ISTANBUL - Despite having a major chance to win the Turkcell Super League, Beşiktaş is aware that the job is not done yet, especially playing at Denizlispor, which has a reputation for striking major blows against title contenders. Beşiktaş wants to beat Denizlispor and not look back on its way to start celebrations in Istanbul
Denizlispor has a reputation to be the team that causes clubs to dramatically lose the title, and Beşiktaş is wary of such a threat.
With only 90 minutes left to play, the Black Eagles are just one win away from clinching the Turkcell Super League title. Beşiktaş is determined to win and not look back, but Sivasspor, which trails by two points, and Trabzonspor, three points from the top, hope that a major upset happens in Saturday's Denizlispor-Beşiktaş game. Trabzonspor is at home playing Fenerbahçe, while Sivasspor takes on Galatasaray also on Saturday.
If Beşiktaş is held to a draw, Sivasspor will need to win by three goals to pass Beşiktaş on goal difference, while Trabzonspor needs both teams to lose to clinch the title. Denizlispor held Fenerbahçe to a 1-1 draw in the last day of the 2005-2006 season, causing Galatasaray to fly to a dramatic title.
During the penultimate weekend of the 1986-1987 season, Beşiktaş was leading the league and similarly close to the title and 1-0 ahead in the last minutes of a Denizlispor game in Istanbul. However, midfielder Erol Tolga's free kick goal in the 87th minute leveled the game, opening up the road to the title for Galatasaray again. As a twist of fate, Beşiktaş's current coach Mustafa Denizli was an assistant to Galatasaray head coach Jupp Derwall that year, and probably has a thing or two to tell the Black Eagles on how to deal with the Denizlispor pressure. The fact that Denizlispor recently survived a long battle against relegation may cause the Roosters lose their edge, however, and Beşiktaş is determined not to give up on their bid to claim a trophy double after clinching the Fortis Turkish Cup.
Beşiktaş determined to win the title
"We know that it will be hard but we are ready for the challenge," said striker Bobo, who has been a great help to his team and in stunning form recently. "This is the last one, we are all aware of that. We will go there for three points. We will go there, get it and return with the title." The Brazilian said Beşiktaş would be a worthy winner.
"I don't think anyone will disagree if I say we are the best performers of the year," he said. "We had our ups and downs previously, but after Mustafa Denizli arrived, we maintained consistency."
This will be the 11th title for Beşiktaş if it wins at Denizlispor, and the first since the club's centennial year victory in 2003. Bobo is aware that Beşiktaş has missed such an achievement so badly, and promises to celebrate in style.
"Our fans have been waiting for this for such a long time and we, as players and the coaching staff, definitely vow to win the title for them," he said. "On Saturday, we will set Istanbul on fire."
The Turkish Football Federation decided not to make replicas of the trophy and send it to all three stadiums to give it to the winner right after the game. At its own request, Beşiktaş will receive it on Sunday at its own İnönü Stadium if it wins the title.
There are three teams vying for the title and similarly, three teams trying to stave off relegation fears in the league. Antalyaspor and Konyaspor are the ones feeling the most heat, while there is a slight possibility that Gençlerbirliği goes down as well. Antalya and Gençlerbirliği have their fate in their own hands as they will survive if they win their matches, while Konyaspor's fate will be decided on their rivals' games.