Istanbul’s Başakşehir swept aside title contender Galatasaray
4-0 on April 10 to continue its pursuit of leader Beşiktaş
in a match that was marked by veteran striker Emmanuel Adebayor’s stunning hat trick.
Coach Abdullah Avcı’s charges remained within touching distance of Beşiktaş, which beat a strong Trabzonspor
4-3 on April 8.
Former Arsenal and Tottenham star Adebayor dedicated the hat trick to his former teammates.
“I think it was my first hat trick since Real Madrid; I owe it to the great players I played with like Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera and Ronaldo. This is for them and what I learned from them,” he told reporters.
His last hat trick was for Real Madrid in 2011.
Adebayor found the net twice before halftime and headed in a third on 57 minutes before Mustafa Pektemek sealed the game before the end on a breakout.
“Besides the goals I scored, I helped our defense,” Adebayor said, adding that he knew before signing with Başakşehir that the Turkish league was a challenging one.
The Togolese international joined Başakşehir, the dark horse challenger which remains five points behind Beşiktaş
with seven matches left in the season, as a free agent during the winter transfer window.
Commenting on the targets of his team, Avcı said “we have some dreams” that are not limited to the league title.
No other Turkish teams with the moderate size of Başakşehir can appear in the European places three years in a row, he said.
“I enjoyed myself very much while watching this game from the bench. Sometimes you wish that the game would never end,” he said.
Meanwhile, Turkish media speculated that Galatasaray
coach Igor Tudor argued with Wesley Sneijder, who was brought in with striker Lukas Podolski in the 67th minute.
Başakşehir will visit relegation-threatened Çaykur Rizespor on April 22, after a one-week break due to the constitutional referendum in the country on April 16, while Beşiktaş
will host cellar-dweller Adanaspor on April 24.
The two other main Istanbul teams, fourth-placed Galatasaray
and third-placed Fenerbahçe, will clash on April 23 in the former’s Türk Telekom Arena.
Beşiktaş leads the league with 61 points, followed by Başakşehir on 56. Fener sits on 50 points, one ahead of Galatasaray.