North Cyprus Football : 3 Points But Esentepe Leave It Late
By Richard Beale……..
A late 88th minute header from Esentepe’s midfielder Ilyas saw Esentepe take 3 points to enable them to leapfrog over Lapta into second place in the League. Esentepe made hard work of overcoming lowly Serdarlı who fought doggedly and deserved a point.
RESULT : SERDARLI GB 0 ESENTEPE KKSK 1.
Serdarlı GB -v- Esentepe KKSK- Match Officials
Saturday January 21 2017 : K-Pet League White Group : Venue : Serdarlı 14 Ağustos Stadi.
On a bright cold winters afternoon Esentepe brought with them a large group of noisy supporters who equaled in numbers the home support. This was the first time that Serdarlı had played at the 14 Ağustos Stadium this season due to resurfacing of the pitch. The pitch was lush in places but dry and uneven.
Serdarlı were out of the traps right from the start and it took a “world class” save from Esentepe’s keeper Ali to prevent the home side from taking the lead after only 2 minutes. A cross was flicked on by Selçuk to Ali Küçkoğlu who looked certain to score until Ali came rushing out of his goal to get down and block the strikers shot.
Serdarlı were looking very lively Ali was allowed to get in a cross from the left and Ahmet volleyed wide of the right hand post.
Serdarlı continued to betray their lowly League position with the tricky Ali and Ahmet linking up well to cause anxiety to Esentepe.
Esentepe as an attacking force were very limited, normally resulting in a long kick from goalkeeper Ali to the ever willing Tacettin to chase, closely shadowed by Serdarlı’s tall defenders Gürbay and Murat.
The closest Esentepe came to scoring was during injury time in the first half following a free kick awarded for handball just outside the box . Eser’s effort just cleared the bar with goalkeeper Cengiz diving frantically to try and save it. HALF TIME :0-0.
In the 46th minute Esentepe were almost gifted a goal when goalkeeper Cengiz fumbled an Eser cross at the near post, where the ever alert Tacettin almost got his foot to it.
Following an Esentepe corner Serdarlı launched a quick breakaway. With Selçuk getting the better of Nersin and seeing goalkeeper Ali out of position fired in a shot which went just wide of the near post.
Esentepe Coach Davut Kansu made a double substitution in the 58th minute hauling off the ineffective Başak and Umar, replacing them with Muhammed and Burak.
Serdarlı continued to impress and another quick breakaway in the 68th minute saw Ali make another fine diving save, pushing Ali Küçukoğlu effort over the bar.
At the last minute with the introduction of fresh legs and Esentepe’s greater fitness levels, the tide began to turn. Emre Soytürk in particular began to stretch the tiring Serdarlı defenders with fast and effective forays on the right. İlyas and Mahmut aided by substitute Burak started to get grips of the midfield. In the 88th minute it was Burak who was the architect of Esentepe’s winning goal cutting in from the right before putting over a tantalising cross which İLYAS dived forward to head past Cengiz. There was a suspicion of offside about the goal with both İlyas and Eser standing in front of the defenders, but SerdarlI’s appeals lacked conviction and the goal stood. As you can imagine this sparked off wild celebrations amongst the Esentepe players and supporters, while the Serdarlı fans, resigned to their fate, were seen trudging off home. FULL TIME : 0-1.
SUMMING UP : Esentepe were not at their best but with a combination of team spirit and inspired substitutions we managed to steal 3 vital points to keep our promotion hopes alive. Esentepe have to thank goalkeeper ALI who made 2 outstanding saves and in general was excellent in dealing with all Serdarlı’s crosses. Big defender Firat was also very impressive in defence. Emre Soytürk, only 18 years old, continues to impress and improve with each game.
Serdarlı are a far better team than their lowly position shows, Esentepe were lucky on the day but we will gladly take the 3 points with open arms.
Esentepe team celebrating – Goalkeeper Ali “Man of the Match”
ESENTEPE TEAM : (4-4-1-1, replacements in brackets, merit marks out of 10)
ALI (gk) 8.5 : Emre 7, Nersin 6, Firat 8, Uğurcan 7 : Umar 5 (Muhammed 58), İlyas 6, Mahmut 6, Eser 6 (Mehmet Bebek 88): Başak 5 ( Burak 58) : Tacettin 6 :
Replacements not used : Tuğrul (gk), Hürkan, Derman, Mustafa.
K-PET LEAGUE 1 WHITE GROUP TABLE TOP 4
P PTS GOAL DIF
1/ Ozanköy 10 25 +16
2/ESENTEPE 10 21 + 9
3/ Lapta 10 20 +8
4/ Girne Halk Evi 10 17 -3
ESENTEPE NEXT MATCHES :
Wednesday January 25th : kick off 2-30pm : HOME v Bostançi Bağcıl : Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.
Sunday January 29th : kick off 2-30pm : Away v Ozanköy SK : Ozanköy Mustafa Özkayim Stadium.
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