Fenerbahce seal 19th Turkish title

Fenerbahce seal 19th Turkish title
By Reuters

28/04/2014 at 04:32Updated 28/04/2014 at 06:11

Fenerbahce clinched their 19th Turkish league title after a 0-0 home draw against Caykur Rizespor on Sunday, securing the trophy three weeks before the end of the season to prompt wild celebrations in Istanbul.

The game against Rizespor was played in a stadium packed with more than 50,000 women and children younger than 12 years old due to adult males being banned following crowd trouble.

But thousands of fans took to the streets to celebrate, waving flags and singing songs while fireworks were seen exploding all over the Bosphorus strait.

Istanbul rivals Galatasaray, 19-times champions and league winners in the last two seasons, won 1-0 at Elazigspor, leaving them 12 points adrift of the leaders.

"It's really a very special moment in my life. It's a great victory, not only for me but the whole club. We are experiencing truly special feelings after all the club went through," Fenerbahce forward Dirk Kuyt told reporters, referring to the match-fixing case hanging over the club.

It was the first league title of the 33-year-old Netherlands striker's career after spells with Dutch clubs Utrecht and Feyenoord, and English Premier League side Liverpool.

Fenerbahce chairman Aziz Yildirim faces a probable return to prison after his appeal against a conviction for match-fixing was rejected by a top court this month.

Coach Ersun Yanal, in his first year in charge of Fenerbahce, secured the title thanks to the outstanding performances of African strikers Emmanuel Emenike and Moussa Sow.

"I am very proud of the team and thank everyone, especially our chairman. We showed once again that Fenerbahce is pure and strong," Yanal told reporters.

It was Fenerbahce's first league title since the match-fixing scandal broke in 2011.