Trabzonspor remain top of the Süper Lig table as Turkey’s football season resumes

Trabzonspor took all three points in their Friday evening encounter with Göztepe S.K as Turkey’s premier football league returned following a near three month break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Playing behind closed doors as part of the coronavirus containment measures, the Süper Lig leaders beat the home side 1-3, despite going down to ten men just before half time when Brazilian winger Guilherme was sent off.

Trabzonspor had taken the lead on the 16th minute through a header by Nigerian winger Anthony Nwakaeme.

The visitors doubled their lead early in the second half when their Norwegian striker Alexander Sorloth was brought down in the area, and the spot kick was converted by fellow striker, Ghanaian Caleb Ekuban, on the 52nd minute.

Göztepe pulled one back when Alpaslan Öztürk scored from the penalty spot five minutes later after their English striker Cameron Jerome was fouled in the box.

The goal rallied the home side to press forward looking for the equaliser, with the extra man advantage. It was not to be. Midfielder Abdülkadir Ömür killed off the game with a goal on the 84th minute.

The win keeps Trabzonspor top of the table on 56 points, level with İstanbul Başakşehir, who beat Alanyasport 2-0 on Saturday, but who remain second having scored six goals less than their Black Sea rivals.

Galatasaray remain in third place on 50 points after losing 2-0 away to Rizespor, while fifth placed Beşiktaş lost 2-1 at home to Antalyaspor. Fourth place Sivaspor play Denizlispor tonight.

Süper Lig results from 12-14 June 2020

In the absence of supporters, Fenerbahçe put out cardboard cut outs of medical staff in the stands all around their Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, with a huge banner that read ‘To all our medical staff with respect and gratitude.’ One prominent cut out was of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.

The team came from behind to win 2-1 against Kayserispor. TheYellow Canaries had to play most of the match with 10 men after midfielder Ozan Tufan received a red card in the 14th minute.

The Fenerbahçe- Kayserispor match was the first since the Süper Lig was suspended on 19 March due to the virus.

Fenerbahçe fill stadium with cut outs

Among the health measures the authorities have imposed for the rest of the season are for the temperature of all players, staff and officials entering the stadium, and socially distanced substitute players, some of whom now sit in the empty fan seats behind the dugouts. Footballs are also regularly disinfected.

While all matches are currently being played behind closed doors, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) remains optimistic that fans could return before the end of the season, “if the situation improves.”

The Süper Lig is scheduled to end on July 26. There are a total of 72 league games to play, and three Cup games.


Main image, top, of two Trabzonspor players crowding out a Göztepe S.K. player. Photo © Twitter/Trabzonspor