ISTANBUL - This is only the second time that all members of the Turkcell Super League's big four have completed the weekend with wins since the start of the season. The past winners of the league close in on top, held by Sivasspor
They might be called the big four of the Turkish football, but it was not until last weekend that Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor could showcase their greatness this season in the Turkcell Super League.
All members of "the big four," which is a moniker easy to remember as it signifies all the four teams that have won the title in the 50-year history of the Turkish league, closed the weekend with wins. That should not be big news considering their "bigness," but this is only the second time in 22 weeks that they managed to do that.
The last time Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor completed a four-win match day was on the fourth week of the season, which was Sept. 19-21.
Of all the four big teams, Fenerbahçe was the biggest winner without a doubt. In a game worthy of a final, Fenerbahçe beat league leader Sivasspor, and were back in the hunt for the title. With only one win in the first five games of 2009, Fenerbahçe had fallen far behind the surprise leaders, and another loss would increase the distance to 11 points. Fenerbahçe fulfilled its last chance and played its best in the "win-or-get-out" game.
With the 4-2 victory against Sivasspor on Saturday, Fenerbahçe re-entered the title race, not only mathematically but also psychologically: the Yellow Canaries gave no chance to the league leader, completely dominating the game and showing its true potential to give its best performance of the season.
The other teams owe Fenerbahçe as well. If Sivasspor had won, it would have continued its amazing streak. Now, after 111 days and 11 league games, Sivasspor is once more defeated and the big four all have come three points closer to the top. So, the cards have been reshuffled and dealt again, thanks to Fenerbahçe’s win.
Sivasspor’s loss helped Trabzonspor recover quickly from last week’s frustration as well. After losing to lowly Denizlispor 2-0 at home, Trabzonspor bounced back against Antalyaspor on Sunday. A 75th minute goal by Umut Bulut was enough for three points for the Black Sea Storm to equal points with leader Sivasspor again. Both Trabzon and Sivas are on 45 points, only to be separated by goal difference.
Speaking after the Antalyaspor game, Trabzonspor coach Ersun Yanal said the race was not over and Trabzonspor would be in it until the end.
"Both teams played well but we were the side that won three points," Yanal said. "We are continuing on our way.
"There are ups and downs in football, and we were not immune to that, so we were upset last week on our own pitch" he added. "Until the last week of the season, the battle will continue, both at the top and the bottom spots of the league."
Beating Istanbul Municipality 2-1 thanks to a late goal Friday, Beşiktaş continued its chase for the top. So far, Beşiktaş is the best performer of the league for the second period with four wins and two draws in six games since the start of the new year. But Beşiktaş is still yet to win three games in a row, and will need to keep its good run going with more wins, in order to answer the critics’ questions about consistency.
The last game of the weekend Sunday saw Bülent Korkmaz’s debut league game as Galatasaray coach, when the Lions visited Konyaspor. Arda Turan’s 12th minute goal was almost the only action in a poor game.
For Korkmaz, a one-goal win was enough for his team, especially playing on a boggy track.
"The pitch was dismal and you cannot expect much from players," said Korkmaz after the game. "What mattered to me most was the win and the three points. I am really happy, and I believe we will be better in the future."
BEŞİKTAŞ MEETS ANKARASPOR IN CUP TEST
Beşiktaş will take on Ankaraspor in the first leg game of the Fortis Turkish Cup semifinal tonight.
Coached by Aykut Kocaman, Ankaraspor is one of the solidest teams of the country, and have a couple of bright young players in midfielder Özer Hurmacı and striker Mehmet Çakır alongside influential foreign players such as Liberian midfielder Theo Lewis and Portuguese forward Neca.
But despite even reaching the front in the league in the early periods of the season, Ankaraspor has been in free fall recently, with five games without a win.
Ankaraspor beat Beşiktaş 3-1 in Istanbul earlier this season. The game at the Yenikent Asaş Stadium in Ankara kicksoff at 8 p.m.