Sivasspor defeated Bursaspor 4-0 in the opening week of Super Final games on Sunday at home to avenge a 4-1 Turkish Cup loss three days before.
The pitch was slippery due to rainfall in Sivas.
The host team started the match fast-paced, attacking the ball. They missed glaring chances to score in the fifth minute. The awaited goal came in the 26th minute when Sivasspor’s Nigeria striker Michael Eneramo shot the ball over the Bursaspor goalkeeper into the net. Sivasspor took a 2-0 lead at the end of the first half with another goal by Czech Jan Rajnoch, who sent the ball into the Bursaspor net after it bounced back from the visiting team’s defense, following teammate Kamil Grosicki’s shot. Grosicki relieved his team with the third goal in the 49th minute before Rajnoch’s header determined the final score in the 64th minute: 4-0. Sivasspor missed the fifth goal when Eneramo missed a penalty shootout in the additional time.
Three days before Sunday’s game, Sivasspor was trounced 4-1 by its opponent in the Turkish Cup quarters.
“We deserved the defeat in that game and we deserved to win this one,” said Sivasspor coach Rıza Çalımbay at a post-game press conference. “We played very well from the beginning to the end. We missed as many shots as we scored in this game,” he added.
The victory placed Sivasspor on the top of the Super Final’s Europa League group, which features four teams that took places from fifth to eighth at the end of the 34-week regular season. All teams started the group with 25 points. Sivasspor became the leader with 28 points, trailed by Eskişehirspor and İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi, who finished Saturday’s match with a 1-1 draw. Bursaspor took the bottom spot.
Çalımbay emphasized that Bursaspor is a strong team and added that it was important for his team to start the playoffs on a good note. Sivasspor will have two away games in the coming weeks. Sivasspor takes on Eskişehirspor this Saturday, and İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi next weekend. “We compensated for the cup loss. Hard games await us. I congratulate my players,” Çalımbay said.
The different performances of his team within three days surprised Bursaspor coach Ertuğrul Sağlam, who said the score was fair. Sağlam said he expected an ambitious and eager Sivasspor. “I told this to my players as well. We advanced to the semi-finals, but we neither advanced to the final -- to guarantee a berth in the Europa League -- nor won the [Turkish] Cup. That’s why we wanted to have a strong start,” he added.
Sağlam did not wish to discuss the bad performances of his players or the referee’s incorrect decisions. “Playoff games can be compensated for during the Super Final, but, to tell the truth, [my players’ performance] has made me upset. A team shouldn’t perform so differently in three days. We’ll look into the situation and make the necessary warnings,” he added.
The team that leads the playoff group after six weeks of competition will play an elimination round against the team that takes the bottom spot in the playoff group to qualify for the Europa League.
Also in football news from the weekend, Gaziantepspor trounced Gençlerbirliği 4-0 in Group B of the Spor Toto Cup, a friendly tournament held by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) for the teams that took from ninth to 16th place in the regular season. Gaziantepspor coach Hikmet Karaman said after the game that they won an easy victory and he will put younger players on the pitch in future games. The Gençlerbirliği coach said the tournament has been helpful for his players to stay in shape.