Saturday, December 15, 2007

Key Matchups Highlight Weekend Schedule

Key Matchups Highlight Weekend Schedule
By Nathan L. Redd

As the first half of the Turkcell Super Lig begins to wind down, the battle for first place and to avoid relegation is just heating up. Several key matchups highlight this weekend's fixtures. The match of the week took place on Friday night, as Sivasspor's reign at the top of the Super Lig was short-lived. Galatasaray re-took the league lead at Ali Sami Yen last night. The Lions rebounded from their humiliating loss to Fenerbahce last weekend with a 2-0 win in Istanbul. GS scored back-to-back goals late in the match to claim the three points. The win puts them in first place with 35 points, one point up on Sivasspor.

Fenerbahce has a chance to move into a tie for second place with Sivasspor on Sunday. The reigning champs are in Ankara to take on Genclerbirligi during the Sunday afternoon game. While Fener is looking to move back toward the top spot, Genclerbirligi is currently sitting in the relegation danger zone at 16th place. The capital side has been a disappointment this season and are looking to keep their heads above water. While it appears to be a one-sided contest from first glance, it will be interesting to see if Fenerbahce can keep their focus and hustle after two back-to-back emotional games with Galatasaray and CSKA Moscow. The Canaries also have a rivalry game next weekend as Trabzonspor comes to Kadikoy.

The last game of the weekend is another superb matchup featuring fourth-place Besiktas hosting sixth-place Ankaragucu. Besiktas has two wins and a draw in their last three games, while Ankaragucu has slumped a little with one loss , one draw, and one win. Ankaragucu currently is tied with Konyaspor and Kayserispor with 22 points each.

In another battle to avoid relegation, Ankaraspor hosts Caykur Rizespor on Saturday. Ankaraspor currently sits in 17th place, while the Teamen from Rize are one spot out of the relegation zone. One of the biggest surprises of the first half of the season is the performance of two of the Super Lig's newly-promoted sides. Both Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor and Genclerbirligi OFTASSpor sit in the top ten of the table. Neither side looks to make their Super Lig debut a short one. Both teams are on the road this weekend, with Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor visiting disappointing Trabzonspor. The Black Sea team is usually a perenial championship contender, but the maroon and light blue side is in the bottom half of the standings in 11th place now. A Trabzon win could help them jump as high as seventh place, however, including leap-frogging their promoted opponents Saturday night.

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