Turkey League Wrap 19: The Basaksehir miracle back on track, unstoppable Besiktas, Fenerbahce suffer shock defeat

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Cenk Tosun
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Turkey League Wrap 19: The Basaksehir miracle back on track, unstoppable Besiktas, Fenerbahce suffer shock defeat

The Turkish League Week 19 saw reigning champions Besiktas remain at the top of the table after a thumping victory over Konyaspor. Basaksehir bounced back from their first loss of the season last week but had to wait until the fourth minute of additional time to find a winner against Bursaspor. Galatasaray also bounced back from last weeks defeat with a resounding win over Akhisar. The biggest shock came in central Anatolia where Kayserispor trounced Fenerbahce, putting the Yellow Canaries title challenge in jeopardy.

Turkey League Wrap 19

Besiktas headed into the Konyaspor clash in second place on Monday 31 January following Basaksehir’s victory on Saturday. The reigning Super Lig champions lined up in identical fashion to the side that beat Osmanlispor last week. Senol Gunes currently has his strongest available side with all players fit other than Caner Erkin. It was clear last week that few sides stand a chance against the current side and they proved my point beating the Anatolian Eagles 5-1.

Winter signing Ryan Babel did not exactly create a huge buzz among Besiktas fans but it now all makes sense. The Black Eagles struggled down the left flank through the first half of the season. Gunes was forced into playing one of two full-backs Adriano or Erkin as a winger. He clearly had no trust in Olcay Sahan or Kerim Frei who rarely got a running and Gokhan Tore is currently on loan at West Ham leaving the former Turkish national team head coach with limited options.

Babel has slotted into the team seamlessly. The Dutch wingers pace, power and technical ability have given Besiktas a much needed attacking impetus down the left flank. Within nine minutes he had opened the scoring with his second goal in two league games.

Anderson Talisca was excellent before his injury and the on-loan Benfica man has been superb since his return. The imposing Brazilian midfielder setup Babel with the opening goal and Konyaspor found him near impossible to deal with playing in a number 10 role. Talisca’s power is matched by an impressive technical ability, intelligence and eye for goal rarely seen in a player of his physical stature.

Ricardo Quaresma completed the three man attacking midfield threat and was sublime yet again. The Portuguese international is going through a late renaissance and the results have been stunning. The Euro 2016 champions setup Oguzhan Ozyakup with the second goal and provided an assist for the fourth. The precision of Quaresma’s crossing has been otherworldly. The 30-year-old has made 55 accurate crosses this season which is equal to the entire Galatasaray team and more than 11 Super Lig sides. Quaresma now has 12 assists in total this season.

The star of the show was however, Cenk Tosun. Initially thought of as a back-up for Vincent Aboubakar, Tosun has gone onto become the undisputed first-choice striker at Besiktas. The forward bagged a hat-trick against Konyaspor and now has 15 goals in total this season. Gunes has a history of developing strikers. Under his stewardship Burak Yilmaz went from zero to hero at Trabzonspor. Fernandao finished the league as goal king at Bursaspor and Mario Gomez lit the Super Lig up last season. Tosun looks like the latest striker to be receive the Gunes midas touch.

Besiktas were simply unstoppable on the day and blew Konyaspor out of the water. If this side stay fit they will be difficult to beat however, Besiktas sides rarely stay injury free.

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Turkish League Talking Points

All eyes were on Basaksehir following their first defeat of the season last week against Fenerbahce. The surprise title challengers showed their resilience by battling to the very end against one of the leagues toughest sides in Bursaspor. Abdullah Avci’s boys had to wait until the fourth minute of additional time to find the winner. Winter signing Irfan Can Kahveci who we have tipped as being one to keep an eye on found the back of the net to give his side a huge moral boost and get them back on track.

Galatasaray also responded to their defeat last week but in more spectacular fashion. The Lions destroyed Akhisar 6-0 at home. Bruma – who has several Premier League clubs chasing him – scored a brace and Wesley Sneijder pulled off a hat-trick of assists in what was a brilliant display.

The biggest shock of the week was of course Kayserispor beating Fenerbahce 4-1, the heaviest league defeat the Yellow Canaries have suffered since Kayserispor beat them 4-1 in 2008. It is odd that Fenerbahce have dropped points against the four teams at the bottom of the league but have an excellent record against the league leaders. Fenerbahce boss Dick Advocaat will be under pressure to bounce back over the weekend. The Istanbul giants are already starting to lose touch with the leading pack and fell nine points behind first placed Besiktas.

Antalyaspor were facing down the barrel of relegation just a few months back but are now 5th and just four points behind 4th placed Fenerbahce. The Scorpions have won their last four consecutive games and Samuel Eto’o – who else – has played a key role in their resurgence. The former Barcelona superstar scored a brace in the 2-1 win over Alanyaspor in the Mediterranean derby taking his overall tally for the season to eight. As they say form is temporary, class is permanent. Well in this case form seems to be permanent as well.

Trabzonspor were largely forgotten about after an embarrassing first half of the season but they have started to pull it together having won their last three games. The star of the show was yet again wonder-kid Yusuf Yazici who has played a key role in the Black Sea Storm’s recovery.

Results

Rizespor 1-0 Karabukspor

Antalyaspor 2-1 Alanyaspor

Galatasaray 6-0 Akhisar

Genclerbirligi 1-1 Osmanlispor

Basaksehir 1-0 Bursaspor

Trabzonspor 4-0 Gaziantepspor

Kayserispor 4-1 Fenerbahce

Adanaspor 2-0 Kasimpasa

Besiktas 5-1 Konyaspor