Galatasaray back on top of Super Lig with Istanbul Derby win

Galatasaray secured an important victory
Galatasaray secured an important victory
Alex Bishop

Galatasaray took on city rivals and fellow Turkish Super Lig contenders Besiktas on Sunday in an Istanbul Derby that was sure to impact the title race in some shape or form.

The hosts comfortably won the game 2-0 and climbed to the top of the Turkish Super Lig courtesy a greater goal difference than cross-city rivals Istanbul Basaksehir. The win puts Galatasaray firmly in the driver's seat as we head into the final three matches of the season.

What was a three horse race may well finish with only two on the home straight. Besiktas are languishing 4 points behind their fellow capital city rivals with three games left to play.

Galatasaray started the game strongly and were able to exploit a gaping void in the left side of the Besiktas defense. Some smooth overlapping play between left-sided wing-back Yuto Nagatomo and Henry Onyekuru saw the hosts create two viable chances, with the Nigerian narrowly missing the target on both occasions.

Onyekuru gave the hosts the lead in the 45th minute following a counterattacking move that saw teammate Fernando square a short pass across the penalty box for the Everton loanee to easily slot home. Despite vigorous claims for offside by the visitors, the goal stood with no need for a VAR review. Yellow cards were issued to Gonul and Ljajic for their complaints.

Fernando starred again in the 55th minute by taking advantage of a moment of confusion. Gala were awarded a Throw-In which the visitors apparently believed should have been theirs.

Whilst Besiktas were stood in protest, the ball was quickly played to the Brazilian who proceeded to walk through the inactive defense and slot home past keeper Loris Karius. 2-0 Galatasaray.

It seemed Gala would have a chance to add to the lead in the 66th minute when a penalty was awarded for a foul on Mbaye Diagne by Domagoj Vida in the penalty area. However, this was ruled out by off-field assistance for an earlier missed off-side ruling.

Besiktas battled bravely but were reduced to firing shots from distance into a densely packed penalty area. Credit must go to the hosts for having a firm grip on the game both defensively and going forward.

Galatasaray will now travel to Caykar Rizespor whilst Besiktas will host Alanyaspor at Vodafone Arena on May 13th. However, all eyes will be on the May 19th match-up between Galatasaray and Istanbul Basaksehir, a fixture that may well provide the final swing in this season's title race.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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