Set for a clash with Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals, Galatasaray cruised to a clear 3-1 victory against one of the teams of the moment, Kayserispor, on March 18 in a game followed by the Spanish giants' coach Jose Mourinho.
Meanwhile, Fenerbahçe kept up the pressure on Galatasaray following a 2-1 victory away to MP Antalyaspor in the night's late game.
The Portuguese manager, who was welcomed as a star in the Central Anatolian province, watched his rivals closely from a box at Kadir Has Stadium.
Mourinho was not the only coach following the game from the tribunes as Galatasaray’s own manager, Fatih Terim, gave instructions to his team from a separate box as he was completing a three-match suspension following a dispute with the referee during a match last month against Orduspor.
The presence of Mourinho appeared to boost the Lions as Galatasaray found the net right at the beginning of the game, with Dutchman Wesley Sneijder opening the scoring in the third minute before Burak Y?lmaz, the leading scorer in the Champions League, doubled the lead in the 23rd minute.
Kayseri’s job was made even harder when Bobo, one of the league’s leading scorers, was sent off for a foul on Emmanuel Eboue in the 31st minute.
Burak then scored again in the 38th minute, slotting home after a smart set-up by Felipe Melo. The goal was Burak’s 16th of the season, giving him the league lead over Kas?mpa?a’s Kalu Uche.
Kayseri pulled back a consolation goal through Diego Biseswar in the 90th minute, but the strike was purely academic.
Galatasaray, which returned to winning ways in the league after a draw and a loss, consolidated its position at the top of the league, moving on to 50 points, seven ahead of Be?ikta? who was shocked at home by a 3-1 defeat at the hands of city rivals Kas?mpa?a on March 16.
Fenerbahçe moves into second spot
Fenerbahçe capitalized on Be?ikta?’s slip-up to move into second place in the league with its 2-1 win over Antalyaspor.
Fenerbahçe drew first blood in the 11th minute, leveling through an excellent strike from Salih Uçan. The strike, from well outside the area, was the young Turk’s first ever Spor Toto Super League goal.
Antalya’s Tita missed a great to chance to level the match in the 30th minute, but made amends just two minutes later by powering the ball past Fener goalkeeper Volkan Demirel following a pass from Isaac Promise.
Fenerbahçe restored their advantage not long before half-time when Moussa Sow put in from close range following a corner from Dirk Kuyt. The visitors had numerous chances to extend their lead, but Antalya never managed to punish their guests by finding an equalizer.
The Yellow Canaries now have 46 points, four behind Galatasaray and three ahead of Be?ikta?. The surprising Kas?mpa?a is in the last Europa League spot in fourth place with 40 points.
Elsewhere, there was action at the bottom of the table as Gaziantepspor climbed out of the relegation zone by defeating Orduspor 3-2, sending the Black Sea side into the drop zone in the process. Akhisar Belediyespor also took a step toward safety by defeating Sivasspor 2-1, but they remain four points off Karabükspor, the last team above the drop zone.