Defending champion Galatasaray beat newcomer Kasımpaşa 2-1 in the Spor Toto Super on Monday to emerge as the biggest beneficiary among the 2012-13 season title contenders in the opening week.
Ankara’s Gençlerbirliği trounced visiting Medical Park Antalyaspor 3-1 at 19 Mayıs Stadium for the highest margin of victory in week 1. It was a very interesting match with Gençlerbirliği trailing in the 80th minute after former Beşiktaş midfielder Uğur İnceman put Medical Park Antalyaspor 1-0 up in the 66th. But a brace from veteran midfielder Oktay Delibalta in the 81st and 83rd and another from Bosnian striker Ermin Zec in the 91st gave Gençler a resounding victory in the capital.
Newcomer Umut Bulut, the striker who scored two goals in Galatasaray’s 3-2 victory over Fenerbahçe in the Super League the Sunday before last, was again one of the heroes on Monday night.
Umut, which means hope, gave Galatasaray hope in the 35th minute when he scored from a free kick taken by man of the match Emre Çolak. But a header goal in the 68th from midfielder İlhan Eker, against the run of play, gave Kasımpaşa the equalizer. But Umut again rose to the occasion in the 87th to tap in another cross from Emre and seal the deal: Galatasaray 2, Kasımpaşa 1.
Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim, in reaction to a bloody terrorist attack in Gaziantep, refused to talk about football at the post-match conference.
“You say, let’s say good things and answer the questions,” he said. “But what happened in Antep has made me very sad. There was a blast and a bloodbath, brother killing brother,” he noted.
“Damn it. What is happening in this country? What is it that we can’t share? I don’t want to talk about football. Damn it, I am really angry. I apologize to the [LİG TV] broadcaster, don’t expect anything from me this evening,” he added.
A week of draws
Fenerbahçe, last season’s Super League runner-up, which took on Spartak Moscow away in the UEFA Champions League playoffs first leg on Tuesday, came from behind on Saturday to draw 1-1 away with newcomer Elazığspor.
The 30-somethıng Cameroon striker, Herve Tum, put Elazığspor ahead in the 50th and Dutchman Dirk Kuyt’s controversial goal 15 minutes later leveled up the score.
And Elazığspor was reduced to 10 men in the 66th after defender Sedat Bayrak was sent off by referee Tolga Özkalfa for arguing over Kuyt’s goal. But Bülent Uygun’s men still held on for a 1-1 draw.
Trabzonspor, which finished as second runner-up last season, was also in action on Saturday away at Kardemir Karabükspor in a Black Sea derby. The match ended 1-1, with new signing Volkan Şen putting Trabzonspor ahead in the 20th and 26-year-old Jamaica winger Luton Shelton heading home a corner in the 80th for Karabükspor’s equalizer.
The Karabükspor stadium pitch was really bad and uneven, to say the least, and it resembled a newly ploughed rice field more than a football ground. To make things worse, this match started at 5 p.m. under the scorching summer sun because Karabükspor’s Dr. Necmettin Şeyhoğlu Stadium has no floodlights.
Trabzonspor coach Sadri Şener, who questioned the wisdom of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) for scheduling this match at 5 p.m., was slapped with a 21-day ban instead of getting an answer to his genuine request. The new season is only a week old, and the TFF again appears to be messing things up instead of mending them.
Şenol Güneş’s Trabzonspor, which lost last season’s goal king Burak Yilmaz to Galatasaray, is having problems in front of goal. And how the Storm, as Trabzonspor is popularly called, fares on Thursday when it hosts Videoton FC of Hungary in the UEFA Europa League playoffs first leg match remains to be seen.
Bursaspor, which will also be playing in the Europa League playoffs on Thursday, beat Kayserispor 1-0 on Saturday – with Chile center forward Sebastian Andres Pinto Perurena’s goal in the 26th minute being the only thing that separated the two teams. Ertuğrul’s Sağlam is at home to Dutch powerhouse Twente in the Europa League playoffs first leg.
Beşiktaş also dropped points on Sunday when it was held to a 1-1 draw with İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor (İBB) – with former Galatasaray midfielder Cihan Hapolatlı giving İBB the lead in the 59th and Portugal striker Hugo Almeida’s header goal seven minutes before the end of regulation time (83rd) giving Beşiktaş the equalizer.
The season kicked off on Friday with newcomer Akhisar Belediyespor upsetting the Super League status quo by beating Eskişehirspor 1-0 on the road -- the only goal of the match scored by 24-year-old midfielder Giray Vural in the first minute of added time (91st).
Hamza Hamzaoğlu’s Akhisar, playing in topflight Turkish football for the very first time, started the Super League on a winning note and sent a timely warning to friends and foes alike that they are here to stay.
For Eskişehirspor coach Ersun Yanal, whose team was ousted by Olympique Marseille in the third qualifying round, this was another sign of things to come. And the chants of “Yanal resign, Yanal resign” that reverberated across the stadium in the dying minutes mean the graying trainer must put his house in order or face the wrath of the fans.