On the up
The leaders are eight points clear of third-placed Besiktas, but are still being pursued by Trabzonspor who were 2-0 home winners on Saturday against Diyarbakirspor. At the other end of the table, Elazigspor's relegation from the top flight became a certainty following a 4-0 away defeat by Bursaspor.
With only three rounds left after this weekend, the Istanbul derby at the Inönü stadium on Sunday threatened to be even more tense than usual as Besiktas desperately needed victory to keep their championship hopes in sound health. But it never looked like being their night after they fell behind to Serhat Akin's 32nd-minute header. The same player doubled the lead in the 58th minute before Tuncay Sanli collected the third soon after. Romanian Adrian Ilie scored a late goal for Besiktas - but it proved to be scant consolation.
Trabzonspor reaped maximum reward from Besiktas's misfortune, going six points clear in second spot thanks to their victory against Diyarbakirspor. Ziya Dogan's surprise candidates for the title had Mehmet Yilmaz to thank for their goals in a 2-0 win. Fourth-placed Denizlispor did not perform so impressively, losing 2-1 to visiting Gençlerbirligi, now in ninth. Mustafa Özkan and Souleymane Youla were on target in each half.
Gaziantepspor, in fifth, overcame relegation-threatened Istanbulspor AS 1-0 thanks to a 53rd-minute effort from Hasan Özer while Galatasaray SK, a position behind, won away for the first time in six months, 2-1 at Malatyaspor. Goals from Ümit Karan and Arif Erdem, with a penalty, did the damage.
Elsewhere, Akçaabat Sebatspor edged past Rizespor 1-0 following an early goal from Orhan Kaynak and MKE Ankaragücü beat visitors Konyaspor by the same score. Finally, Serkan Aykut converted two penalties as Samsunspor overcame already-relegated Adanaspor 2-1 in front of their own fans.
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