Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
A lovers tiff between the media and a club manager? Who’d have thought it...?
When Gheorghe Hagi strolled into his post-match press conference you’d have been forgiven for thinking he was going to be in high spirits. After all, his team had just beaten Eskisehirspor 4-2.
Quite the contrary. Alas, it was not a touch-line fracas, a disallowed goal, not even a dodgy sending off. The reason the Galatasaray manager was so annoyed was...drum roll...the media had forgotten his birthday! No, really...I’m serious!
Come Tuesday, Hagi’s smile was shining bright when presented with a cake on behalf of the media, who thought it better to stay on the Romanian’s good side. Hagi thanked them for their effort.
There will be no cake being sent to referee Kamil Abitoglu any time soon, after he failed to notice a clear goal which deprived Besiktas of a much needed three points on Saturday. Hugo Almeida’s shot bounced down off the underside of the crossbar and landed a fair few inches over the line – something that neither the referee nor his assistant were able to see.
Had the goal been given, Besiktas would have nicked a 2-1 victory and kept their slim, slim, slim hopes of a league title alive. As it was, Karabukspor left the Inonu stadium celebrating what was still a fully deserved draw.
At the top of the table - somewhere Besiktas and Galatasaray have not been for a while - Trabzonspor continued their awful start to the second half of the season.
The league leaders have thrown away a five point advantage and now lead the table solely on goal difference. Their home draw with Antalyaspor saw Bursaspor go level on points and allowed Fenerbahce to close the gap to just two.
Kenny Miller’s 88th minute strike, his second in as many games, put Bursa joint top on Friday night while Fener sealed their fourth consecutive league win with a hard-fought victory at Manisaspor. Despite going behind, the Canaries came back to win thanks to goals from Alex, Niang and Issiar Dia.
Given that neither of the three teams in contention have European or domestic cup football to worry about, the title race is warming up nicely and will be one of the most intriguing in recent years. For Besiktas and Galatasaray, the importance will presumably be on regaining pride via the domestic cup - should they both make it to the final of course.
Despite being at the quarter final stage this is the blog's first EVER mention of the Turkish Cup, a silence based on a general feeling of resentment towards the competitions new format.
While the majority of European leagues enjoy the ‘magic of the cup’ with a straight knock-out system, the Turkish FA has continued its Europa League style group stage to ensure the top teams have the biggest chance of progressing.
It’s obviously a system that is not working, given that the top four teams in the league all failed to make it to the knock-outs and two teams in the relegation zone did, but anyway, the blog still objects!
Galatasaray broke the record for the longest banner this weekend with 315m long strip of canvas stretching around the Turk Telekom Arena. It measured 15m longer than the previous record held by Barcelona and read:
''106 years of history, unrivalled achievements, a team who’s museum boasts twice as many cups as their rivals, Turkey's most successful team against non-Turkish opposition, pride of its country, owner of a Uefa and European Super Cup, the pride of the world’s biggest fan group UltrAslan, a mark of culture since 1481, the cradle of sport since 1905: Galatasaray"
Or something along those lines....
RESULTS Bursaspor 2-1 Sivasspor, Kasimpasa 1-3 Istanbul Buyuksehir, Besiktas 1-1 Karabukspor, Kayserispor 2-1 Ankaragucu, Manisaspor 1-3 Fenerbahce, Konyaspor 0-2 Gaziantepspor, Trabzonspor 0-0 Antalyaspor, Genclerbirligi 1-0 Bucaspor, Galatasaray 4-2 Eskisehirspor.
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