Galatasaray wins Turkish Super League, giving Fatih Terim 7th title

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Galatasaray's head coach Fatih Terim (C) gestures as he and his players celebrate their 2017-2018 champions title in Izmir on May 19, 2018, after the Turkish Spor Toto Super league football match between Goztepe and Galatasaray, which Galatasaray won 1-0. Galatasaray have won the Turkish Super League for the 21st time. / AFP PHOTO / EMRE TAZEGUL

After a breathtaking season as four football teams carried their hopes for the championship into the final games, Galatasaray won the Turkish Super League (TSL) on Saturday by beating its opponent 1-0, giving team coach Fatih Terim his seventh championship in the league.

The Beşiktaş Black Eagles, champion for the last two years and one of the biggest favorites this year as well, finished in fourth place.

This season started with Galatasaray’s almost invincible form against its opponents; however, in December the team’s then-coach, Igor Tudor, a world-famous former Juventus player, was sacked due to losses in away games.

Terim was available to step in at the time, following his controversial departure from the Turkish national team. In July Terim and his sons-in-law entered a restaurant in Alaçatı, İzmir, to pick a fight with owner of the place. After the news hit the media, Terim had to resign from his position.

Galatasaray supporters were reluctant about another Terim mission on their team; however, good form changed their minds.

Last year’s champion Beşiktaş was expected to win the title, especially after its surprising form in the European Champions League group matches, throughout which the Turkish side remained unbeaten.

But Beşiktaş was unlucky in the round of 16 as they drew German champion Bayern Munich. The Black Eagles lost both games in Munich and İstanbul without any real resistance.

That should have been good for Beşiktaş, actually, since they were then able to focus completely on the league. Still, they could not prevent easy point losses against opponents and stayed behind the league leader.

At the turning point, Beşiktaş played its rival Fenerbahçe in a cup match in which Fenerbahçe fans threw an object that wasn’t identified in official reports at the team’s coach, Şenol Güneş, who was hospitalized after the incident. Beşiktaş decided then and there to leave the field in protest.

Later, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) announced that the game would be replayed, starting from the moment it was interrupted. The Black Eagles refused to play the match again and as a result were declared the losers.

Fenerbahçe, on the other hand, was enjoying the good form that they had shown in the last weeks of the season, at the beginning of which their supporters were already protesting the club management and coach Aykut Kocaman, who had won the title with Fenerbahçe in 2011.

Despite supporters’ anger, the team managed to finish the league in second place.

Third place now belongs to Başakşehir, a municipality-subsidized football club that sparked controversy after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) youth branches to support the team.

Although some football critics argued that Başakşehir received favors from referees during the season, they managed to play in the title race for the last two seasons in great form.

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