Players from both sides bumped elbows as they welcomed each other prior to the match
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. 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.
The 52,652 Turk Telekom Stadium stood empty as fans were banned from attending the tie
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.
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 points after 26 matches played. Besiktas meanwhile remain fifth on 44 points after the same amount of fixtures cleared.
In another huge clash which also played out on Sunday, top of the table Trabzonspor hosted second placed chasers Istanbul Basaksehir, in a fixture which would be impacted by two former Premier League stars.
The visitors took the lead on the 56th minute of the tie through former Chelsea and Newcastle charge Demba Ba, only Trabzonspor to grab an equaliser 10 minutes later after ex-Liverpool man Martin Skrtel put the ball into the back of his own net.
Turkey still waits to learn whether the top flight league will be suspended outright, as has happened across mainland Europe in the last week.
Source: Daily Mail UK