Beşiktaş will be seeking to win the league-cup double tonight when they take on Antalyaspor in the Turkish Cup Final this evening.
The Istanbul side has previously won the trophy nine times, although they last lifted the cup a decade ago in 2011.
Their opponents this evening, Antalyaspor, have only ever played in one cup final before, back in 2000, where they were beaten 5–3 by Galatasaray in extra time.
A Süper Lig side, Antalyaspor’s form this season has been poor, finishing fifth from bottom in the table, having drawn two and lost four of their last six games.
In contrast, the Black Eagles will be flying high after being crowned league champions for the sixteenth time in their club’s history.
The Istanbul side clinched the title on Saturday – the final day of the season – after winning against Izmir’s Göztepe 2-1 away from home.
Croatian defender Domagoj Vida put Beşiktaş ahead in the 10th minute, but Göztepe equalised 14 minutes later through Belgian-born midfielder Alpaslan Öztürk. A penalty scored by Algerian winger Rachid Ghezzal, on loan from Leicester City, in the 69th minute gave Beşiktaş three vital points.
Beşiktaş’s nearest rival Galatasaray ended up beating Yeni Malatyaspor 3-1 in their last game, in what turned out to be a nail-biting finish to the season.
The results meant the Black Eagles, managed by former star player Sergen Yalçın, finished the season on 84 points, level with Galatasaray, having each won 26 games, drawn six and lost eight. Beşiktaş remained top due to a solitary goal difference, 45 to Galatasaray’s 44.
At one point last month, the eventual league champions had built up a five point lead at the top of the table. But a nervous run-in to the end of the season saw them drop points in three of their last six games before Saturday’s decider.
One was losing 3-1 to a resurgent Galatasaray at the Türk Telekom Stadium, helping to boost the Lions’ title chances, who ended the season strongly with six wins on the trot. In the end, it was not quite enough to power them to the title and they make do as runners-up, with fellow title-pretender and Istanbul giant Fenerbahce in third on 82 points after their injury-time 2-1 victory over Kayserispor.
For Beşiktaş, the painful derby defeat at the hands of Galatasaray will pale into insignificance now they have been crowned league champions. Although muted due to the coronavirus lockdown, fans still gathered outside the club’s Vodafone Park stadium and elsewhere in the country to celebrate their stunning victory.
Among those to congratulate the club was Richard Moore, the Head of MI6 – the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service – and formerly Britain’s ambassador to Turkey, who is known for his support of Beşiktaş.
You’re not currently in Istanbul but don’t forget the celebrations 🥳 You might even want to hang a Beşiktaş flag on the SIS building 😀 pic.twitter.com/garph4jZJT
— Beşiktaşlı Çelebi (@BJKliCelebi) May 15, 2021
Fluent in Turkish, Mr Moore tweeted: “Tebrik ediyorum! Harika! Çok mutluyum.” (Congratulations! Wonderful! I am so happy).
The tweet was liked by over 16,000 people. Some Beşiktaş fans cheekily asked the intelligence chief if he would hang the club’s flag of outside the MI6 building, as he did on the British Ambassador’s residence in Ankara when the club won its last league title in 2017.
Main photo, top, of Beşiktaş celebrating winning Super Lig title after beating Göztepe, 15 May 2021. Photo © Twitter/Beşiktaş