Lions and Crocs are fighting for the Cup

Galatasaray goes to Bursa already crowned Spor Toto Super League champion, but missing its key keeper as it attempts to defeat the Green Crocs and earn the Ziraat Turkish Cup trophy as well on Wednesday evening.
Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera, who had kept a clean slate for seven straight matches during a critical period in the Super League, has gone home for the Copa America and will be conspicuously absent. Sinan Bolat, the second-string goalie, conceded one in the Lionsand’ most recent match against andcaykur Rizespor, a non-critical final match, as Galatasaray had already won the championship.
The Lions have taken the title and reveled in it. The official celebration was on Sunday, which may have made the club feel rather like the season is done and dusted. But now they must regain the focus that brought them the Super League title.
Bursaspor is no pushover. The Anatolian side lost 2-1 to Fenerbahandce at home in the first leg of the semi-finals, but came back to thrash the Super League runner-up 3-0 in the second.
Galatasaray should expect Bursaspor to come out and again try to upset the Istanbul giants and take home the cup. DR Congo forward Cedric Bakambu is currently top scorer with eight goals in the Turkish Cup, and he would like to stay ahead of Galatasarayand’s Macedonian forward Goran Pandev, who has seven.
Bursaand’s Brazilian Fernandao was runaway goal king in the Super League with 22 goals, four ahead of second-best scorer. He also scored on Fenerbahandce in the semi-finals, so Galatasaray may feel the absence of Muslera.
The Turkish Cup usually comes with an enviable prize: a ticket to the Europa League in the fall. However, Bursaspor has been banned from UEFA competitions for failing to pay Zambian player Collins Mbesumaand’s transfer fee in a timely fashion.
h2Last hurrahh2 So neither team needs the ticket to UEFA next season, but for very different reasons. Both teams want it for its own prestige.
and”We have the cup match ahead of us,and” Galatasaray coach Hamza Hamzaoilu recalled after the Lionsand’ 1-1 draw in the leagueand’s last match. and”We are going to play a hard match against a good team, but we want to return to Istanbul with a cup for the second time,and” he added.
Galatasaray would make its brand new chairman, Dursun andOzbek, extra proud if it took home the cup. The teamand’s first act under him was winning the Super League trophy, but that is not enough for a perpetually hungry Istanbul club.
Bursaspor is celebrating the 63rd birthday of coach ienol Gandunei and the 52nd anniversary of the cluband’s foundation, both of which took place on Monday. These celebrations, as well as the deafening cheers of its fans at home, will instill in the Green Crocs an even greater desire to win the cup.
After that, summer break begins for Turkish football, and with it the summer transfer season. Bursaspor is fending off Manchester United interest in star striker Ozan Tufan. Galatasaray has already lost Ivory Coast defender Emmanuel Eboue this season.
Several more of its players, such as Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo, Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder and even Muslera, may head for pastures new with one — or perhaps two, depending on how Wednesdayand’s match goes — more trophies in their cabinets.
The match kicks off at 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday evening at Atatandurk Stadium in Bursa. The referee is Bandulent Yildirim.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman