Football: Super Lig's second half to begin Friday
Turkish clubs return to Super Lig, title race to heat up with team's new managers and transfers in winter break
Turkey's Super Lig set to begin its second half after the winter break, with clubs expecting to improve their performances with their new signings for the rest of the season.
Some of the clubs will fight to remain in the Super Lig while some will make efforts to stay in the title race.
Second half of the Turkey's top-tier football division will kick off on Friday following a two-week winter break.
Ankaragucu will face Ittifak Holding Konyaspor on Friday for the opening match in the Turkish Super Lig's second half of 2019/2020 season.
The match will kick off in Ankara's Eryaman Stadium at 1700GMT.
Fans witnessed a thrilling title race in the first half of the season while the underdog Demir Grup Sivasspor had an unexpected form with less budget than the league's title contenders.
Demir Grup Sivasspor now sit in top of the table, four points ahead of second-placed Medipol Basaksehir and seek to maintain their heroic run for the rest of the season.
They will take on title contenders Besiktas at Vodafone Park on Sunday.
Runners-up Medipol Basaksehir will face Yeni Malatyaspor at the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium on Saturday.
Trabzonspor will continue to fight for the league title in the second half with their new manager.
The Black Sea club announced the new manager Huseyin Cimsir in winter break to replace former head coach Unal Karaman.
Trabzonspor, which are currently in third place, will play against Kasimpasa at the Medical Park Stadium on Sunday for their first match in the second half of the season.
The club also signed the Senegalese midfielder Badou Ndiaye from Stoke City on loan for the rest of the season.
Another title contenders Fenerbahce will face Gaziantep FK for the 18th Week match at the Kalyon Stadium on Saturday.
Fenerbahce increased their defender options with the signing of Guinean centre-back Simon Falette on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt until the end of the season.
Defending champions Galatasaray will host Yukatel Denizlispor at the Turk Telekom Stadium in Sunday's match.
Galatasaray strengthened their squad with significant transfers after they failed to meet expectations in first half of the season.
The club's former winger Henry Onyekuru from Nigeria joined Galatasaray on loan from the French team Monaco.
In addition, Uruguayan left-back Marcelo Saracchi moved to the Istanbul club on loan for one-and-a-half-year.
He played for the German team Leipzig before joining the Turkish club.
Galatasaray also transferred Nigerian right-winger Jesse Tamunobaraboye Sekidika from other Turkish team Eskisehirspor.
- Week 18 fixtures of the Super Lig are as follows:
Ankaragucu - Ittifak Holding Konyaspor at 1700GMT
Aytemiz Alanyaspor - Hes Kablo Kayserispor at 1100GMT
Medipol Basaksehir - BtcTurk Yeni Malatyaspor at 1400GMT
Gaziantep FK - Fenerbahce at 1700GMT
Antalyaspor - Goztepe at 1030GMT
Trabzonspor - Kasimpasa at 1300GMT
Galatasaray - Yukatel Denizlispor at 1300GMT
Besiktas - Demir Grup Sivasspor at 1600GMT
Caykur Rizespor - Genclerbirligi at 1700GMT
The following are the standings in the Turkish Super Lig:
Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.