RACHEL – Lions aim for win over Akhisar in clash with Hamza’s old team

Lions aim for win over Akhisar in clash with Hamza’s old teamThe Lions of Galatasaray are one of the Spor Toto Super League giants and recently got a new coach. They are looking to show fans some positive effects when they face off with Akhisar Belediye Genlik ve Spor on Saturday.

After losing miserably to Trabzonspor 3-0 at home two weeks ago and dropping out of the UEFA Champions League with one meaningless match to spare, Galatasaray disposed of coach Cesare Prandelli.The club brought in a local coach, Hamza HamzaoIlu, to replace the Italian.

His debut was a breath of fresh air for disgruntled fans. On Wednesday, Galatasaray defeated EskiIehirspor 4-1 in its first match with the coach in the Ziraat Turkish Cup, and that was missing several first stringers, including Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera, Turkeyandrsquos premier forward Burak YIlmaz and Netherlands playmaker Wesley Sneijder On top of that, Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo was sent off in the 57th minute.

So HamzaoIlu might expect things to go even better when the players return. He was pleased with the team in their first match, but will not settle.

andldquood-willing, in other matches we can continue this [good performance] by having even more possession. We are off to a good start, which is important but we must continue with it,andrdquo HamzaoIlu said.

andldquoHopefully we will finish where we want at the end of the season,andrdquo he added. Nothing but a championship is desirable for the Lions and it is far too early to say if they will land there after one match with the new coach.

Seeking stabilityWith the exception of Melo, plus the injured Switzerland midfielder Blerim Dzemaili and AydIn YIlmaz, Galatasaray is fit for the Akhisar match. Burak and Umut Bulut are expected to take the front.

Sneijder came out of last weekandrsquos Gaziantepspor match with a slight injury, but he is likely to be back in action against AkhisarOn the other hand, Akhisar boast wildcard Theofanis Gekas. The Greece striker is inconsistent, but performs well against top teams.

He once sank Fenerbahe with a hat trick while playing for one of the worst teams in the league.Earlier this season Akhisar was, unexpectedly, at the top of the league standings, but week 5 saw the club begin its descent.

Going into the match, Mustafa ReIit Akay and his men are in eighth place. They have not won a league match since week 6, though they are pleased with a 3-2 win over neighboring Manisaspor for the Turkish Cup.

Galatasaray must win again. The Lions are current league runners up, one point behind BeIiktaI and one point ahead of arch rival Fenerbahe, which is expected to pummel dead-last BalIkesirspor at home on Saturday to extract maximum points.

BeIiktaI has a harder match up against Trabzonspor, another team that unloaded its coach and immediately started getting results. A previously miserable Trabzon tore the Lions apart right after bringing Ersun Yanal on board as coach, so BeIiktaI may be next.

But even if the Black Eagles go down and the Lions pull ahead, the close leadership race shows no sign of relaxing, so Galatasaray had best hope HamzaoIlu is up to the task of securing his initial results for the remaining 20 matches.The match kicks off at 9:45 pm at the Lions home Turk Telekom Arena Bulent YIldIrIm will officiate.

Fenerbahe heads to hapless cellar-dweller BalIkesirspor for a 6:45 pm match. Earlier in the day GenlerbirliIi hosts Gaziantepspor at 4:00 pm and Torku Konyaspor welcomes Mersin Idman Yurdu at 1:30 pm.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman