OKAN UDO – No change in race for second place in league

No change in race for second place in leagueGalatasaray showed staying power by coming from two down in the first half to beat visiting GenlerbirliIi 3-2 in week 32 of the Spor Toto Super League on Saturday and BeIiktaI defeated KasImpaIa 2-1 at home, meaning there is no change in the battle for the second spot in the Spor Toto Super League.With Fenerbahe already crowned league champion and the Yellow Canaries banned from Europe next season, all attention is now focused on the battle for second place and consequently a direct berth in the UEFA Champions League proper next season. The third-place finisher will take part in the Champions League qualifiers.The Lions, as Galatasaray is also known, were one point ahead of BeIiktaI going into Saturday’s game. Both teams therefore faced must-win situations.However, there was drama at Turk Telekom Arena as the Lions were two goals down against Ankara’s Gencler in the first 12 minutes. Midfielder Oktay Delibalta, on loan from Gaziantepspor, gave the Ankara side the lead in the sixth minute, beating flabbergasted second-choice keeper Ufuk Ceylan after a lightening-speed counterattack.And as the Lions were still wondering what went wrong, Mehmet zdilek’s GenlerbirliIi scored a second six minutes later from another fast counterattack.This time defender UIur ifti broke loose from the left flank and sent the ball to Bosnia and Herzegovina forward Ermin Zec in the Galatasaray penalty box and the Bosnian made no mistake, slotting the ball past Ufuk for the second time in the game. There were no other goals in the first half and both teams went to their dressing rooms with GenlerbirliIi leading 2-0.The Galatasaray fans in the stands were incensed, to say the least, with the first-half score and chants of “[Roberto] Mancini resign” reverberated across the Arena.“We told our players during the break that if we lose this we will lose everything. We lacked first touch on the ball, looked disorganized in midfield and had to fix these flaws on resumption of play,” Galatasaray coach Mancini said after the match.The wounded Lions therefore came out fighting in the second half. Star striker Burak YIlmaz reduced Galatasaray’s deficit to 2-1 in the 61st, redirecting a shot by Brazilian winger Alex Telles into the back of the net.The Lions got the equalizer through an own-goal by 20-year-old GenlerbirliIi defender Ahmet YIlmaz alIk two minutes later (63rd). And a goal by Turkey striker Umut Bulut in the third minute of stoppage time (93rd) put the game beyond reach and consolidated Galatasaray’s second place rank in the standings.Galatasaray faces Trabzonspor away this weekend and that match may well decide whether the Lions finish second at the end of the season or not. Eagles still thirdThird-place BeIiktaI had no such problems in the “mini” Istanbul derby against KasImpaIa at Ataturk Olympic Stadium. The Black Eagles went into the lead after just six minutes when Dutch-born midfielder OIuzhan zyakup hit home a rebound from KasImpaIa’s Sweden keeper Andreas Isaksson following a powerful shot from outside the box by Turkish-Austrian midfielder Veli Kavlak.And more was to come in the 16th minute when Veli doubled the score from a goalmouth scramble. The Eagles led 2-0 at halftime and missed several chances throughout the second half.KasImpaIa, however, did not give up the fight and got a consolation goal from Argentine attacking midfielder Ezequiel Óscar Scarione in the fifth minute of added time (95th).The Black Eagles remained in third place despite Saturday’s win and will be banking on Galatasaray dropping points in the remaining two matches for them to leapfrog the Lions into second place and play in the big-time Champions League next season.“Our primary aim now is to win all our matches,” BeIiktaI’s Croatian coach Slaven Bilic said. “Our next game is away against ElazIIspor and they surely will be playing a game of life or death in a battle to avoid relegation.“Whether winning that match will be enough for us [to finish second] is something else. All we need to do is prepare hard for that match and strive to emerge victorious,” he noted.Also on Saturday: Kayseri Erciyesspor beat Gaziantepspor 1-0, while Kardemir Karabukspor and Konyaspor shared the spoils after a 2-2 draw.

SOURCE: Todays Zaman

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