, he would lead Russia to an appearance in the Euro 2008 semi-finals. During his tenure with the Russian national team, he would lead Chelsea to an English FA Cup in 2009. After the defeat to Slovenia in the 2010 World Cup qualifying playoff, it was confirmed that he would not extend his contract with the Russian Football Union after it expires in June 2010.

Hiddink has experience in Turkey in his career. In the 1990-1991 season, he was the head coach of Fenerbahçe, before being let go after that season. While Hiddink may have had success everywhere he's been, this job will have him going into a steaming cauldron. He will be under pressure to succeed right away, and it will be considered outright failure should Turkey not qualify for Euro 2012. Hiddink will have talented players to work with, as evidenced through Turkey's run in Euro 2008. The question will be whether he can combine the talent he will have, and put in a team concept that ends the reputation of the Turkish national team as perhaps one of the most erratic national teams on the face of God's green earth (as mentioned by me on the previous Turkish Football Weekly podcast). He will also have a deep talent pool to work with, as he can potentially select not only Turkish players in Turkey, but also Turkish players that are eligible to play for the Turkish national team in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and France among others. Hiddink is a more than capable coach, but he'll be under the microscope right away. The press in Turkey can become nasty with criticisms should the national team not succeed, so Hiddink will have to deal with that. With the Hiddink era set to begin in August, it will be interesting to see what Hiddink can be able to do with a team that seems to be on the brink of great success, but can't seem to find consistency to achieve such success.

Turkcell Super League – week 21 recap

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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Turkey’s road to Euro 2012 determined.

The draw for the qualification phase of the Euro 2012 tournament took place on Sunday. Turkey found out who they would be playing in order to get into Euro 2012, which will be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. Turkey was drawn into group A with the following nations:

  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Kazakhstan
  • Azerbaijan

What's interesting about this draw is that Germany, Austria, and Belgium are countries with a sizable Turkish expatriate population. The matches with Germany should be interesting, especially when the two countries meet in Germany. With about 3 million Turks living in Germany, it looks like whatever German city hosts the Germany-Turkey match will most likely be split 50-50 in terms of the crowd. Also interesting is Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan as opponents. Both countries are Turkic countries, so it's almost like playing with ethnic brethren for the Turks. Regardless, with the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, Turkey will have enormous pressure to qualify for this tournament. The big question at this point is who will coach the national team. Rumors are going around that it's either Mark Hughes, formerly coach of Manchester City and Wales, or Guus Hiddink, who currently coaches the Russian national team. Whoever it is, that person will have to come up with a game plan to erase the disappointment of not participating in the World Cup this year.

Turkcell Super League – Week 20 recap.

Week 20 of the Turkcell Super League could be the week where the standings could be shaken up. It featured a top of the table matchup that could vault one team to the top of the table, or the other team into serious contenders for the league championship. Kayserispor hosted Galatasaray in the match of the week on Saturday. Fenerbahçe looked to continue their lead in the standings as Diyarbakirspor came into town. The week got started on Friday, as Beşiktaş looked to inch closer to a Europa League spot by facing Gençlerbirliği.

Inching closer to a Europa League spot, Beşiktaş looked to gain three points over Gençlerbirliği. Beşiktaş was without the services of their manager Mustafa Denizli for this match. Assistant coach Tayfur Havutcu took over for this match and kept the same lineup that Denizli had from last week's match against Antalyaspor. It seemed to work as in the 33rd minute, Tomas Sivok scored off a pass from Bobo to put Beşiktaş up 1-0. Beşiktaş came out with more pressure in the second half. However, Gençlerbirliği got an unexpected equalizer in the 52nd minute. Hursit Meric shot the ball from long distance, and the ball went by Rustu Recber that tied the match for Gençlerbirliği 1-1. Beşiktaş would take the lead for good within the last 11 minutes of the match. In the 79th minute, Rodrigo Tabata advanced the ball to near the penalty area, and passed to Filip Holosko. Holosko's pass found Bobo, and Bobo's shot went into the back of the net to make it 2-1, leaving Gençlerbirliği goalkeeper Serdar Kulbilge flat-footed, helplessly watching. In the 81st minute, Tabata made a run towards goal again. His pass, intended for Yusuf Simsek, was intercepted by a Gençlerbirliği defender. Simsek stole the ball, passed the ball to Holosko, and Holosko put it in the back of the net to put Beşiktaş up 3-1. The 87th minute saw Beşiktaş be awarded a corner. The ball would eventually end up at the feet of Rodrigo Tabata. Tabata shot the ball from a tight angle, but the ball went into the net to make the score 4-1 to Beşiktaş. The 4-1 score ended up being the final result and Beşiktaş crept closer to that guaranteed Europa League spot.

Galatasaray travelled to Kayseri to play Kayserispor at the Kadir Has stadium. With an ankle injury that Jo suffered during the Turkish Cup match earlier in the week against Antalyaspor, along with Harry Kewell and Milan Baros on the sidelines due to their injuries, Galatasaray would have to cope with no true center forward for this match. Arda Turan had to fill in at the central forward position. Giovani dos Santos started and the off-form Servet Cetin was on the bench, giving Emre Gungor a chance in the central defense alongside Lucas Neill. The central defense pairing did their job, as Ariza Makukula was shut down for the entire match. The leading scorer in the Turkcell Super League seemed to look lost. In the 15th minute, Franco Cangele's free kick barely missed the target and went out. In the waning minutes of the first half, Abdul Kader Keita's cross found Mustafa Sarp. Sarp headed the ball in the direction of Arda Turan, but Turan shot the ball over the bar and out. Things got complicated for Kayserispor to get the win in the 64th minute, as Hakan Aslantas picked up his second yellow card of the match and was sent off. Elano missed a chance in the 73rd minute, as his shot was blocked by a Kayserispor defender and out for a corner. Galatasaray had their best chance in the 89th minute, as Emre Colak found himself one on one with Kayserispor goalkeeper Hamidou Souleymanou. Souleymanou came up with a crucial save. One minute later, Abdul Kader Keita's header went over the bar and out. The match ended up as a 0-0 draw. Galatasaray continues to struggle scoring, and without a true center forward, scoring may be hard to come by, especially with their Europa League matches with Atletico Madrid coming up. Galatasaray gets the bye week next week since Ankaraspor would have been next on the schedule, so this will give them some time to sort out their forward situation

With Galatasaray's draw against Kayserispor, Fenerbahçe looked to gain some breathing room in the standings against Diyarbakirspor. Diyarbakirspor had other ideas, as they looked to avoid the relegation zone. Gustave Bebbe's shot in the 8th minute went off the crossbar, leaving the Fenerbahçe defense in confusion. In the 41st minute, Ozer Hurmaci advanced into the penalty area from a pass from Semih Senturk. Getting pass two Diyarbakirspor defenders left Hurmaci alone against Diyarbakirspor goalkeeper Gokhan Tokgoz , but Tokgoz made the save from Hurmaci's attempt. In the 58th minute, Emre Belozoglu lost the ball and Thierry Tazemeta went on the counterattack. Volkan Demirel had to come out and clear the ball, leaving Fenerbahçe breathing a sigh of relief. Diyarbakirspor took a shock lead in the 83rd minute. Ayman Abdelaziz's shot from about 25 meters away from the goal curled away from Demirel's outstretched hands and gave Diyarbakirspor a shock lead. With that, Diyarbakirspor played the last minutes of the match with ten men behind the ball, content to let Fenerbahçe attack and hold on for the win. It would come back to haunt them, as in the 90th minute, a free kick from the right flank ended up being headed into the goal by Andre dos Santos to salvage the draw for Fenerbahçe. The match ended up as a 1-1 draw, and Fenerbahçe will be under pressure next week to beat Manisaspor on the road. They will have to do so without Mehmet Topuz. His red card in the fourth minute of stoppage time, for grabbing the throat of an opposing player, will leave the midfielder out next week (Note: the TFF has now made his suspension two matches since then). Galatasaray will have the bye, and the free three points, so Fenerbahçe will have to be on their game in order to keep their lead in the standings.

Other results from week 20 were as follows: Eskişehirspor 2-1 Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor, Sivasspor 2-0 Denizlispor, Kasımpaşa 2-2 Antalyaspor, Ankaragücü 0-0 Bursaspor, and Trabzonspor 3-0 Manisaspor. Gaziantepspor picked up the three free points due to Ankaraspor's disqualification. The top five in the standings didn't change. Fenerbahçe continues to lead with 44 points, Galatasaray in second with 43 points, Bursaspor is third with 39 points and a +19 goal differential, Kayserispor in fourth with 39 points and a + 16 goal differential, and Beşiktaş in fifth with 38 points.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Euro 2012 qualifying pots determined – Turkey in pot 2

The draw for Euro 2012 qualification is set to take place on Feburary 7th. With the excitement leading up to qualifications, along with who will be the head coach of the Turkish National Team, the draw is highly anticipated. Turkey is in pot 2 of the draw as seen below.

Pot 1: Spain (holders), Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Croatia, Portugal, France, and Russia

Pot 2: Greece, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Turkey, Denmark, Slovakia, and Romania

Pot 3: Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Austria, and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Pot 4: Slovenia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Belarus, Belgium, Wales, FYR Macedonia, and Cyprus

Pot 5: Montenegro, Albania, Estonia, Georgia, Moldova, Iceland, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Liechtenstein

Pot 6: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Malta, Faroe Islands, Andorra, and San Marino

Turkcell Super League – week 19 recap

The march to the Turkcell Super League championship continues onward this week. A total of three games were featured on Friday and Saturday. After their match last week was postponed, Beşiktaş got their second half of the season started with a trip down to Antalya to play Antalyaspor. Trabzonspor looked to improve their chances in clinching a Europa League spot, as they headed down to Diyarbakir to face Diyarbakirspor. Kasımpaşa is only three points above the relegation zone, while Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor is still in the middle of the table. Those two teams would meet for local supremacy.

Friday's match had Beşiktaş head down to the vacation city of Antalya to face Antalyaspor. Both teams were playing their first on-field league match since December. Beşiktaş had their match last week postponed, while Antalyaspor got the free three points because they would have played the disqualified Ankaraspor. Both teams looked a bit rusty as there was very little action in the first half, with the first half ending 0-0. The action would heat up in the second half. In the 53rd minute, a Beşiktaş cross from the left flank into the box by Rodrigo Tabata, was headed towards the goal by Tomas Sivok. The header was saved by Antalyaspor goalkeeper Omer Catkic and out for a corner. Some controversy erupted after the corner was taken when it appeared that Radoslav Batak of Antalyaspor handled the ball. It may have looked like incidental contact, but the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Bobo took the penalty and scored to give Beşiktaş the lead 1-0. Antalyaspor came out furiously trying to tie the match. The 61st minute saw Necati Ates attempt a header on goal, but ended up in the hands of Beşiktaş goalkeeper Rustu Recber. The 70th minute saw Serge Djiehoua head a crossing ball out for a goal kick. Fatih Ceylan had a volley deflected out by Beşiktaş' Ekrem Dag in the 74th minute. With all of the opportunities that Antalyaspor had, it seemed like Beşiktaş were lucky that attempts on goal were missed, cleared, or turned around for counterattacks. Beşiktaş held on for the win 1-0.

Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor and Kasımpaşa met in the first match on Saturday. The two mid-table sides looked to consolidate their positions. Kasımpaşa got the scoring started in the 2nd minute. Sahin Aygunes received a through ball from Andre Moritz and scored. The 18th minute saw Aygunes leave the ball and Yekta Kurtulus shot the ball on goal, but into the hands of Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor goalkeeper Kenan Hasagic. Kasımpaşa doubled their lead in the 29th minute. Okan Buruk's pass ended up with Kasımpaşa's Murat Erdogan. Erdogan went into the box alone and scored. The first half ended with Kasımpaşa up 2-0. Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor would dominate the second half. In the 50th minute, Ekrem Eksioglu's crossing pass from the left flank was headed into the net by Herve Tum to make the score 2-1. Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor tied the match in the 57th minute, as Iskender Alin scored off a through ball by Ali Guzeldal. Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor then took the lead in the 69th minute. Serhat Gulpinar's shot in the penalty area was saved, but Iskender Alin put the rebound in the net. Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor then clinched the match in the 80th minute. Ali Guzeldal's corner from the right side was headed home by Tevfik Kose. Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor won the match 4-2 and Kasımpaşa is now dangerously close to the relegation zone.

In the final match on Saturday, Diyarbakirspor hosted Trabzonspor. Trabzonspor had not lost any matches in 2010 (both Turkish Cup and league matches) and was looking to extend that unbeaten streak. It looked good for Trabzonspor in the 16th minute. Alanzinho's shot on goal was saved for a corner. From Gustavo Colman's resulting corner, Engin Baytar shot the ball into the net to put Trabzonspor on the board 1-0. Diyarbakirspor tied the game in the 22nd minute. Celaleddin Kocak's shot was saved by Trabzonspor goalkeeper Onur Kivrak. Thierry Tazemeta got to the loose ball and scored to tie the match. Trabzonspor almost took back the lead in the 38th minute, as Selcuk Inan's free kick hit the crossbar. One minute later, Trabzonspor got the lead back. Gustavo Colman crossed the ball from the left flank into the penalty area, and Engin Baytar headed the ball into goal. The first half ended with a 2-1 advantage to Trabzonspor. Diyarbakirspor nearly tied the match in the 64th minute. Tazemeta's crossing pass found Erhan Senturk right in front of the Trabzonspor goal, but Senturk's shot was too powerful and went over the bar. In the 69th minute, another opportunity came for Trabzonspor, but Serkan Balci's header went off the post and was cleared by the Diyarbakirspor defense. The 72nd minute saw Ceyhun Gulselam cross the ball in front of the goal, but Umut Bulut couldn't make any contact with the ball and the ball rolled out. Trabzonspor went on to win the match 2-1. Trabzonspor remained sixth in the standings and are now two points behind Beşiktaş, but Beşiktaş have yet to make up its postponed match from week 18 against Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor.

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.