Two Anatolian football powerhouses, Bursaspor and Sivasspor, will face each other twice this week, as they are also slated for another match-up over the weekend in the Europa League group, which is made up of the four teams that came in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth in the regular season and will determine the team to represent Turkey in this second-tier continental competition. However, there is no way to compensate for a loss in Wednesday’s match because the winner will land a knockout blow to the loser, maintaining its hopes of clinching the coveted cup and gaining a ticket to the Europa League.
Bursaspor, which won the cup once, in 1986, is confident ahead of the match at Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium. “We will show all of Turkey Bursaspor’s power,” coach Ertuğrul Sağlam told reporters during Tuesday’s training session. “Bursaspor has been yearning for a success like this for many years. We want the support of our fans. We once had 35,000 supporters at İstanbul’s Olympic Stadium. If that many fans went there then, I have nothing to worry about [for Thursday’s game].”
The winner of the game will face Eskişehirspor in the semifinals.
Elsewhere, at Ankara’s 19 Mayıs Stadium, Kardemir Karabükspor takes on the only second-division side in the competition, Boluspor, which made a splash by kicking Turkish football giant Beşiktaş out of the tournament. Top-division survivor Karabükspor is being careful ahead of the game against a fellow Black Sea side. “It will be a hard game. If we don’t play our best, we may have trouble against Boluspor,” Karabük coach Bülent Korkmaz said after Tuesday’s training.
Boluspor Chairman Necip Çarıkçı said he hopes fair play will prevail on the pitch, in an interview with the Anatolia news agency on Tuesday. He said Karabükspor was more on-form during the second half of the season, adding that Thursday’s match will be hard. Boluspor has advanced only one time to the finals of the Turkish Cup, and it is now fighting to take part in the second-division playoffs to earn a spot in the top division.
The winner will play the winner of the Fenerbahçe-Kayserispor game in the semifinals.