Leader Galatasaray beat Beşiktaş 2-0 away at Fiyapı İnönü Stadium on Monday evening in their Super Final opener, which was postponed on Saturday due to heavy rainfall, to cling to the summit with a five-point lead over second placed Fenerbahçe.
Galatasaray's away victory over Beşiktaş sets the stage for the mouth-watering ‘mother of all derbies' between the Lions and the Canaries at the Arena this weekend. Trabzon will host Beşiktaş behind ‘closed doors' at Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium in their desperate battle for third place
A highly controversial goal by Brazilian midfielder Felipe “Pitbull” Melo, from what was very clearly an offside position during a goalmouth scramble, broke the deadlock in the 26th minute and gave Galatasaray a 1-0 lead at halftime.
And midfielder Aydın Yılmaz, who came in as a substitute for striker Necati Ateş in the 61st, scored from long range with a cracker of a shot in the 79th minute to put the game beyond reach.
The Yellow Canaries, as Fenerbahçe is also called, had beaten Trabzonspor 2-0 at home on Saturday to reduce the gap between them and Galatasaray to just two points. Monday's win for the Lions, the nickname of Galatasaray, means everything is back to square one.
This now sets the stage for the mouth-watering “mother of all derbies” between Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe at Türk Telekom Arena this weekend. Trabzonspor will host Beşiktaş behind “closed doors” at Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium in their desperate battle for third place.
Out of sorts Beşiktaş
The Beşiktaş club is facing very serious internal problems, no doubt about it. Electing Fikret Orman to fill the chairmanship post vacated by Yıldırım Demirören, bringing coach Tayfur Havutçu back to the helm and sending poor Portuguese Carlos Carvalhal packing have not been enough to calm the troubled waters.
Reports say the players have not been paid for months, and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel. “A hungry man is an angry man,” and this may well explain the angry behavior of the players on the pitch.
The fact that they were angry about anything and everything -- the referee's decisions in particular -- was not of their own making, but because their stomachs were empty. And to expect the best from a hungry man would be tantamount to delusion.
German midfielder Roberto Hilbert could not control his temper and was given his marching orders in the 88th for remonstrating against the decision of FIFA-ranked referee Hüseyin Göçek, thereby leaving Beşiktaş with 10 men in the dying minutes of the game.
And the interesting thing is that it was not only the players who were angry, but the fans also. And there were several instances of pitch invasion by protesting Beşiktaş supporters.
The enigmatic Turkish Football Federation (TFF) -- for reasons very difficult to comprehend -- has virtually “legalized” swearing and cursing in stadiums by deciding to postpone punishment for this misbehavior until next season.
But the TFF cannot defer the punishment for pitch invasion because that would mean the end of civilization as we know it.
Beşiktaş coach Havutçu put the blame on the referee. “The match started well, and the atmosphere was good,” he said.
“But we conceded what under normal circumstance should not have been a goal. And thereafter tempers flared with every passing minute. The referee made too many mistakes -- too many controversial calls and too many non-calls. And our fans will be even sadder when they watch the replays,” he added.
The exact opposite was the case for upbeat and confident leader Galatasaray. The feud between Melo and former Spain winger Albert Riera, resulting in a fistfight that left Riera with a black eye, has been resolved. Both players made coach Fatih Terim's starting XI and were among the best of the night.
Galatasaray at times allowed Beşiktaş to control play in midfield, but nonetheless gave the Eagles no chance for a goal in the second half.
“It was a difficult match because Beşiktaş is a quality team made up of quality players,” said Terim, whose team won at İnönü for the first time in six seasons and for the time under the tutelage of Terim.
“And because every match [in the Super Final] is a final, there are no easy matches. You finish this derby and immediately start preparing for the next. We played well [on Monday] and took home the much-needed maximum points. That was very important,” he added.