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Beşiktaş and Sivasspor vie for Turkish crown

Published: Friday 29 May 2009, 19.00CET
For only the second time since 1995 the Turkish title is heading for neither Galatasaray AŞ nor Fenerbahçe SK, with either Beşiktaş JK or Sivasspor set to break the duopoly when the Süper Lig is concluded on Saturday.
by Türker Tozar
from Istanbul
Beşiktaş and Sivasspor vie for Turkish crown
Beşiktaş fans are hoping for a title celebration this weekend ©AFP
Published: Friday 29 May 2009, 19.00CET

Beşiktaş and Sivasspor vie for Turkish crown

For only the second time since 1995 the Turkish title is heading for neither Galatasaray AŞ nor Fenerbahçe SK, with either Beşiktaş JK or Sivasspor set to break the duopoly when the Süper Lig is concluded on Saturday.

For only the second time since 1995 the Turkish title is heading for neither Galatasaray AŞ nor Fenerbahçe SK, with either Beşiktaş JK or Sivasspor set to break the duopoly when the Süper Lig is concluded on Saturday.

Two-point gap
Double-chasing Beşiktaş, who won the tenth and most recent of their titles in 2002/03, hold a two-point lead and victory against Denizlispor will ensure an eleventh crown. However, should Beşiktaş lose, Sivasspor would become the first champions from outside Istanbul in 25 years if they win at Galatasaray, and a three-goal victory would give the Anatolian side their maiden Turkish title if the current leaders draw. There is hope in that respect: in 2005/06 Denizlispor held Fenerbahçe 1-1 at home to hand the championship to Galatasaray.

Absentees
Beşiktaş could be below full strength as Ekrem Dağ (shoulder) and İbrahim Toraman (heels) are both doubtful with injuries while goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber and midfielder Yusuf Şimşek missed training this week with hamstring problems, as did Rodrigo Tello with a thigh complaint. The loss of Yusuf Şimşek would be particularly keenly felt as the 33-year-old has been the team's creative hub since joining Beşiktaş from Bursaspor in January. Black Eagles coach Mustafa Denizli warned the success of Denizlispor's fight against relegation may not work in Beşiktaş's favour "Our opponents have survived in the top flight and are relieved now," he said. "It's sometimes tough to play against these sort of sides but there is a trophy to be won after 90 minutes."

Sivasspor hope
Sivasspor, meanwhile, go to deposed champions Galatasaray without suspended defender Sedat Bayrak and injured right-back Abdurrahman Dereli. Even if Beşiktaş take the title, victory for Sivasspor would ensure a debut UEFA Champions League qualifying place, holding off the challenge of Trabzonspor, one point behind in third and at home to Fenerbahçe. "We want to secure the title or a Champions League spot, let's see which one God lets us have," Sivasspor coach Bülent Uygun said. At the bottom, meanwhile, Konyaspor need a win against Ankaraspor AŞ to have any chance of staying up at the expense of Antalyaspor or Gençlerbirliği SK.

Last updated: 30/05/09 20.41CET

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