Updated May 20th, 2024 at 09:57 IST

Galatasaray must wait to seal Turkish league title after home loss to fierce rival Fenerbahce

The Istanbul derby had seemed likely to settle the title with Galatasaray leading by six points and needing just a draw in its home stadium where it won all 18 previous league games this season.

Galatasaray fans cheer during a Turkish Super Lig soccer match between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce in Istanbul, Turkey | Image: AP
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Galatasaray was denied clinching the Turkish league title on Sunday by losing 1-0 at home to second-place Fenerbahce which played with 10 men for most of the game against its fierce rival.

The Istanbul derby had seemed likely to settle the title with Galatasaray leading by six points and needing just a draw in its home stadium where it won all 18 previous league games this season.

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A 71st-minute goal by Fenerbahce defender Çağlar Söyüncü, standing almost on the goal line to score after a corner was not cleared, ensured the title will be decided in the final round of games next Sunday.

Also Sunday, Salzburg’s 10-year reign as champion of Austria was ended on the final day when leader Sturm Graz got second-half goals to win 2-0 against Klagenfurt. Salzburg ended two points back despite a 7-1 win against LASK.

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PAOK sealed the league title in Greece as the third different champion in three years by seeing out the final 20 minutes with 10 men to beat Aris Thessaloniki 2-1.

PAOK finished two points ahead of defending champion AEK Athens, which won 3-0 against Lamia, and will enter the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. PAOK needs to advance through three rounds to enter the new 36-team league phase that starts in September.

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Sturm Graz goes directly into the Champions League elite phase while the champion of Turkey will enter the qualifying playoffs in August.

Galatasaray needs just a draw or a win away to Konyaspor next Sunday when Fenerbahce hosts Istanbulspor. Fenerbahce last won the Turkish league 10 years ago.

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Salzburg, as the runner-up in Austria, will enter the Champions League second qualifying round. It needs to beat three opponents to return to the elite phase for the sixth straight season.

That consistency in the Champions League has earned Salzburg one of the 12 European entries in the 2025 Club World Cup that FIFA is relaunching as a 32-team end-of-season tournament played every four years. The inaugural edition is played in the United States.

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Salzburg’s title-winning players in the past decade of being funded by drinks giant Red Bull included Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane, Dayot Upamecano and Dominik Szoboszlai.

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Published May 20th, 2024 at 09:57 IST