North Cyprus Football : A Tale Of Two Halves
By Richard Beale….
Result : Esentepe KKSK 2 Tatlisu Hosk 0.
Unbeaten Esentepe remain at the top of the table, but Tatlisu gave Esentepe their sternest test so far this season. In the first half Esentepe produced some breathtaking football, deservedly going into the break 2-0 up. In the second half, it was a different story with nothing to lose, Tatlisu produced a brave comeback and it was Esentepe, reduced to 10 men after a sending off, who were thankful to hear the referee’s whistle in the end. With Esentepe doing so well another large crowd was attracted to the Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium, Tatlisu themselves brought along a band of supporters who were very noisy and encouraging to their team. Esentepe were forced to make one change to their starting eleven with Umar missing with a back injury, he was replaced by 17 year old Emre Soytürk making his first full appearance of the season.
The game opened brightly with Başak sending a glancing header just wide after only 3 minutes. Tatlisu not to be outdone came close when midfielder Gökhan volleyed just over the Esentepe bar. Tatlisu defence had at least three defenders who were well over 6ft tall and were Captained by Ex-Esentepe player Hasan Özgür.
Esentepe took the lead in the 10th minute after a fine move. Hüseyin playing more as an attacking midfielder found Başak, who cleverly crossed to the near post for leading goalscorer TACETTIN KÖSE to prod in at the near post. 1-0.
4 minutes later it was 2-0, as Tatlisu conceded a sloppy goal. Hasan Özgür was caught in possession, and the combination of Başak and Tacettin provided a opening for ESER to sweep past Onurhan in the Tatlisu goal. 2-0.
Esentepe were playing some of their best football of the season, Tatlisu had no answer to them, as time and time again they were harassed into making silly schoolboy errors.
However in the 27th minute Esentepe were fortunate not to concede a penalty as Aytun got the better of Uğurcan. The Tatlisu player appeared to have his legs taken away from him, but referee Utku was not convinced, a lucky let off as we have seen penalties given for much less in the past.
Esentepe continued to impress with Hüseyin having a fine match in midfield, fired over the bar after good work by Tacettin.
Just before the break Esentepe nearly increased their lead, when Tacettin beautifully lost his marker and put in a chip shot just over Onurhan’s bar.
Esentepe first half display was a joy to watch, playing without “shackles”, and enjoying a freedom not seen over recent seasons. HALF TIME :2-0.
Tatlisu made a change during the interval replacing Hasan who had a miserable return to “his old hunting ground”. Tatlisu with nothing to lose started pushing men forward and Esentepe were playing far too deep inviting trouble. Tatlisu had an offside goal disallowed in the 57th minute and the warning signs were definitely on the wall.. Urged on by their tenacious and combative midfielder Gökhan they started dictate play. Gökhan tried an ambitious overhead kick, which just fell in front of unmarked striker Sarro.
To increase the pressure on Esentepe in the 71st minute they lost Emre Soytürk red carded for a second offence following a high challenge. Emre had earlier been booked for dissent.
Esentepe were coming under intense pressure and were forced to make hurried clearances in front of their keeper Ali. Esentepe’s defender Firat miss headed onto his own crossbar as Esentepe continued to ride their luck. Esentepe were hanging on for dear life in the end, but you just thought it may be their day.
Deep into injury time Ali at last had to make a save, doing well to keep out a near post header to keep his goal intact. FULL TIME : 2-0.
SUMMING UP :
Tatlisu were unlucky not to have at least scored a goal, Esentepe survived a thorough examination. But they remain League leaders, and now only having conceded one goal from a dubious penalty. We rode our luck at times but during the course of the season Lady luck will desert us at some stage. You cannot take away the performance in the first half, they are playing with so much confidence and are enjoying their football. Even when they were up against it in the second half, their team spirit and togetherness shone through. There were many fine performances from Tacettin, Uğurcan, İlyas and Eser but HÜSEYIN outshone them all with another intelligent performance
ESENTEPE TEAM : (4-4-2), replacements in brackets, merit marks out of 10).
Ali (gk) 7 : Muhammed 7, Nersin 7, Firat 7, Ugurcan 7 : Emre Soytürk 6, İlyas 7, HÜSEYIN 8, ESER 7 (Mehmet Bebek 87) : Başak 7 (Emrah 75), Tacettin 7 (Burak 90) :
Replacements not used : Tuğrul (gk), Reşat, Derman, Asil :
ESENTEPE NEXT MATCH ;
Saturday November 19th : kick off 2-30pm : Away v Karşiyaka SK : Venue : Karşiyaka Stadium.
PLEASE COME ALONG AND SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FOOTBALL TEAM.