Galatasaray falls short in its bid to break its record of successive wins as it is held to a draw by a solid Eskişehirspor side. There is another streak still alive, however, as Fenerbahçe continues unbeaten at home.
It had to end sometime, as long streaks always do.
Galatasaray’s nine-game winning streak was ended with a goalless draw at the hands of a solid Eskişehirspor side on Jan. 22, but the Spor Toto Super League leader has reason to avoid being gloomy about it.
The 0-0 draw meant the end of a streak which dated back to mid-November, but even coach Fatih Terim, a notoriously sore loser, gave it to the home team.
“If there was a winner on the pitch, it should have been Eskişehirspor,” the coach said after the game. “They were the better side.”
Galatasaray was aware that it did not deserve a victory, so it was not sorry that the streak was gone. A win would have broken the club record for most consecutive wins, but actually, since the team is still topping the table, it can afford a draw every once in a while.
“If Mr. Terim was offered 28 points in 10 games [three months ago], he would take it without a moment of hesitation,” former Turkey and Fenerbahçe forward and prominent pundit Rıdvan Dilmen said on his NTV Spor show, “%100 Futbol.”
Truth be told, as good as Galatasaray was while maintaining its stunning run, it also had its moments of luck as well. Some of its rivals were depleted with red cards, some games were won with dramatic comebacks and some games were simply won through the feat of a long-range freekick. Galatasaray was good enough to beat fellow title contenders Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor with comfortable victories during that period, but still, sometimes the difference was down to the small things. On Jan. 22, there was no such thing on Galatasaray’s side, and the team was right to be happy it did not lose.
Winning streaks are clear signs of might in football, but sometimes, the teams can respond negatively to them. The stress of keeping the run alive can overpower the confidence it brings. Following the Eskişehirspor game, Galatasaray will simply be focusing on winning games.
There is another long streak on the other side of Istanbul, however, as the home unbeaten run of Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray’s fiercest rival, reached its 33rd week. If it can overcome Mersin İdman Yurdu on Jan. 29, its unbeaten streak will virtually complete a period as long as two football seasons – a stunning run in the game.
Streaks are about finding rhythm, and apparently Trabzonspor is working on that rhythm. The team got all of its nine wins in streaks: There was a six-week run without a win between its two winning streaks. And after four consecutive wins, it suffered an unexpected defeat to Kardemir Karabük on Jan. 21.
The Black Sea Storm is a far cry from the team that competed for the title and eventually finished runner-up last season. After losing several key players, they are heavily relying on Burak Yılmaz to score the goals: The forward has scored 22 of his team’s 33 goals. Whether he can keep the pace to break the long-standing record of former Galatasaray forward Tanju Çolak’s 39 goals remains to be seen.
The 2-1 win proved a lifeline for Kardemir Karabük, who snatched its third win with coach Bülent Korkmaz. If Ankaragücü, who is coping with departing players with financial woes, is deemed a lock for the relegation spots, three sides hailing from the Black SeaRegion, Orduspor, Karabük and Samsunspor will try to be the one to avoid the other two spots.
However, there are four more teams that may be feeling the heat soon: Bursaspor, 2010 league champion, Gaziantepspor, which scored a berth in the Europa League qualifiers following its fourth-placed finish last year, and Kayserispor, which finished sixth, are in lowly positions unbefitting their statures.