Spor Toto Super League standings

Monday, September 27, 2010

Spor Toto Super League – Week 6 Recap

The week after a derby match gets people to catch their breath, and back to normal business when it comes to Turkish soccer. Week 6 of the Spor Toto Super League was more of a "carry on" when it came to play and the results. One team needed to get a win to placate their fans, one team has come roaring back four weeks after panic was setting in, and the leaders continued their fast start.

The week opened in Bursa Ataturk stadium as Bursaspor hosted Bucaspor. Bursa Ataturk stadium has been a fortress for the defending champions, as they haven't lost at home in league play since November. Bursaspor got off to a fast start in the fourth minute. Turgay Bahadir's header came off the post and Huseyin Cimsir scored to put Bursaspor up 1-0. Bursaspor continued to find opportunities to get their second goal. In the 49th minute, Gokcek Vederson's cross was headed off the post by Omer Erdogan. Sercan Yildirim missed chances in the 61st and 79th minutes. Frederico Insua missed a chance in the 83rd minute off a counterattack. Regardless of the missed chances, Bursaspor will go into their Champions League match against Rangers with much momentum after this 1-0 victory.

The Ankara derby would be the featured match on Saturday. Both Gençlerbirliği and Ankaragücü would be looking for the win after disappointing starts to their seasons. In the 18th minute, Gençlerbirliği goalkeeper Serdar Kulbilge was injured in a collision with Ankaragücü's Roguy Meye, and couldn't continue. He left his spot to backup goalkeeper Ozkan Karabulut. In the 44th minute, Ankaragücü's Muhammet Hanefi tripped Gençlerbirliği's Serkan Calik in the penalty box, and referee Suleyman Abay pointed to the spot. Shane Smeltz converted the penalty, and Gençlerbirliği got the lead 1-0 going into halftime. Smeltz became the first New Zealand native to score in the history of the Turkish Super League. Ankaragücü tried to make a comeback in the second half, but victory this day went to Gençlerbirliği. Some Ankaragücü fans reacted angrily to the result, and were chanting for the board or head coach Umit Ozat to resign.

After a 1-1 draw last week on the road against Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş were in good spirits. Coming home against Antalyaspor, Beşiktaş looked to get another three points to continue their climb up the standings. Guti did not play in this match due to an injury, but Fabian Ernst was a more than capable replacement. In the 55th minute, Ernst passed a through ball to Bobo in the box and Bobo converted the chance to put Beşiktaş up 1-0. But it seemed that Beşiktaş was going to be set up for disappointment, when in the 68th minute, a mistake from Beşiktaş goalkeeper Hakan Arikan led to Tita scoring the tying goal for Antalyaspor. This was the second gaffe in two weeks from the goalkeeper. Arikan would not become the goat in this match, as in the first minute of stoppage time Ernst hooked up with Bobo again, and Bobo scored to make the match 2-1 to Beşiktaş. Antalyaspor's Deniz Baris had a chance in front of the goal at the tail end of the game, but missed wide, and Beşiktaş won 2-1.

Eskişehirspor has been disappointing so far this season, and it seemed that Gaziantepspor gave the Eskişehirspor fans more pain. Eskişehirspor fans protested with five minutes of silence due to their team's poor form. In the 20th minute, Serdar Kurtulus scored to give Gaziantepspor the lead 1-0. During the last ten minutes of the match, the Eskişehirspor fans chanted for the board and head coach Riza Calimbay to resign. Gaziantepspor won the match 1-0 and gave Eskişehirspor even more misery. Two days after the match, it was announced by Eskişehirspor that Riza Calimbay was sacked as Eskişehirspor head coach.

The match of the week this week featured Kayserispor hosting Trabzonspor at Kadir Has stadium. Before the match, Kayserispor head coach Shota Arveladze saluted the Trabzonspor fans that made the trip to Kayseri. Arveladze previously played for Trabzonspor in the mid-1990s and is considered a legendary figure with the Trabzonspor faithful. The match itself was disappointing. A potential goal from Kayserispor's Onder Turaci in the 51st minute was called back because of an offside. Cards were abundant in this match as five Kayserispor players received yellow cards, and Trabzonspor's Giray Kacar received his second yellow card and was sent off with 10 minutes to go in the match. The match ended 0-0 and both teams had to do with a point each.

Konyaspor hosted Karabukspor this week in a battle of promoted teams. Ivan Lietava got the scoring started in the second minute as he put Konyaspor in the lead. The 15th minute saw Florin Cernat tie the match for Karabukspor, and the teams went into halftime tied 1-1. In the 52nd minute, Karabukspor's Hakan Ozmert gave Karabukspor the lead. But Konyaspor scored in the 68th minute through Peter Grajciar, and the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

After starting the season with two consecutive losses, Galatasaray recovered from that start by winning three straight. They hosted Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor, which has given the other two Istanbul giants trouble during their match. Galatasaray got the scoring started in the 5th minute, as Milan Baros put the ball into the back of the net from a cross from Serkan Kurtulus. In the 13th minute, a handball was called against Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor's Rizvan Sahin in the box and referee Bulent Yildirim pointed to the spot. Baros converted the penalty to double Galatasaray's lead. Baros got the hat trick in the 41st minute. A pass into the box from Aydin Yilmaz found Baros and Baros finished off the chance. Galatasaray played more conservatively in the second half, as their three goal lead seemed a mountain to climb. Herve Tum got a consolation goal for Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor in the 66th minute. But it was too big of a hill to climb for the municipal team, as Galatasaray won their fourth straight match with a 3-1 score.

With a win last week, Manisaspor got the Hikmet Karaman era off to a good start. Milan Baros may have gotten a hat trick for Galatasaray, but Canadian international Josh Simpson also got a hat trick himself. Simpson scored in the 14th, 90th, and the 90+2 minutes to give Manisaspor a 3-0 victory over Sivasspor. Manisaspor wins their second straight match after starting the season with four straight losses.

The immense expectations placed upon Fenerbahçe by their fans leave little to no room for error. This week Fenerbahçe faced a must win game on the road to Kasımpaşa. This match was played at Galatasaray's Ali Sami Yen stadium due to renovations at Kasımpaşa's Recep Tayyip Erdogan stadium, and it would be the final time Fenerbahçe would play at the home of their hated rivals. It didn't look good for Fenerbahçe to start off. Kasımpaşa's Sahin Aygunes scored in the 6th minute to put Fenerbahçe on the ropes early. Fenerbahçe got their opportunity to tie the match in the 15th minute. Ersen Martin handled the ball in the penalty box, and Alex de Souza converted the penalty to tie the match 1-1. Fenerbahçe got the lead through Emre Belozoglu in the 21st minute, and Mamadou Niang padded the lead in the 24th minute. But Kasımpaşa scored through Ersen Martin one minute later, and it seemed that if Fenerbahçe was to win, it would have to be in a dogfight, as the halftime score saw Fenerbahçe up 3-2. Mamadou Niang scored again in the 64th minute to give Fenerbahçe a 4-2 lead. It seemed that Fenerbahçe would cruise to the win, and they would emphatically win in stoppage time. Mamadou Niang scored in the 90th minute to give himself a hat trick, and five minutes into stoppage time, Alex de Souza scored the final goal of the match to give Fenerbahçe an emphatic 6-2 victory over Kasımpaşa. Kasımpaşa's poor start to the season continued, and they continue to occupy last place in the Spor Toto Super League.

As of the posting of this article, it is still unknown whether the Turkish Football Federation will award three points to Bursaspor in a default victory due to the events in the match against Gaziantepspor last week. Bursaspor continues to lead the league as they have not dropped points.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gaziantepspor Issued Stadium Ban

Due to the abandoned match against Bursaspor, in which Gaziantepspor fans were throwing objects onto the field, the TFF handed down its punishment earlier today against Gaziantepspor. Gaziantepspor is to play their next home match, which will be in week 7 against Bucaspor, behind closed doors. The match against Bursaspor was abandoned by TFF referee Deniz Coban when one of the linesmen was hit by an object, reportedly a wristwatch, in the back of the head. The linesman, Muharrem Yildiz, required two stitches. It is unknown as of this point what the result of the match will be, whether Bursaspor gets a default 3-0 victory and the three points, or the match will pick up where it left off. Should previous precedent hold, Bursaspor will likely get the 3-0 default victory and three points in the standings.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spor Toto Super League – Week 5 Recap

Whenever there is an Istanbul derby, there's always great anticipation. Words are exchanged between supporters, players get psyched, and the country comes to a stop for about two hours. This week was no exception. But there were other matches in week 5 in the Spor Toto Super League that were just as important as the season's first edition of the Istanbul derbies.

The week opened up with Trabzonspor hosting Manisaspor at the Huseyin Avni Aker stadium. With Manisaspor's bad start to the season, and a new head coach, people might have expected Trabzonspor to run roughshod over the bottom dwellers. It certainly looked that way in the 9th minute, as Selcuk Inan put the hosts ahead in the match. Manisaspor had other ideas. Ariza Makukula made his triumphant return to the goal scoring charts of the Turkish Super League, scoring in the 41st minute. Josh Simpson scored a goal at the 45th minute right before the halftime whistle, and Manisaspor were up 2-1 at the break. Makukula added a second goal in the 69th minute and Manisaspor gained their first victory of the season, beating Trabzonspor 3-1.

Ankaragücü hosted Kasımpaşa at the May 19th stadium in a match between two clubs off to slow starts. Ankaragücü got the scoring started just before halftime with a goal from Metin Akan. With Kasımpaşa's Gustavo Bebbe getting a direct red card in the 56th minute, Ankaragücü took advantage and scred in the 58th minute with a goal from Marek Sapara. The night would turn into misery for Kasımpaşa as Luiz dos Santos scored into his own net in the 67th minute. Ankaragücü went on to win by the score of 3-0.

Sivasspor hosted Eskişehirspor in a battle of lower table sides. In the 25th minute, Ceyhun Eris scored off a cross from Mehmet Yildiz to give Sivasspor the lead. It seemed as if that would be the only goal of the match. But there's an old saying, "football is a game of 90 minutes", and it would prove true in this match. In the third minute of three of stoppage time, Adem Sari of Eskişehirspor scored to make the final score 1-1.

Kayserispor looked to continue their run of good form, and they went on the road to Antalya. With the start Kayserispor has had, it looked to be a continuation of their good start. Antalyaspor had other ideas. Serge Djiehoua got the scoring started in the 15th minute as Antalyaspor went up 1-0. In the 42nd minute, Marcelo Zayaleta tied the match for Kayserispor as both teams went into the halftime break with the match tied 1-1. Sedat Agcay scored in the 59th minute to put Antalyaspor in the lead. Kayserispor tried to tie the match by increasing their attacks at the Antalyaspor goal. Antalyaspor held on to win the match 2-1 and gave Kayserispor their first defeat of the season.

With two straight wins to even out their two straight losses to start the season, Galatasaray were ready to make their run towards the title. They had to do it without influential Arda Turan, who continued his recovery from his ankle injury suffered in the national team match against Belgium. They went to the Izmir Ataturk stadium to face Bucaspor. This would serve as a virtual home game for Galatasaray since the Galatasaray fans outnumbered the Bucaspor fans, like the first week of the season when Bucaspor hosted Beşiktaş. Ayhan Akman scored the only goal in this match, as that goal was enough to give Galatasaray the 1-0 win. Galatasaray got their third straight win after losing their first two matches.

Kardemir Karabukspor has defied expectations so far and got their season off to a good start. Hosting Gençlerbirliği, Karabukspor continued to show good form with a 3-0 victory. Emmanuel Emenike, who lit up the goal scoring charts in the Bank Asya 1st division, scored two goals in the 23rd and 82nd minutes. Hakan Ozmert was the other goal scorer for Karabukspor as they won comfortably.

Anytime an Istanbul derby is scheduled, the eyes of Turkey are focused on that match, and with Fenerbahçe hosting Beşiktaş, this was no exception. The Fenerbahçe fans would be happy in the 26th minute. With slack defending by Beşiktaş, and bad positioning by Beşiktaş goalkeeper Hakan Arikan, Mamadou Niang scored his third goal of the season to put the hosts up 1-0. Further chances by Gokhan Gonul, Niang and Issiar Dia failed to find the net, and Fenerbahçe would only be up by one goal at the halftime break. Beşiktaş took control of the match in the second half. Guti was the midfield maestro, providing passes that set up chances for Beşiktaş. In the 86th minute, Fenerbahçe goalkeeper Volkan Demirel tripped Beşiktaş striker Bobo in the penalty area in a one on one situation, leading to a Beşiktaş penalty. Guti stepped up, and although Demirel got the direction right and got a hand to the ball, the ball went into the back of the net. The match would end in a 1-1 tie and it was obvious that Beşiktaş were the happier side after the match. Fenerbahçe's early season misery continues and fans of the club were calling for head coach Aykut Kocaman to resign.

While the derby was going on, Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor hosted Konyaspor. Ali Sami Yen stadium hosted this match, and the first half ended with a 0-0 score. Herve Tum scored in the 63rd minute for the hosts to give Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor the win 1-0.

Gaziantepspor hosted defending champions Bursaspor in the final match of the week. The halftime score ended with both teams failing to score. In the 56th minute, Bursaspor got a goal through captain Omer Erdogan. At around the 53rd minute, Gaziantepspor fans threw objects onto the field, mostly water bottles. In the 63rd minute, linesman Muharrem Yilmaz was hit in the back of the head, reportedly by a wristwatch, and had to get two stitches to close the wound. Referee Deniz Coban halted the match after the linesman got hit. This isn't the first time that a Bursaspor match has been halted early in this calendar year. Last season, a match in which Bursaspor played Diyarbakirspor in Diyarbakir was halted in the 17th minute as constant objects thrown from the stands and a rock from the stands hit a linesman. If previous precedent holds, Bursaspor will most likely be awarded a 3-0 victory by default and Gaziantepspor will have to play two to three games behind closed doors.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Turkish National Team Off To Flying Start In Euro 2012 Qualifying

A new era started for the Turkish national team on August 1st of this year. It was the day when highly regarded coach Guus Hiddink would officially begin his duties as head coach of the Turkish national football team. Many were looking forward to how Hiddink would handle being a national team coach in a country where emotions run high and expectations are great. After the disappointment of not making the World Cup in 2010, the Turkish national team would have to begin from scratch as they looked to qualify for European championship in 2012. While winning against Romania in August, that match was only a friendly, and the national team got their first real tests in games that matter this past Friday and Tuesday, against Kazakhstan and Belgium respectively.

The first match for the Turkish national team happened this past Friday, as the team flew to Astana to face Kazakhstan. While not the most glamorous opponent to start off, Kazakhstan would not let the Turks take it easy. But Turkey got the goal scoring started in the 24th minute. A pass through the air into the penalty box was headed towards goal by Omer Erdogan, who made his first international start for Turkey. The ball came off the post, but Arda Turan was in front of the goal and and tapped the ball into the net. Two minutes later, Hamit Altintop scored off a volley from a corner. It was considered one of the best goals of the night in all of the qualifiers. With Turkey going into the halftime break up 2-0, it seemed as though the Turks would cruise through to victory. Kazakhstan did give Turkey some trouble during the second half. However, Nihat Kahveci would score in the 76th minute to make the final score 3-0.

The real test of Turkey under Guus Hiddink would come in their home match against Belgium this past Tuesday, which took place at the Şükrü Saracoğlu stadium in Istanbul's Kadikoy district. History was against the Turkish national team here, as the last two times they played against Belgium, they drew and lost. Both of these matches came in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, with the draw coming in the second match of the campaign and the loss coming in the second to last match of the qualifying round. While Kazakhstan isn't a formidable opponent, Belgium has been a thorn in the side of the Turkish national team in recent memory. This match would either provide Turkey with a spark going into the October clash against Germany, or provide the Turks with another Belgian jinx.

The match itself had fireworks before and during the match. Eden Hazard, one of the star players for the Belgian national team, would not be in the starting lineup due to injury. The match went back and forth, with captivating football being played from both teams. In the 28th minute, Belgium would take the lead through Daniel Van Buyten, heading a ball home from a corner taken by Toby Alderweireld. The halftime score saw Belgium up 1-0 and Turkish fans wondering if history would be repeating itself. Three minutes after the second half kicked off, Turkey responded. Ismail Koybasi attacked from the left flank, and his pass would eventually find Hamit Altintop. Altintop's first shot was saved, but he put in the rebound to tie the match at one goal apiece. In the 64th minute, Vincent Kompany picked up his second yellow card with a harsh foul on Hamit Altintop, leaving Belgium to play with 10 men for the rest of the match. His first yellow came in the first half with a foul on Tuncay Sanli. In the 66th minute, Hamit Altintop's through ball found Semih Senturk alone on front of the goal, and Senturk converted the chance to a goal to put Turkey in the lead 2-1. Belgium would answer back two minutes later. Van Buyten headed the ball into the net after Turkey goalkeeper Onur Kivrak came off his line to try and clear a Belgium free kick from Kevin Mirallas. Romelu Lukaku headed the ball toward Van Buyten and Van Buyten put the ball into the empty net. In the 78th minute, Gokhan Gonul's cross found Arda Turan, and Turan scored with a shot taken close to the penalty spot to put Turkey up 3-2. Turan's shot took a defelection off Marouane Fellaini and ended up in the goal to send the stadium into bedlam. Belgium had one last ditch effort in stoppage time, but Turkey went on to win 3-2, winning two straight matches to get their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign off to a flying start.

The Turkish national team and their fans are relieved to see two straight victories to start off. But a tremendous test will be against Germany in Berlin. It will be interesting to see Mesut Ozil, the celebrated German player of Turkish descent, playing against Turkey. Also of Turkish descent playing on the national team is Serdar Tasci, a very capable central defender. Even with Ozil and Tasci, the German team is exceptionally strong, with names such as Miroslav Klose, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, and Thomas Muller. It will especially be interesting to see the crowd makeup for this match, as Turks comprised the largest minority in Germany. For now though, Turkey will be relieved that they have achieved maximum points so far.