Trabzon set to take Super League title race to the wire

Trabzon set to take Super
   League title race to the wire

Trabzonspor’s Brazilian striker Jaja (R), who scored the goal of the match against bottom team Kasımpaşa, is seen in action during their Spor Toto Super League week 25 encounter at the İsmet Paşa Stadium in İzmit.

March 14, 2011, Monday/ 14:31:00/ OKAN UDO BASSEY

Trabzonspor, otherwise known as the Black Sea Storm, seems determined to win the Spor Toto Super League title this season. Therefore the Storm playing bottom team Kasımpaşa at İsmet Paşa Stadium in İzmit -- instead of the famous Trabzon Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium -- on Saturday did not at all dent the title ambition of the Black Sea lads.

The Storm beat poor “Paşa,” Kasımpaşa’s nickname, 1-0 in their week 25 encounter, with Brazilian striker Jaja’s 23rd-minute goal the only thing separating the two teams. The Brazilian whacked a cracker of shot into the back of the Paşa net after collecting a pass from the left flank by Polish striker Pawel Brozek. And that was the end of the story.

The Trabzonspor fans, without a doubt, must have been disappointed by the slim margin of victory against mediocre Paşa, which the Storm walloped 7-0 in week eight in İstanbul on Oct. 7.

But the Trabzonspor followers have to learn a good lesson from this and strive to be on their best behavior, especially on home turf. They should never ever forget that “Big Brother is watching.”

In other words, the Professional Football Disciplinary Committee (PFDK) is watching every move in the stands and will not hesitate to mete out harsh punishment to teams for the misbehavior of their fans.

Kocaelispor Chairman Rafet Kırgız said on Thursday that no one told him Trabzonspor had been slapped with a stadium ban and that its home match would be played at İsmet Paşa. “The weather [in Kocaeli] is terrible and the football pitch is horrible,” he said. “If they had asked me, I would have told them exactly that,” he added.

Mr. Kırgız was 100 percent correct because the pitch was not worth writing home about, but the Storm made the best out of a challenging situation. The Black Sea lads won, went home with maximum points and took the league lead for at least 24 hours. And all this happened with suspended coach Şenol Güneş watching the match from the stands because he saw red in the week 24 away match against Beşiktaş in İstanbul.

With Fenerbahçe -- which was leading on goal difference going into week 25 -- still playing relegation-bound newcomer Konyaspor at home on Sunday when this page when to press, things will have changed at the top by the time you read this piece.

“We have to concentrate on winning our matches rather than thinking about what our rivals are doing or not doing,” said assistant coach Ünal Karaman, himself a former Trabzonspor and Turkey winger, who deputized for Güneş.

“We were up against a resolute Kasımpaşa, but if we had scored a second goal we would have been more relaxed. We will be playing Gençlerbirliği this weekend [week 26], and it’s really going to be a toughie. And I say there are no easy matches anymore,” he added.

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