Turkey's top-tier Spor Toto Super Lig's new season is set to begin on Friday as the season's debut match will be played between MKE Ankaragucu and defending champions Galatasaray in the Turkish capital Ankara.
The 2018-2019 football season will be named 'Lefter Kucukandonyadis Season' after the legendary football player of Istanbul heavyweights Fenerbahce who died in 2012.
The match at Osmanli Stadium in Ankara will kick off at 9.45 p.m. local time (1845GMT).
The new season will see 18 teams from 13 Turkish provinces play 306 matches in 290 days.
Caykur Rizespor, MKE Ankaragucu, and Buyuksehir Belediye Erzurumspor are the league's newcomers from a lower division.
There are five teams from Istanbul, namely, Besiktas, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Kasimpasa, and Medipol Basaksehir.
The first half of the 2018-2019 season will end on December 23 and the season will finish on May 26, 2019.
The first big game of the season will be in Week Four as Trabzonspor will host Galatasaray at Medical Park Stadium.
This season's first derby game will be played between Fenerbahce and Besiktas at Fenerbahce's Ulker Stadium, city rivals' showdown will be held in Week Six.
In Week 11, fierce rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahce will meet in Galatasaray's home, Turk Telekom Stadium. Two weeks later Trabzonspor will face Fenerbahce in Black Sea province of Trabzon.
In Week 14, Istanbul giants Besiktas and Galatasaray will meet in Besiktas' home ground Vodafone Park.
The first half's last big game will be held between Besiktas and Trabzonspor at Vodafone Park in Week 16.
This season the league will also put to use Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. VAR system was used at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
VAR was used for the first time in Turkey in Turkish Football Federation Super Cup game last weekend.
VAR will be used in several specific cases: goals, penalties, direct red cards and yellow cards and mistaken identity. But the final decision will be made by the referee.
Summer transfer window for Turkish clubs will close on August 31. The mid-season transfer window will open on Jan. 4, 2019 and close on Jan. 31.
- First-week schedule:
MKE Ankaragucu-Galatasaray at 1845GMT
Caykur Rizespor-Kasimpasa at 1630GMT
Demir Grup Sivasspor-Alanyaspor at 1630GMT
Fenerbahce-Bursaspor at 1845GMT
Medipol Basaksehir-Trabzonspor at 1630GMT
Atiker Konyaspor-Buyuksehir Belediye Erzurumspor at 1630GMT
Besiktas-Akhisarspor at 1845GMT
Goztepe-Yeni Malatyaspor at 1845GMT
Kayserispor-Antalyaspor at 1845GMT
By Can Erozden
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