Rachel – Battle for second place heats up with Galatasaray, BeIiktaI matches

Battle for second place heats up with Galatasaray, BeIiktaI matchesWith Fenerbahe crowned champion in week 31, the biggest race for second place and a direct ticket to the UEFA Champions League next year rages on between Galatasaray and BeIiktaI on Saturday.In week 32 of the Spor Toto Super League season, Galatasaray will take on Ankara’s GenlerbirliIi while BeIiktaI plays fellow Istanbul side KasImpaIa. Galatasaray and BeIiktaI are both home teams.Although the two Istanbul giants are not facing each other, the matches are critical. With 56 points, Galatasaray has a one-point lead over the Black Eagles, making each dropped point important to their campaigns.Small-time derbyBy all accounts, BeIiktaI has a tougher match, a derby, on Saturday. KasImpaIa spent much of the league’s first half hovering in second place behind Fenerbahe.Although Shota Arveladze’s men have fallen from favor, they are still dangerous with a powerful offense starring Argentinean midfielder Oscar Scarione, who has scored 14 goals this season.KasImpaIa has not lost any of its last six matches. The streak includes several high-scoring matches, including a 4-0 drubbing of Galatasaray away in week 30. They will be looking for a repeat performance against the Eagles, who are missing Manuel Fernandes, Ersan Gulum, Julien Escude, Cenk Gnen and Muhammed Demirci due to injury.“We want to go to the Champions League. We are aware of the situation we are in. We must demonstrate this awareness on the pitch,” keeper Tolga Zengin told members of the press after training.Limping LionsGalatasaray may have an easier match, but GenlerbirliIi is no pushover. In addition, the Lions have been fairly inconsistent this year, losing to minnows like Kayseri even while felling league champion Fenerbahe.However, Roberto Mancini’s men are looking for a direct ticket to the Champions League, which may push them to perform. If they do not, Mancini may not stick around much longer.Unfortunately, the Lions will be missing the services of some of their most important personnel. Cote d’Ivoire striker Didier Drogba is still recovering from a groin surgery he had in Qatar a few days ago, while first-choice Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera is doubtful with a shoulder injury.Young goalie Eray IIcan is inexperienced and will be a prime target for GenlerbirliIi’s Bogdan Stancu — should he be fit enough to play. The Romania forward is Genler’s top scorer and a previous member of Galatasaray. He has been out as well, and is doubtful for Saturday.UnpredictableGiven the circumstances, both games could go either way, as can the rest of the season.As Tolga recently said, “There are no longer any easy matches. We will either be playing against teams on the verge of relegation or those trying to go to Europe. If nothing else, our opponents will go to the matches motivated to defeat a big team.”BeIiktaI hosts KasImpaIa at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium since its own stadium is still being rebuilt. The match will be officiated by Mustafa Kamil AbitoIlu. Galatasaray and GenlerbirliIi will play at Turk Telekom Arena. The referee is Halis zkahya. Both matches kick off at 7 p.m.Four more matches, which will be key in deciding which three teams will be relegated to the second division, will take place on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Kardemir Karabukspor hosts Torku Konyaspor, EskiIehirspor takes on Kayserispor, Medical Park Antalyaspor plays ElazIIspor and Kayseri Erciyesspor welcomes Gaziantepspor. BeIiktaI will be banking on Hugo Almeida to produce the goods against KasImpaIa.

SOURCE: Todays Zaman