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Besiktas players celebrate in the dressing room after clinching the Turkish League title. PHOTO/Besiktas/Twitter

Football

Besiktas win thrilling Turkish title race on goal difference

ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 16 – Besiktas claimed their 16th Turkish league title on Saturday, edging out rivals Galatasaray by one goal on goal difference with a dramatic 2-1 win at Goztepe.

The three-team title race — Fenerbahce finished two points behind in third — went down to the final day after Besiktas suffered back-to-back defeats against Galatasaray and Fatih Karagumruk.

Galatasaray briefly led the as-it-stood table when Ryan Babel’s goal saw them come from behind to lead Yeni Malatyaspor 2-1 after an hour.

But Besiktas edged back ahead when Algeria international Rachid Ghezzal netted a 69th-minute penalty at Goztepe and they held on for all three points and the narrowest of title triumphs.

On-loan midfielder Ghezzal’s championship-winning goal was scored on the same day his parent club Leicester won the English FA Cup for the first time in their history.

Besiktas centre-back Domagoj Vida had given the visitors an early lead, but it was cancelled out by Alpaslan Ozturk’s equaliser.

Galatasaray, coached by ex-Turkey manager Fatih Terim, did net a third in injury-time through Ogulcan Caglayan, but had to settle for a 3-1 victory to come up two goals short, with Besiktas having also scored more across the season.

Fenerbahce won 2-1 against Kayserispor.

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Hundreds of Besiktas fans gathered outside the club’s stadium to celebrate, despite strict coronavirus restrictions.

Istanbul Basaksehir’s title defence had long been over, as they finished down in 12th despite ending the campaign with a six-match unbeaten run.

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