Burak bangs in brace at Akhisar as Lions stay strong in title race

Galatasaray, aka the Lions, came home with three crucial points after clinching a 2-0 away victory over Galatasaray coach Hamza Hamzaoilu’s former side Akhisar Belediyespor on Monday and tied its points with leader Beiiktai with five weeks to the end of the season.

Striker Burak Yilmaz ended his long goal drought and scored both of his side’s goals.

Hamzaoilu admitted that his team underperformed, but nonetheless noted that the important thing was to win. quotThe match wasn’t as we liked it to be but from now on it is of secondary importance to us,quot he said. The early goals helped them reach the key win over Akhisar, according to the coach, who also praised Burak. quotBurak’s ability as a scorer came to the fore. After we scored, my players tried to protect it.quot

Speaking about the battle for the title, Hamzaoilu said we will probably know the champion in the final week. Galatasaray is ranked second, having an inferior head-to-head record with leader Beiiktai. Fenerbahce is trailing them by one point. On Friday Hamzaoilu’s men host Torku Konyaspor and a long-awaited derby at Galatasaray’s Turk Telekom Arena cauldron is set for week 33, the penultimate week.

“I don’t know if anything regarding the championship will be resolved in week 33. It’s not easy to predict anything in this league. Every match is difficult there are no easy wins,” Hamzaoilu said, adding, “I think we’ll have the last laugh.”

The Wesley Sneijder-Burak duo started the scoring for Galatasaray. The Dutchman made a precise shot at the left edge of the Akhisar box. Oiuz Dailaroilu stretched out just in time to tip the ball out however, his defense was not as alert as him for approaching Burak, who wrapped up business and put his side 1-0 ahead in the 22nd minute.

Akhisar challenged the visitors’ defense: Lumano Lua-Lua tried his chances on goal from the left and gave Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera a hard time, but the Uruguayan goalie tipped the ball out for a corner. Bilal Kisa took up the corner kick and crossed the ball to Douglas Ferreira, who landed the ball on the left corner of the box. Bilal kicked the ball firmly but it ended up in the hands of Muslera.

With Akhisar coming short offensively, Burak was at work again in the 34th minute and he sent home Emre colak’s delivery from the left: 2-0. The first half ended that way.

Despite sustaining serious injuries this season, Burak, as the player is commonly referred to, is the third top scorer of the Super League, with 16 goals. The productive forward said after the Akhisar match that the title is more important than his individual reputation as the goal king. “Sometimes you are engaged in 20 offensive positions and can’t score and sometimes you score even though you didn’t receive any pass. This is the fate of the forward. Today maybe I also had luck with me,” Burak said.

Both sides were cautious at the start of the second half. Galatasaray’s Brazilian defender Alex Telles was shown a yellow card and will miss out on the action against Konyaspor next week. In the 66th minute, Burak was close to scoring for a third time but Burak’s shot from the right edge inside the box landed in the hands of the Akhisar goalkeeper. The hosts had several attempts on goal in the remaining minutes, yet all turned out to be fruitless and Galatasaray returned to Istanbul with a 2-0 win.

Akhisar coach Roberto Carlos said the two teams displayed equal performances on the pitch but their individual mistakes very early on cost them the first goal and they eventually lost.