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Galatasaray and Fenerbahce Draw in Super Lig Rivalry Match

Galatasaray SK may be the reigning champions in the Turkish Super Lig, but the football club had to come from behind to draw with rivals Fenerbahce on Sunday. The two teams are trailing in second and third place, respectively, in this year’s Super Lig, as Besiktas look poised to run the table for the year. A win for either squad on Sunday would have helped level the playing field a bit. Instead, though, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce draw, leaving Besiktas four points ahead after nine weeks of competitive play.

A Long-Standing Rivalry

The Intercontinental Derby matches are always among the most anticipated games (if not the most
anticipated games) of any given Super Lig season. The rivalry dates back to January 1909 when the two football clubs met for the first time.

In the years since, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray have played one another 361 times, with the stats for the rivalry remarkably even in their split. Fenerbahce have managed more wins (144), compared to Galatasaray’s 122. (The other 115 games, including this one, were draws.) However, Galatasaray have bragging rights of their own, having scored the biggest win ever at an Intercontinental Derby: a 7-0 victory back in 1911.

The evenly matched nature of the rivalry continues when you look at Super Lig history. Galatasaray have won the top-flight title more times, having notched their 20th win this past spring. Fenerbahce won their 19th in 2013 – 2014. Fenerbache have the overall better record in the Super Lig, though, having finished in the top two on 39 occasions. Galatasaray have only recorded 30 top-two finishes in the Turkish soccer league.

Even looking back at recent games in the rivalry, it’s tough to give either team an advantage or edge. The last nine Intercontinental Derbies, dating back to mid-2012, have ended in favor of the home team.

The First 2015 – 2016 Derby

Considering how much the home advantage seems to matter at the Intercontinental Derby, Galatasaray Galatasaray and Fenerbahce Draw 2015were the real winners in Sunday’s match. Meeting for the first time in the 2015 – 2016 season, the two teams took the football pitch at Fenerbahce’s Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium. (They’ll play at Galatasaray’s Turk Telecom Arena in March 2016.)

Early in the match, it looked like the home field advantage was going to earn Fenerbahce a win. The home team broke the ice and scored the first point of the match at the 37-minute mark when Brazilian midfielder Diego netted a goal. It was the 30-year-old’s first Super Lig goal of the 2015 – 2016 campaign.

Galatasaray and Fenerbahce Draw Super LigFenerbahce also played fairly solid defense throughout the game, though that was arguably to their detriment. Home side manager Vitor Pereira looked like he was trying a more tactical approach in the second half, trying to preserve his soccer squad’s one-point lead instead of building it.

The approach almost worked too, holding Galatasaray scoreless for the majority of the match. At the 84-minute mark, Olcan Adin converted an assist from Wesley Sneijder to equalize the score. With a limited time on the clock, Fenerbahce simply didn’t have the minutes left after that goal to mount much of an attack. As a result, the match ended 1-1, with both teams adding one point to their standings totals.

The Current Super Lig Standings

Both Galatasaray and Fenerbahce now sit at 18 points on the 2015 – 2016 Super Lig table. They are in second and third place, respectively, with Galatasaray enjoying the superior goal difference (+9 to Fenerbahce’s +5) for a slight lead.

Besiktas, meanwhile, continue to build their lead. Following a thrilling 5-1 victory against Antalyaspor over the weekend, Besiktas pushed their point total to 22. Their record—of seven wins, one draw, and one loss—is impressive, to say the least, as is their goal total (24) and goal difference (+18). Needless to say, both Galatasaray and Fenerbahce are going to have to work hard to catch up.