Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No not Christmas. It’s DERBY WEEK!
Like peacocks parading around a shire hall, the pre-derby weekend provides a perfect opportunity for Fenerbahce and Galatasaray to puff out their chests, take a deep breath, and scream "I’m READYYY!"
Unfortunately for Cimbom, two goals in the last five minutes at Ankaragucu meant that the only smoke to be seen was probably coming out of Adnan Polat’s ears as he left Ankara. The Galatasaray chairman, furious with his team’s performance, boycotted the team plane and instead endured a five hour return to Istanbul, by car.
Having twice taken the lead, only to lose 3-2, Gheorghe Hagi gathered his players on Monday to warn them that, in the event of a loss against Fenerbahce, there will be a growing list of personnel, including himself, whose futures at the club will be beyond repair.
Hagi’s days at Cimbom are numbered, there is no doubting that, but there is a reluctance to sack the Romanian before a long-term replacement is established.
Friday’s derby (Don’t get me started on that decision) will be the first at the new Turk Telekom Arena and, with the incentive of potentially denting Fener’s title chase, a packed crowd is expected as always.
Many will remember a similar situation in 2007 when, with Fenerbahce already confirmed as Champions and Cimbom stuttering, the home supporters set about tearing up the stadium in protest.
Everybody will of course be hoping those scenes are not repeated but, with so much riding on the game for both sides, to say the atmosphere will be intense would be doing it an injustice.
On the other side of Istanbul Fenerbahce endured a bitter sweet pre-derby weekend despite their ninth consecutive league win.
Goals from Niang and Semih Senturk made light work of Konyaspor but it was a victory soured when Emre left the field, in tears, and on a stretcher.
The former Galatasaray midfielder evidently realised the severity of his injury and scans on Monday confirmed he will miss at least two weeks.
None the less, Aykut Kocaman was boosted by the return of Selcuk Sahin in training and the midfielder will more than likely slot in to replace Emre while Issiar Dia is expected to shake of a niggle that kept him out of Sunday’s win.
Trabzonspor will be keeping a beady eye on Friday’s proceedings knowing that any slip up could allow them to regain top spot. Jaja’s lone goal was enough to see off bottom of the league Kasimpasa in a game which had to be stopped due to events in the away fans section.
Trabzon will see out the season without goalkeeper Onur Kivrak. The international keeper has been one of Senol Gunes’s star performers this season but suffered a painful knee injury that will keep him on the sidelines for up to 5 months!
From five, to four, to three and now is seems the title race has become a two-horse affair.
Bursaspor once again dropped points and left their hopes of defending the league hanging by a boot string. The reigning champions are now seven points off the top two and have taken just six points in their last five games.
At the bottom Konya’s worries were deepened with Sivasspor and Bucaspor both winning against top five opposition. With Kasimpasa seemingly down and out, Konyaspor now lie six points from the safety zone ahead of a relegation ‘six-pointer’ between Bucaspor and Sivas this Sunday.
Should Galatasaray lose to Fenerbahce this weekend, they will equal the record for the most games lost in a single season by any of Istanbul’s ‘Big Three’. Fenerbahce’s record of 13 from the 87/88 season still remains unmatched while Besiktas came close when they lost 12 matches over the course of 97/98.
Results Ankaragucu 3-2 Galatasaray, Antalyaspor 0-0 Genclerbirligi, Bucaspor 2-1 Gaziantepspor, Fenerbahce 2-0 Konyaspor, Sivasspor 1-0 Kayserispor, Istanbul BB 0-2 Eskisehirspor, Karabukspor 1-1 Bursaspor, Trabzonspor 1-0 Kasimpasa, Manisaspor 0-0 Besiktas
LOVE this blog! Almost as much as I love the derby, endless fighting, boozing, and whining for a game everyone pretty much knows the result of before its played (correct me if I am wrong on this, how long has it been since Galatasaray actually beat Fenerbahce? 20 something years? It has kind of become a romantic comedy, like the guy always gets the girl, the Canaries always get 3 points. Well, not always, not exactly, but it is probably the only derby where a goalless draw would be major excitement.) Cheers to the best match of the season! <3
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