Begiktag throws in title towel before crucial Galatasaray derby

The Black Eagles can no longer dream of winning this year’s Spor Toto Super League title after losing 1-0 to Torku Konyaspor on Monday night and they will be hard-pressed to come up with the motivation to defeat leader Galatasaray away this weekend.

Beiiktai had played a lackluster match from the beginning, perhaps suffering from the psychological damage caused by drawing its last two matches 1-1 against smaller teams to dent their designs on the cup at the end of the year.

The first half ended the same way it began, 0-0, despite a number of close shots from both teams. Konya did not score until the final 10 minutes.

“It is frustration, it is a bad feeling, it is a big disappointment,” coach Slaven Bilic told the press. “I congratulate the players. They did their best, but that was not enough to win the game. In this game, everything was against us. We were not defensive but we were also the team that created more chances,” he added.

Morale problems

The Black Eagles may be experiencing motivational troubles after dropping points three matches in a row, essentially keeping them out of the championship race in a season they led the majority of the year.

Kerim Frei’s attempt early in the second half gave Beiiktai some steam. The Austria midfielder ran onto a long pass over the defense. He sprinted into the box at a wide angle, but keeper Kaya Tarakci blocked the shot for a corner. Frei took the corner and it too was diffused by Konya.

Konya’s Angola forward Djalma Campos worked the ball to Gunay Guvenc’s goal line minutes later. He crossed dangerously close to the net but received no support from teammates on the other side.

Senegal striker Demba Ba left the striker position in favor of Cenk Tosun, who soon began to shoot. Kaya blocked one right at the corner of the net and another early attempt was thwarted by the defense.

Konya’s coup

But it was Konya that finally broke the stalemate. In the 81st minute, Romania right winger Gabriel Torje curled a corner kick to the near post. Gunay met it at the corner but could not save it.

Canada defender Atiba Hutchinson received a long ball with his back to the goal in the box, he knocked it to the ground and Mustafa Pektemek hit the net with it, but referee Kamil Abitoilu called offside on Atiba. Minutes later, Kerim missed the target with a powerful long shot.

“Besides one good shot, a sudden mistake, we covered the wings especially well and hampered attacks from the center,” Konya coach Aykut Kocaman said. “In the second half, the last 25-minute stretch was not acceptable for us after the match we had won. Beiiktai came at our goal with strong center passes left and right,” he added.

The situation was more unacceptable for Beiiktai, who is now looking to an Istanbul derby with no hope of winning the championship. What the Eagles are playing for now is second place and a berth in the UEFA Champions League to bring in some extra income next year.

Super League dropouts determined: Karabuk, Balikesir and Erciyesspor

Despite a valiant effort at leapfrogging Kardemir Karabukspor after defeating the team 4-2 over the weekend, Balikesirspor, which had remained dead last in the league for the vast majority of the season, has been declared relegated along with Karabuk and Kayseri Erciyesspor.

But the Kayseri fans need not worry because PTT League 1 (second division) champion Kayserispor will be returning to topflight Turkish football next season. Kayseri was guaranteed promotion after beating visiting Kariyaka 2-1 in week 33 over the weekend. Kayserispor will be joined in the Super League by two other PTT League 1 teams.

Balikesir defeated Kasimpaia last week to put it in a position to surpass the two clubs when they lost this week.

Erciyes was doomed after losing 1-0 to Istanbul Baiakiehir, which just returned to the Super League this season. Erciyes’ big push was last week, when the tiny club held Fenerbahce to a 1-1 in Istanbul. Luckily for the province, Kayserispor will be promoted to the Super League at the end of the year, so it will still have a local team at the top.

A 2-2 draw with Eskiiehirspor last week did not give Karabuk enough points to save it. caykur Rizespor defeated Akhisar Belediyespor to ensure at least 15th place and a place in the Super League next year.

(TODAY’S ZAMAN, Istanbul)