Pride, passion and fascinating stories from Asia Minor
Now, as many of you will remember, it was Trabzonspor who gifted Bursaspor their first ever Super Lig title by holding Fenerbahce to a draw on the final day of last season
It is therefore a touch ironic that eleven months on the favour has been returned by Bursa - themselves seemingly out of the championship race - with the reigning champions drawing 0-0 at Fenerbahce this weekend.
A home win for title-chasing Fener had looked like a formality on paper but the match was very much a different affair.
Fenerbahce came into the game off the back of the derby win at Galatasaray, and their 10 match winning streak meant they piled on the pressure straight from the off.
However, confident in the knowledge that they had won at the Sukru Saracoglu last season, Bursa had the best of the early chances through Kenny Miller and Ozan Ipek.
The home side had three soft penalty claims waved away by referee Kuddusi Muftuoglu as they struggled to break down their opponents.
Even Alex De Souza, so many times the hero this season, was unable to grab the goal that would have kept Fener level on points with Trabzonspor.
The leaders needed just one goal to overcome relegation battling Konyaspor. Umut Bulut was the hero of the day as he marked his 100th goal after a four week wait that had seen him denied by post, goal-keeper and his own players.
He couldn’t have wished for an easier goal after Burak Yilmaz was put through on goal and politely squared for his captain to slot into the empty net.
Now two points ahead at the top, Trabzon travel to Istanbul to face Galatasaray this coming weekend.
Their first visit to the Turk Telekom Arena was made easier by the news that no fans will be allowed to attend the match. The TFF decided to close the stadium after a glass bottle was thrown at Fenerbahce’s Volkan Demirel during the derby two weeks ago. Advantage Trabzon, you'd imagine.
At the bottom of the league things are really beginning to hot up as well. Sivas gave themselves some breathing space with a hard-earned win over the ever frustrating Besiktas.
Given their huge spending, Besiktas have arguably been the biggest let down of the season. Seventh in the league and out of the Europa League, Guti & Co. are left only with the domestic cup to salvage some sort of pride and, more importantly, guarantee their place in Europe next season.
As it was, Cihan Yilmaz’s 92nd minute goal was enough to put Sivas eight points clear of the relegation zone and spark wild celebrations which included a spot of...bowling?
The only sour note of their weekend will have been the news of Kasimpasa’s shock win at Kayserispor.
Shot Arvaladze’s side had lost just one home game all season and will be wondering quite how his side lost to a team that had previously picked up just six points away from home.
This all meant that Konyaspor were left propping up the league for the first time this season. Eleven points from safety and without a win in twelve games, their fate seems to be sealed despite fixtures against Kasimpasa and Sivas still to come.
Sivas have the upper hand, no doubt, but Bucaspor and Kasimpasa will not be ruling themselves out just yet and, with all many of the teams at the bottom still to play each other, it could be a very interesting few weeks.
For once the last, and very much least, mention goes to Galatasaray, who slumped to their 13th loss of the season. Yes, a 3-0 defeat at Antalyaspor meant that they now hold the record for the most games lost in a single season by one of the Istanbul’s big three. It’s a record they are unlikely to live down for a while, and a loss that has caused Chairman Adnan Polat to announce a general election in May. Monday night’s performance simply summed up their season and changes at the top are a must if they are to come back strong next season.
Weekend Results Antalyaspor 3-0 Galatasaray, Fenerbahce 0-0 Bursaspor, Istanbul BB 2-1 Bucaspor, Kayserispor 1-3 Kasimpasa, Manisaspor 0-3 Genclerbirligi, Ankaragucu 2-2 Eskisehirspor, Karabukspor 3-2 Gaziantepspor, Sivasspor 1-0 Besiktas, Trabzonspor 1-0 Konyaspor
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