Toughie for Erciyes as it hosts Europa-bound Trabzon at Kadir Has

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Struggling Kayseri Erciyesspor welcomes Black Sea side Trabzonspor to Kadir Has Stadium for the opening game of week 30 in the Spor Toto Super League on Friday evening, in a tricky game between teams with contrasting fortunes.

Hami MandIralI’s Trabzonspor, or the Black Sea Storm, is fourth in the 18-strong standings with 43 points from 29 outings. It therefore needs points to boost its bid for a berth in the second-tier Europa League next season.

Mesut Bakkal’s Kayseri Erciyesspor, on the other hand, does not have such great ambitions. In fact, the team, languishing at third from last with only 30 points, is one of three top candidates for relegation and is therefore fighting a real uphill battle against the drop.

Only two points separate Erciyesspor and second-from-bottom Medical Park Antalyaspor Bakkal’s men lead last-placed neighbor Kayserispor by five points. This means Erciyesspor will certainly take one step down if it drops points against Trabzonspor and if Antalyaspor beats visiting Sivasspor at Akdeniz University Stadium on Monday. This would only make a bad situation worse for poor Erciyesspor.

Bakkal may be missing the services of injured Trabzon-born defender Numan Çuruksu and Dortmund-bred midfielder Yasin Öztekin, who missed training sessions this week. But the much-traveled Bakkal needs to know that there’s no room for excuses with only four games to go.

Trabzonspor is the pre-match favorite, but it is hard to tell what the desperate Erciyesspor will do. Moreover, the Storm looks depleted. French winger Florent Johan Malouda, who flew to France to visit his ailing wife, returned late and did not take part in training sessions this week. It is unimaginable that the tired, unfit and jet-lagged Frenchman will be included in the Trabzonspor squad on Friday.

Moreover, German-born winger Özer HurmacI is injured while Argentine midfielder Gustavo Colman and Cote d’Ivoire veteran defender Didier Zokora have been suspended indefinitely by the Black Sea club for insubordination.

Whatever the odds, the Trabzon faithful expect Hami and his Black Sea lads to return home from Kayseri with maximum points. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. and the referee will be Huseyin Göçek.

(CihanToday’s Zaman)