Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

So much for the second division winners. The First Division was the real thing anyway. Most of the league was fairly equal this season, which boiled down to concerns not of winning, but about surviving: 8 points divided silver medalists from the relegated 14th placed team. Some unlikely clubs had to fret to the end... Diyarbakirspor were the seasonal outsiders, finishing last. Above them were the unlucky newcomers Kayserispor. They fought as much as they were able to, but evidently they had weak squad – Kayserispor was the lowest scoring team this year, which placed them 15th at the end with 25 points. Above them bitter fight for survival lasted to the end:
Orduspor finished 7th with 30 points – seemingly safe, when one looks at the final table.
Demirspor (Adana) – or Adanademirspor, depending of correct or incorrect writing of the name – was 8th with 29 points. Talking stable mid-table teams? Not really: 4 clubs finished with 29 points. Two with 28. Half of the league was largely trying to escape relegation... and in this group were two clubs usually competing for the title. Besiktas finished 11th.
Galatasaray was 9th. Both mighty clubs finished with 29 points, perhaps having their worst season in history. But they at least survived. Two other old and highly respected clubs were also down, but unlike the giants from Istanbul, the clubs of Izmir were declining during the 1970s. Altay survived – they ended at 12th place with 28 points. Goztepe were not so lucky – they earned 27 points and finished 14th. Two points divided Galatasaray from Goztepe – well, Izmir was pretty much equal to Istanbul. Except that Besiktas and Galatasaray remained in first division, but Goztepe was going down to second division.
Pretty equal league up to the top. Small differences and may be luck decided failure and success.
Zonguldakspor certainly had fantastic success: they finished 3rd. Not only strong season, but the best ever for club of the coal mining town (the original name of the club was exactly that: Kömürspor. 'Kömür' is coal, hence, the nickname 'Kara Elmas' - Black Diamond). Great success for a modest club, but... thanks to the weakness of the other clubs, especially the big ones. And thanks to luck – Zonguldakspor finished with 33 points. Bursaspor had the same, but worse goal-difference.
Two points better than the miners were Fenerbahce.
Silver is not what Fenerbahce cares about, but at least they finished high and compared to their archenemies Galatasaray and Besiktas, had a strong season. On the other hand, it was not a strong season at all – the team was not really above the rest of the league and, even worse, they were not contenders – they were not unlucky losers of a race for the title, but rather more consistent than the bulk of the league. Confidently above them were Trabzonspor. Nothing surprising about them by the end of the 1970s.
Standing from left: Necati, Hüsnü, Şenol, İskender, Cengiz, Güngör
First row: Mustafa, Yaşar, Selahattin, Tuncay, Turgay.
Their 4th title, a consecutive too. Trabzonspor were the strongest Turkish club since 1975. They had no real opposition this season, finishing 4 points ahead of Fenerbahce. They were also very pragmatic team – clearly depending on defense. Trabzonspor lost only 3 matches, but tied half of their championship games – 15. Iron defense, allowing just 11 goals – the next best defense permitted 19 – but that was their only strategy. The team was not concerned with scoring and entertaining, but with collecting points. Minimal victories and ties was enough to stay... above every other club. They scored 25 goals in 30 matches! And with such record they remained unchalanged the whole season. No matter what, they were the 4th big Turkish club by now and the only not from Istanbul.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cyprus had one more transitional season – for a second year continued the reduction of the top division, which now consisted of 15 teams. Two team were relegated and one promoted in order of achieving the typical for the country league of 14 members. Apart from that, the season was marked by change of guard – the two strongest clubs were unquestionably best, but exchanged places.
The exile Nea Salamina (Famagusta) won the second league and the single promotion – a quick return of the usual first division member to their natural environment.
The two rivals from the city of Paphos were to play their derby in the next season as well, but in the lower league. Both finished with 19 points, goal difference placed APOP above Evagoras, but... we are talking of the last two places in first division. Both teams were relegated – and not surprisingly, for they played more often in second division than in the first. Above them it was business as usual without anything upsetting or really surprising. Six positions in the league were determined by goal-difference – that was perhaps the most characteristic feature of this season. Last place was decided by goal-difference and so was the title. Yet, the league as a whole was either above or bellow these struggles. Perhaps one club must be mentioned from the bulk:

Keravnos Strovolos, the tiny club from Nicosia, which hardly ever played among the best, managed to finish safely 12th – on better goal-difference too. A big success really – they were not expected to stay in the league, and escaping relegation was what success meant in their case. Meantime, Pezoporikos (Larnaca) finished 3rd – confidently above rivals, but not for a second a title contender. They finished with 33 points. The two clubs above them had 48 points each.
The usual suspects – Omonia and APOEL – raced head to head to the end. Omonia lost just one match and had the best defense. APOEL won the most matches and had the best striking record. At the end, a single goal decided winners from losers: APOEL had +53 goal-difference and Omonia +52.
APOEL triumphed over their arch-rivals by a single goal, but it was very sweet victory indeed – their first since 1973, finally breaking Omonia's monopoly.
The Cup finals reversed the roles: APOEL did not reach it, but Omonia, which played for the last time Cup final in 1974 did, opposing Alki (Larnaca). Alki, traditionally not even the top club in their own city, had no chances – as ever, they were among those fighting for survival in the league, where they ended 11th. The difference of class was obviously not in their favour and they lost the final, as expected – 1-3.
Omonia lost the title, but on the other hand won the Cup – a trophy, which they did not hold since 1974. It was Omonia champions and APOEL Cup winners in the recent years, but now the roles reversed. APOEL in particular wished the new disposition to remain in the future.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015