Turkish Super Lig Wrap: Galatasaray wrap up record 19th title

6 May 2013 04:27

Galatasaray defeated Sivasspor 4-2 on Sunday to wrap up a record 19th Turkish Super Lig title.

Selcuk Inan and Burak Yilmaz both scored braces for Galatasaray as the Istanbul-based club became the first Turkish club to win 19 league titles.

Galatasaray edged ahead of local rivals Fenerbahce (18 titles), while Istanbul’s other main club Besiktas are third overall with 13 championships.

Knowing a win on Sunday would clinch the title with two games remaining, Galatasaray started strongly at home with Yilmaz firing an early effort just wide of the post.

But the home crowd did not have to wait long for the opening goal as Inan curled his free-kick around the wall and into the net from the edge of the penalty area in the eighth minute.

Didier Drogba hit the post for Galatasaray soon after but Sivasspor stayed within a goal of the home side until eight minutes into the second half.

Emmanuel Eboue’s through-ball found Yilmaz in behind Sivasspor’s defence and the top-goalscorer in the Turkish Super Lig turned before blasting his shot past visiting goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

Inan showed plenty of skill to score Galatasaray’s third on the hour mark, controlling a long pass, flicking it over an opponent and then thumping a scorching half-volley from the edge of the box.

Galatasaray were cruising in the 75th minute when Yilmaz completed his brace with a cool finish but Sivasspor finished the game strongly thanks to Kadir Bekmezci’s long-range strike and a similarly stunning effort from Cihan Ozkara in stoppage time.

The hosts finished the match with 10 players after Umut Bulut was sent off in the 89th minute but it failed to take the gloss off a big day in Galatasaray’s history.

Galatasaray moved 10 points ahead of Fenerbahce after the second-placed side suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Istanbul BB, while Besiktas, who sit third, knocked off Eskisehirspor 2-1 on Saturday.

Bursaspor just about wrapped up Turkey’s second spot in next season’s Europa League with a 4-2 comeback win away to Orduspor, after Kasimpasa drew 0-0 with Genclerbirligi.

Those results left fourth-placed Bursaspor six points clear of Kasimpasa with two games left this season.

In a high-scoring weekend in the Super Lig, Antalysaspor triumphed in a 4-3 goal-fest against Akhisar Belediyespor, Kayserispor knocked off Trabzonspor 2-1, while Elazigspor and Gaziantepspor won 2-0 over Mersin Idmanyurdu and Karabukspor respectively.

Ancelotti to decide future at end of season

6 May 2013 04:04

Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti has reiterated his intention to leave any decision on his future until the end of the season.

Reports over the weekend suggested the Italian had already given the Ligue 1 leaders’ hierarchy his word that he would extend his stay at Parc des Princes, but FIFA agent Ernesto Bronzetti told Sky Sport Italia on Sunday that Ancelotti was keen to join Real Madrid.

However, speaking after PSG’s 1-1 draw with Valenciennes on Sunday, Ancelotti said he will meet with the club’s board in the summer.

“I have not spoken with the players. There will be a meeting with the club at the end of the season. (My decision) will also be made at the end of the season,” the 53-year-old told reporters.

PSG suffered the misfortune of Thiago Silva’s dismissal in the first half against Daniel Sanchez’s side, before Alex rescued a point late on, but the former Chelsea and AC Milan boss sympathised with the Brazilian defender.

“Statistically, the team that has the most possession is the team that accrues the least amount of cards. And here we are – the team that has the most possession and were shown the most cards,” he said.

“We reversed the statistics, but we remain strong. The referees are very strict, especially against us. I cannot be angry with Thiago Silva.”

Vilanova: Judge me next season

6 May 2013 01:35

Tito Vilanova has urged critics of his Barcelona reign to judge him next season after watching his side’s 4-2 win over Real Betis.

Barca are only two points short of clinching the league title with four matches remaining, but they have faced criticism from various sections of the media for their defensive frailties and elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich.

However, the Barca boss – who missed two months of the season to undergo cancer treatment in New York – is the first to admit he may have made mistakes during his first term in charge of the Catalans after succeeding Pep Guardiola last year.

“One must improve and be self-critical. It’s been a tough year for injuries. The coach has not been around for over two months and it’s not been easy,” he told reporters.

“Next year, we’ll do things differently, but it is normal because it is only my first year. If we had not managed (Lionel) Messi’s injury well, he would not have reached the same match against Betis to help.

“Tomorrow (on Monday) I’m off to New York and back on Thursday. It was all planned, and during this process you have to be in control of everything.”

Vilanova reflected on Barca’s victory over the Andalusians and felt they displayed ‘character’ to come back from going a goal down inside the first two minutes at Camp Nou, before challenging his players to wrap up the championship next week.

“We needed tranquility and this was the game to find it. The players were convinced too and to concede a goal in just the second minute is not easy, but we showed character,” the 44-year-old added.

“Especially when they scored a second before the break. It was a matter of not losing our heads.

“Our consistency in the league has been demonstrated. Madrid have been outstanding during the second half (of the season), so we must add two points next week because Madrid will not drop any more.”

La Liga Wrap: Barcelona on brink of title after Betis win

6 May 2013 00:20

Barcelona need one point from their final four fixtures to clinch the Liga title after a 4-2 victory over Real Betis on Sunday.

Dorlan Pabon gave the visitors a shock lead inside two minutes at Camp Nou but Alexis Sanchez headed in an almost immediate equaliser.

Ruben Perez restored the advantage for Pepe Mel’s side ahead of half-time with a sensational 30-yard goal before David Villa finally found the net after missing a string of first-half chances.

Villa had to make way for Lionel Messi moments after netting and the Argentine turned the match around with two goals of the highest quality, scoring for the 21st league game in a row to claim victory.

Elsewhere, Real Zaragoza registered consecutive wins for the first time this season to move out of the relegation zone.

Apono opened the scoring against Rayo Vallecano with a penalty, after Jordi Figueras handled in the area, before Rodri doubled their advantage from close-range five minutes into the second half.

The three points were wrapped up in the last minute of action when Apono fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Real Mallorca remained rooted to the bottom of the table after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Levante.

The hosts went ahead in the seventh minute through Tomer Hemed but Robert Acquafresca headed in the equaliser just before half-time.

Meanwhile, Sevilla eased to a 3-0 victory against Espanyol, with Joan Capdevila’s 11th-minute own-goal getting them off the mark.

Coke and Alvaro Negredo both scored before the midway point in the first half to keep Sevilla in with a chance of a top-six finish.

Stramaccioni praises Inter´s fight, despite Napoli loss

6 May 2013 00:19

Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni refused to blame his injury-hit squad for their 3-1 defeat to Napoli and instead praised their commitment.

Inter were forced to field midfielders Fredy Guarin and Ricardo Alvarez in attack as well as calling on Andrea Ranocchia and Christian Chivu, despite both players lacking fitness.

However, they were shown no mercy by a rampant Napoli side who saw Edinson Cavani strike a hat-trick to secure all three points.

Cavani’s first came in only the third minute, Goran Pandez releasing the striker in behind the Inter defence, before he calmly slotted past Samir Handanovic.

Inter were given a way back into the game when they were awarded a penalty midway through the first half and Alvarez duly dispatched the spot-kick but the scores were not level for long as the home side were given a penalty of their own that Cavani made no mistake with.

The hosts sat back after the break which allowed Inter to stay in the game, but with 12 minutes to play Cavani grabbed his third goal to seal the win and condemn Stramaccioni’s side to their 14th defeat of the season.

Despite the disappointment of defeat, the Inter head coach refused to criticise his players, and admitted that he felt the effort he had seen was encouraging against a good Napoli side.

“Even tonight my defenders recovered at the last minute,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“Ranocchia had a swollen knee, we need to thank him, as well as Chivu who was not in best of shape.

“In spite of all the absences, we stood up to the team that fully deserves second place in the league.

“Napoli deserved to win, I congratulate them.”