Curtain falls on Turkish Super League

HAKAN BAŞ @hakanbash
ISTANBUL
Published
Çaykur Rizespor gave Galatasaray a guard of honor, applauding them when they came on the pitch.
Çaykur Rizespor gave Galatasaray a guard of honor, applauding them when they came on the pitch.

With Galatasaray clinching their 20th league title, the 2014-15 Turkish Spor Toto Super League has ended. Kardemir Karabükspor, SAI Kayseri Erciyesspor and Balıkesirspor have been relegated. Bursaspor striker Fernandao was the top scorer



The Turkish Super League, which was established in 1959, witnessed a very tight title race this season. Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş raced very closely until the penultimate week. However, Galatasaray won in the end. This season carried extraordinary importance for Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe because both teams had 19 championships going into the season, with each club desperate to be the first to pin the fourth star on their jerseys. Fenerbahçe's 2-2 draw at Başakşehir handed the league title to Galatasaray, giving Cimbom their 20th title and the precious fourth star. The victory is also a personal triumph for Galatasaray's coach Hamza Hamzaoğlu, who was only appointed to the job in late November after the club made a woeful start to the season under Italian coach Cesare Prandelli.

But for Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş's choaches, it was time for farewell when the league ends. Fenerbahçe coach İsmail Kartal and his colleague at Beşiktaş, Slaven Bilic had to part ways as a result of losing the title, which is seen often in Turkey. In his farewell statement, Kartal said: "Everything went well until the team was assaulted by gunfire."On April 4, the Fenerbahçe team bus was shot at on its way to the airport following their 5-1 away win at Black Sea side Çaykur Rizespor in Turkey's Super League. Stressing that Galatasaray got the title without playing well, Kartal continued: "We finished the first half as league leader. Following the assault, especially our foreign footballers were demoralized. They wanted to go home. We tried to convince them to stay and struggle. We were booed, stoned and assaulted by gunfire. Despite all the misfortunes we experienced, we are ranked first in all the statistics and showed a great performance. We finished the league with 74 points. Last year, we got the title with the same amount."

As for the last matches, Spor Toto Super League champions Galatasaray drew Çaykur Rizespor 1-1 in the last match day of the season on Saturday.

Home team Çaykur Rizespor took the lead in the 52nd minute. Eren Albayrak scored from a free kick. Visitors Galatasaray snapped up the draw near the end of the game when Umut Bulut's header hit the target. Galatasaray full-back Sabri Sarıoğlu made an assist from a free kick and the match ended 1-1.

Meanwhile, Fenerbahçe, which completed the season in second place, beat Kasımpaşa 2-0 at Fenerbahçe Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium on Saturday. Midfielders Emre Belözoğlu and Alper Potuk were the scorers for Fenerbahçe.

Galatasaray directly qualify for the UEFA Champions' League group stage. Meanwhile, runner-up Fenerbahçe will be in the third qualifying round of the Champions' League. Coming in third, Beşiktaş advanced to the UEFA Europa League group stage.

In addition, Istanbul Başakşehir and Trabzonspor will play the qualification rounds to be in the Europa League. Kardemir Karabükspor, SAI Kayseri Erciyesspor and Balıkesirspor have been relegated to the lower division, the PTT First League. Bursaspor striker Fernandao became the top scorer of the season. The 28-year-old Brazilian player scored 22 goals in 34 league matches. The 2015-2016 Super League season will start on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015.

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