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Akhisarspor stun Fenerbahce to win Turkish Cup

Diyarbakir (Turkey) (AFP) – Unfancied Akhisarspor on Thursday stunned Istanbul giants Fenerbahce to win the Turkish Cup with a sensational 3-2 victory, one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition.

Portuguese defender Miguel Lopes opened the scoring for Akhisarspor with just over half an hour on the clock but Brazilian Fernandao equalised ten minutes after half time.

But rather than letting Fenerbahce surge ahead, Malian Abdoul Sissoko put Akhisar 2-1 up and Portuguese Helder Barbosa made it 3-1 just after 80 minutes. 

Josef de Souza pulled the score back to 3-2 for Fenerbahce to create a nail-biting finale, but Akhisarspor held on after six minutes of injury time for a historic victory for their town in western Turkey’s Aegean region.

Fenerbahce currently lie second in the Super Lig behind Galatasaray with two weeks left of the season but Akhisarspor are just above the relegation zone in 14th.

The final, the first match to be played in a new stadium in the Kurdish majority city of Diyarbakir, had been overshadowed by controversy.

Fenerbahce made the final after being awarded an automatic 3-0 walkover by the football authorities in the semi-final against Istanbul rivals Besiktas.

Besiktas refused to turn up to the resumption of a match called off after their coach was hurt by an object thrown from the stands.

The opening of the 33,000 capacity stadium after three years of construction is seen as a major boost for the Kurdish majority south-eastern city.

The stadium is named after Gaffar Okkan, a widely admired police chief in the city who was shot dead in an ambush after leaving his office in January 2001.

Development of the Diyarbakir area has been held back due to the three-and-a-half decade insurgency of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the region. 

Turkey has embarked on a massive spree of stadium building in recent years under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with new world-class stadiums in Antalya, Konya, Istanbul (for Besiktas) and Trabzon opening in the last half decade.

Turkey is bidding to host the 2024 European football championships using the glitzy new stadiums although Diyarbakir is not one of the proposed host cities.

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