Galatasaray and Besiktas put on one of Europe’s only football matches as Turkish giants clash in empty stadium which was DISINFECTED beforehand… only to play out drab 0-0 stalemate
- A huge Turkish derby played despite European cancellations due to COVID-19
- Galatasaray hosted bitter rivals Besiktas in a behind-closed-doors fixture
- The whole stadium was disinfected before the match could get under way
- After all the preparation and strange build-up, a drab 0-0 stalemate played out
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Bitter Turkish rivals Galatasaray and Besiktas pressed ahead with their Superlig fixture on Sunday, despite the vast majority of European football being cancelled at all levels due to the spread of coronavirus.
Surreal scenes unfolded prior to the match, as a huge team of health officials poured in to carry out disinfecting works at Turk Telekom Stadium and spray the stadium from top to bottom.
The work, ordered on government grounds, is part of Turkey’s plan to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, which so far has six confirmed cases in the country.
Players from both sides bumped elbows as they welcomed each other prior to the match
The 52,652 Turk Telekom Stadium stood empty as fans were banned from attending the tie
An eerie silence swept the pre-match warm up, in what is usually a fiery showdown
Understandably the game struggled to gather the same pace as when teeming with fans
Galatasaray’s Florin Andone (R) in action against Besiktas’ Domagoj Vida in the match
The country has taken several measures to stem the viral outbreak such as temporarily closing schools and universities, halting events and public activities, postponing foreign visits, and barring spectators at sports events.
Each stand of the 52,652 was sprayed with disinfectant, along with all pitch-side areas and the substitutes benches and dug-out.
No doubt affected somewhat by the bizarre circumstances, the match played out as a goal-less stalemate and the live broadcasting of the usually fiery spectacle carried an eerie feel.
Ryan Donk of Galatasaray is denied bravely by Besiktas goalkeeper Loris Karius
Talisman Radamel Falcao went closest to making the breakthrough for Galatasaray
The former Manchester United man rued a missed opportunity inside the empty stadium
Police patrolled the stands as play unfolded, scanning the stadium despite a lack of fans
Liverpool loanee goalkeeper Loris Karius came to the rescue of Besiktas on multiple occasions, as they dug in to share the spoils with their rivals.
The German stopper denied Galatasaray talisman Radamel Falcao from making a breakthrough, before bravely jumping into an aerial challenge with Ryan Donk to bail out his side.
The result sees Galatasaray sit in third place in the league, on 50…