Beşiktaş beat Eskişehirspor to maintain its distance behind Turkcell Super League leader Sivasspor, as Galatasaray keeps on dropping points to leave the title race to the top two.
Two second-half goals gave Beşiktaş an important victory over relegation-battling Eskişehirspor on Sunday, only a day after Sivasspor’s 3-0 win over Trabzonspor.
Bobo and Filip Holosko scored for Beşiktaş, but on both occasions, the assistant players should be credited for building up plays for the goals.
Rodrigo Tello took the ball from Holosko’s acrobatic knee pass and sent it to Bobo in the 67th minute, as the Brazilian striker scored his eighth goal this season.
Later in the game, Holosko scored to secure the points for Beşiktaş, but the Slovakian only capped a one-man show by Yusuf Şimşek. The veteran midfielder took the ball at the halfway line and dribbled past three Eskişehirspor defenders more than five times. When he arrived on the goal line, he gave a killer pass to Holosko, who had to just touch the ball in to make the score 2-0 in the 87th minute.
Playing its game later than leader Sivasspor could be piling the pressure over Beşiktaş, but the Istanbul side handled it very well and remained in the title race.
"There is one thing that my team is doing very well, Beşiktaş is battling hard," said coach Mustafa Denizli. "Beşiktaş is not withdrawing from the race, it will not." Denizli praised the challenge level of the Turkcell Super League as well.
"There are lots of teams that are continuing the battle," said the 59-year-old. "It is a nice race we have here." This weekend Beşiktaş will welcome archrival Fenerbahçe at its own İnönü Stadium. As Fenerbahçe hardly looks like one of the teams that are continuing the battle as it failed to win its last three league games and openly threw the battle to the competition, it may look like an easy fixture for Beşiktaş. But Denizli does not see it that way.
"[The fact that Fenerbahçe is out of contention] Does not change anything at all," said the Turkish coach. "It doesn’t make a difference to big teams if they are in the race or not. This is a 100-year-old rivalry and it means very different to those teams."
"I know it very well because I experienced it at all those clubs," said Denizli, who is the only coach to have worked at all "big three" Turkish football clubs: Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş.
"We know that the real Fenerbahçe is not the one we saw Saturday," said Denizli, referring to Fener’s 2-1 loss at home to Ankaragücü. "We just want to take full advantage of playing at İnönü. If we want to make our way to the title, we have to do it."
As Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor closed the weekend with losses, the only team that can force its title bid except Sivas and Beşiktaş looked like Galatasaray. However, the Lions could not protect their lead and were knocked down by a late goal against Ankaraspor on Sunday and had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Galatasaray found the goal with a touch by Barış Özbek in the 22nd minute and was the dominant side for most of the game, creating many scoring chances, which were missed by Shabani Nonda and Lincoln. Those missed goals probably cost the season for Galatasaray, who could not prevent a last-minute header by Roguy Meye. As the Congolese striker made a powerful shot past goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, Galatasaray’s already dim title dreams totally faded out.
Coach Bülent Korkmaz conceded that Galatasaray is left far behind the teams at the top of the league.
"We could not find the second goal despite dictating the play, finding the chances but could not score the second goal.
There are some momentary events in football and we suffered from that. We conceded from a corner kick," said Korkmaz. "We have to win our games. If we can suffer slumps, our rivals can do as well. Now we don’t have much time left, so we should win and wait for them to lose."