ESRA – It’s Genler vs. Fener, BeIiktaI vs. Erciyes as title race heats up

It’s Genler vs. Fener, BeIiktaI vs.

Erciyes as title race heats upFresh from a soul-lifting derby win over Galatasaray last weekend, an on-form Fenerbahe hopes to keep up its momentum with an away win over GenlerbirliIi, while BeIiktaI hosts SAI Kayseri Erciyesspor — Sundayand#39s key games in the battle for the Spor Toto Super League title, as the two Istanbul powerhouses prepare for a derby next weekend.Fenerbahe, aka the Yellow Canaries, made an impressive comeback at the derby as one of the leading contenders for the domestic championship, throwing the battle wide open between themselves, Galatasaray and BeIiktaI.

The Canaries do not want to drop any points in Ankara that might again leave them behind in the top three, as they have entered into a period of three back-to-back toughies, including next weekendand#39s BeIiktaI derby. Fenerbahe is trailing leader Galatasaray and runner-up BeIiktaI by one point.

Coach Ismail Kartal is likely to have his full squad ready for their match with GenlerbirliIi, which they defeated 2-1 in the first half of the season. Midfielder Mehmet Topal is expected to be up and about for Sundayand#39s game after undergoing a personal training program throughout the week following an injury he picked up last weekend.

Goalie Volkan Demirel, Gkhan Gnul and Caner Erkin sustained minor injuries, but they have recovered.Dutchman Dirk Kuyt, the scorer of the winning goal at the derby, will be key for Kartal in Ankara In his remarks to reporters this week, Kuyt said the team needs to forget all about its victory and focus on the remainder of the season, pointing out that 11 exciting outings remain.

The veteran attacking midfielder added that the team is in high spirits.Yet GenlerbirliIi is not to be taken lightly.

The Central Anatolian club has not lost since the arrival of coach Mesut Bakkal. It is on a three-match unbeaten streak, improving its standing to eighth place last week.

He said it might be to their aantage if Fenerbahe attacks aggressively to avoid a defeat following the derby victory. andquotEverybody should know that we wonand#39t play cowardly,andquot Bakkal said.

Elsewhere, BeIiktaI will seek to maintain its pace in the Super League by winning three points at home against former captain andquotIifoandquot Mehmet zdilekand#39s Kayseri Erciyesspor Coach Slaven Bilicand#39s Black Eagles are the busiest side in the Turkish league, as it continues to battle on three fronts and takes on toughies in the Europa League.The Istanbul powerhouse is tied with leader Galatasaray at the top of the league and needs its best performers to remain one of the major contenders for the title.

All eyes will be on Senegalese strike Demba Ba, the leading scorer for his side, as well as Gkhan Tre and Jose Sosa to support himIifo is ambitious, too, and does not intend to accept a defeat without putting up a good fight. He told reporters this week that it is an important game for them to gain confidence again and get out of the relegation zone.

andquotFrom now on the opponent doesnand#39t matter we urgently need points. We know BeIiktaIand#39s power and what we can do,andquot he said.

Also on Sunday, EskiIehirspor hosts Mersin Idman Yurdu.Championship-chasing Fenerbahe faces a herculean task against GenlerbirliIi in Ankara on Sunday.

(Photo: Sundayand#39s Zaman.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman