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Sunday 20th January 2002

Galatasaray moved six points clear at the top of the table ahead of second-placed Besiktas's Sunday match in Trabzon with a 2-0 home victory against Gaziantepspor on Saturday.

More important, the red-and-yellows are eight points clear of their other main title rivals Fenerbahce who lost on Friday.

For once the managers left it to their chairmen to do the talking after Saturday's match. "This game was very important for us," said Galatasaray's Mehmet Cansun.

"Gaziantepspor are a strong team. They have very high quality foreign players. But by winning we made a good start to the second half of the season."

Cansun's Gaziantep counterpart Celal Dogan admitted he had not been satisfied with the way his team played but pointed out that manager Samet Aybaba went into the game with a long list of suspensions and injuries.

"We lost 2-0, but we're not placing too much importance on that," he said. "We're looking ahead."

Umit Karan fired Galatasaray ahead after 13 minutes and captain Bulent Korkmaz added the second on 29.

Defeats for Gaziantep and Istanbulspor enabled Ankaragucu to sneak into fourth place, four points behind Fener, by downing Antalyaspor at the capital's May 19 stadium.

Again both goals came in the first half. Huseyin Kartal set Ankaragucu on the way with only three minutes gone and dead ball specialist Yilmaz Ozlem blasted in a free kick almost on the half time whistle.

"Moving up to fourth has increased our responsibility to our fans still further," commented Ankaragucu press spokesman Mumtaz Karakaya. "Our aim is to consolidate our position and go higher."

The result dropped Antalyaspor back into the relegation zone. "The players and I have been having difficulty adjusting to one another," admitted new manager Giray Bulak whose first match in charge this was.

Genclerbirligi, second from bottom at the start of play, leapfrogged over Antalya and Yozgatspor with a 2-1 win against Diyarbakirspor.

Souleymane Youla was the Gencler hero, scoring on 54 and 78 minutes. For Diyarbakir, by no means clear of relegation trouble themselves and forced to play this match in Adana because of a one-match closure of their own stadium due to crowd violence, Deniz Kolgu pulled back a consolation from a free kick five minutes from the end.

As the relegation battle heats up, Malatyaspor also won but still stay bottom. Two goals in three minutes early in the second half from Evren Turhal and Mithat Yavas were enough to see off Istanbulspor in Malatya.
 
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