Anatolian derby Kayseri-Sivasspor to light up Turkish Cup final

Turkish Süper Lig teams Kayserispor and Sivasspor will face off in the Turkish Cup final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on Thursday.

The 60th domestic cup final in Turkish football history is dubbed the Anatolia derby, with both sides hailing from the eponymous region in central Turkey.

While Kayserispor have won the Turkish Cup once, Sivasspor will make their first-ever appearance in the final, which was first hosted by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) in 1962-63.

Kayserispor last won the trophy in the 2007-08 season when they beat Gençlerbirliği in the final in an epic 11-10 penalty shootout after scheduled time ended in a 0 -0.

The central Anatolia team had a lackluster season in the Süper Lig, finishing 14th in the points table with 47 points from 38 matches, with 12 wins, 11 draws and 15 losses.

However, his Turkish Cup campaign was a whole different story. Kayserispor defeated Turkish heavyweight Fenerbahçe in the round of 16 before defeating Beşiktaş in the quarter-finals.

In the semi-final home and away, he played against new Turkish champions Trabzonspor. After losing the first leg in Trabzon 1-0, he fought back on his home turf, winning the second leg 4-2 to secure a place in the final.

By comparison, Sivasspor enjoyed an above-average season in the Turkish top flight, finishing 10th in the table with 54 points from 38 appearances. He has 14 wins, 12 draws and losses each under his belt.

His route to the Turkish Cup final was also relatively comfortable. It easily overtook second-tier team Ankaragücü in the fifth round and third-tier team Bandırmaspor in the round of 16.

He then edged out Fatih Karagümrük and Alanyaspor in the quarters and semi-finals.

Nevertheless, Sivasspor want to make history by winning the Turkish Cup in their first-ever final appearance.

Sivasspor players train ahead of the Turkish Cup final, Sivas, Turkey, May 24, 2022. (DHA Photo)

European football at stake

The Municipality of Sivas and the club have set up a fleet of more than 200 buses to transport Sivasspor supporters to Thursday’s final.

The fleet will travel almost 900 kilometers from the central province of Anatolia to reach the final venue in Istanbul.

“Let’s do our duty so that Sivas fans can come to Istanbul to support their team and become the 12th man,” Sivas mayor Hilmi Bilgin said last week.

The two sides played each other in the final week of the Süper Lig season on May 21, with Sivasspor winning the match 2-1.

Club president Mecnun Otyakmaz stressed the importance of the match for Sivasspor.

“This may be our most important match so far and to emerge victorious from this fight, we must act together and harness the power of unity,” he said.

He also pointed out that the final against neighbor Kayseri will be an Anatolian derby, making the game even more intriguing.

“Kayseri is our neighboring province and they have a very successful team. Like us, they are also eager to win the Turkish Cup this year. The final will be a crowning achievement for Anatolian football.

The winner of the final will also have the opportunity to play European football next season.

The champion team will take part in the Europa League qualifiers, which will be played from August 18 to 25, and will have the chance to participate in the group stages.

In the event of elimination in the playoffs, the team will then obtain a direct place in the group stages of the Europa Conference League.

Referee Halil Umut Meler will officiate for the final set which will start at 8:45 p.m. local time (17:45 GMT).

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