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Season review: Turkey

Published: Monday 28 May 2012, 13.31CET
Galatasaray AŞ won their 18th title at the home of arch-rivals Fenerbahçe SK on the last day of the season, while the Yellow Canaries claimed their first Turkish Cup since 1983.
by Türker Tozar
from Istanbul
Season review: Turkey
Fernando Muslera kept a club record 19 league clean sheets for Galatasaray ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 28 May 2012, 13.31CET

Season review: Turkey

Galatasaray AŞ won their 18th title at the home of arch-rivals Fenerbahçe SK on the last day of the season, while the Yellow Canaries claimed their first Turkish Cup since 1983.

Galatasaray AŞ won their 18th Turkish title after a close-fought battle with arch-rivals Fenerbahçe SK in the inaugural championship play-offs, with the Yellow Canaries taking the consolation prize of the Turkish Cup.

Champions: Galatasaray AŞ
Under the guidance of returning coach Fatih Terim, Galatasaray won their first title since 2008. They finished the regular season nine points clear of Fenerbahçe, but flirted with disaster in the play-offs, dropping seven points in three home games. When the big two met on the last day of the season, a single point separated them, but a goalless draw at Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium meant Galatasaray prevailed. "It was a fantastic season," said Swedish international Johan Elmander. "I'm on top of the world."

Cup final: Bursaspor 0-4 Fenerbahçe SK
Amazingly, Fenerbahçe had gone 29 years without a cup success when they met Bursaspor, but any nerves quickly evaporated in the final on 16 May. Caner Erkin put them ahead after two minutes and made it 2-0 by the break with a long-range effort. Semih Şentürk added a third with playmaker Alex – who had set up all three previous goals – completing the scoring on 78 minutes. "Our club was trying to win this cup for almost 30 years," said the Brazilian afterwards. "We are very happy to lift the trophy now."

European places*
Galatasaray AŞ – UEFA Champions League, group stage
Fenerbahçe SK – UEFA Champions League, third qualifying round
Trabzonspor AŞ – UEFA Europa League, play-off
Beşiktaş JK – UEFA Europa League, third qualifying round
Bursaspor – UEFA Europa League, second qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the Year: Selçuk İnan (Galatasaray SK)
There is no official player of the year award in Turkey, but if there was, defensive midfielder Selçuk İnan would have a strong case. Signed from Trabzonspor AŞ last summer, he proved crucial to coach Terim's playing strategy with his ability to switch from defensive to attacking mode and back again. As a playmaker, he contributed 13 goals (five from free-kicks) and 11 assists – the best statistics of his career. He only missed a single Super League match all season and was a model of consistency.

One to watch: Soner Aydoğdu (Gençlerbirliği SK)
Promoted to the first team in 2008/09, Soner made 13 league appearances as a 17-year-old in that campaign – an extraordinary feat in Turkey. Loaned out to Hacettepe SK last season, the left-footed central midfielder came back stronger in 2011/12, with his four goals in 35 league games only hinting at his skill and anticipation. Capped by Turkey for the first time in February's friendly game against Slovakia, he must improve his strength and play off the ball, but the 21-year-old is coming under scrutiny from the country's top clubs regardless.

Surprise package: MKE Ankaragücü
The departure of their wealthy owners prompted a crisis at Ankaragücü, and while they were relegated with just 11 points, they did not give up the top-flight status they had held since 1980/81 without a fight. With many of their established players leaving because of financial problems, the capital club gave their youth players a chance to impress, and will have been encouraged by the spirit they showed – if not the results they achieved. "Our squad is not good enough for the first division, let alone the Super League," said coach Hakan Kutlu. "We have been forced to field youth players aged 16-20. For some of them, we needed to get a deed of consent from their parents."

Leading scorer: Burak Yılmaz, Trabzonspor AŞ (33)

Relegated: MKE Ankaragücü, Manisaspor, Samsunspor

Promoted: Akhisar Belediyespor, Elazığspor, Kasımpaşa AŞ

Number: 19
The number of clean sheets that Galatasaray’s Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera kept this season, breaking the club record of 15 shared by Faryd Mondragon and Cláudio Taffarel.

"Fenerbahçe fought well tonight. I think we deserved to win the title. After missing out on the title so narrowly last season as a Trabzonspor player I fully understand how the Fenerbahçe players and fans are feeling right now."
Galatasaray midfielder Engin Baytar is magnanimous in victory

Last updated: 10/07/12 14.20CET

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