DAVID SMITH - Friday, February 18, 2011
Jozy Altidore could get his second straight start for Bursaspor when they host Gaziantepspor while Freddy Adu will hope to see his first competitive action for Rizespor when they take on league leaders Orduspor.
Bursaspor - Gaziantepspor
After putting in an impressive performance in his Turkish debut last weekend, Jozy Altidore will be hoping to keep his spot in the starting eleven on Saturday afternoon as Bursaspor try to jump back into the league's top two.
Altidore gave coaches and fans alike a taste of what they are hoping to see from the young American in last Sunday's 1-1 draw against Eskisehirspor, most notably showing off his skills with an impressive spin under pressure to help set up the team's lone goal of the contest.
They were unfortunate to concede the equalizing goal in the final quarter-hour, and were passed in the standings by heavyweights Fenerbahce, however are still in the thick of what amounts to a three-team race for both the league championship and two spots destined for the Champions league.
Their visitors Gaziantepspor are currently one of the hottest teams in Turkey, riding a ten-game streak without a loss over all competitions that stretches back to early-December.
They are currently sitting fifth in the standings and are just five points behind Kayserispor in the battle for the league's final Europa League spot.
The first meeting between these two teams in late-September at Gaziantepspor's home stadium was a memorable, even if shortened encounter; with Bursaspor leading after one hour, the game was stopped by the referees due to foreign objects being thrown onto the field.
The league ultimately ruled that Gaziantepspor was to forfeit the match, awarding Bursaspor a 3-0 victory, a decision which left the hosts with a feeling of injustice at a game which they felt they could have eventually turned in their favor on home ground.
The team will be without three players in the squad for the game, as defenders Serdar Kurtulus and Emre Gungor as well as midfielder Gokhan Ozturk have all missed out of midweek practices due to injury.
Bursa coach Ertugrul Saglam will be missing midfielder Ozan Ipek after he picked up a pair of yellow cards in last weekend's draw, and has several other absences to contend with.
Midfielders Ahmet Ari and Ozan Ipek are questionable after missing practices during the week with a respective toe infection and flu bug, and Volkan Sen, Gokcek Vederson and Ismail Haktan Odabasi continue to miss time due to various injuries.
Freddy Adu will hope to be included in Rizespor's gameday roster on Sunday afternoon when the team hosts league leaders Orduspor, with a chance to move back into the division's promotion spots with a win.