By Richard Beale……
Preview : OZANKÖY SK v ESENTEPE KKSK.
Sunday 29 January : k.o.2-30pm : K-Pet League 1 Beyaz Group : Ozanköy Mustafa Özkayim Stadium.
Without doubt the “match of the day” on Sunday is the top of the table clash between the white group 1 and 2 teams. Ozanköy occupy the top spot on 26 points followed by Esentepe on 22 points.
A win for Ozanköy will stretch their lead to be into a very comfortable position, while a win for Esentepe will reduce the gap to 1 point. This is a match that Esentepe cannot afford to lose.
This match is classified as a ‘derby match‘, with both sides being well supported by noisy and partizan fans. The Mustafa Özkayim Stadium is a small compact ground with a noticeable slope running from one end to the other. With the heavy rain on Friday, this will make conditions very heavy adding to the intrigue of the match. If you have never experienced a football match in North Cyprus then this is one to choose as it surely will be full of blood and thunder on the pitch, probably off it as well!
Ozanköy have lead the division from early on in season, they are the best team I have seen and are worthy leaders. Just before the transfer deadline door closed early this week they made a record signing by bringing in a proven goalscorer Burak Koçar. He was transferred from Supa League Club Lefke and has scored goals all of his career mostly in the top division. He will form a formidable partnership with another prolific scorer Bekir Yildiz. I think this is where the game will be won or lost, the battle between these two strikers and Esentepe defenders Nersin and Firat. Ozankoy will be without Mehmet Kanat who having reached 4 yellow cards sits this game out.
Ozanköy new striker Burak Koçar-Co striker Bekir Yildiz
The same can be said for Esentepe’s midfielder Hüseyin Ermiş just back from suspension last week, unfortunately for him he picked up his 4th yellow card after being booked against Bostancı.
Esentepe may also be without another influential player Uğurcan who went off against Bostancı with a hamstring injury.
Earlier in the season at Esentepe the teams fought out a 1-1 draw, with Ozanköy going ahead following a controversial penalty from Bekir. Esentepe equalised with a wonder strike from Eser in the 68th minute.
Ozanköy and Esentepe have only been beaten once this season, surprisingly by the same team Doganci.
TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE : (recent matches at Ozanköy)
Season 2011-12 : Ozanköy 1 Esentepe 2 (Burak, Mumin).
Season 2012-13 : Ozanköy 3 Esentepe 3 (Burak, Başak 2).
Season 2013-14 : Ozanköy 0 Esentepe 2.
A controversial match a typical derby game Esentepe took the lead in the 71st minute through Başak, who looked clearly offside. The goal was allowed and resulted in Ozanköy players surrounding and pushing the officials. The crowd also got involved and the Ozanköy Coach ended up being red carded. Deniz made the game safe for Esentepe in injury time (95 mins). After the match there were further crowd disturbances, not for the faint hearted these Derby matches! Match played on 15/2/2014. Ozanköy would be relegated at the end of season.
ESENTEPE TEAM :(4-4-2)
Ali (gk) : Mahmut, Berkan, Sergen, Emek : Kaan (Umar 80), İlyas, Vurkan, Burak (Aras 55) : Eser (Deniz 55), Başak :.
CURRENT FORM : (recent matches first)
OZANKÖY : DWWWWW : ESENTEPE : DWWLDD.
EXPERT PREDICTIONS : 2 jags 2-1 Esentepe win : Pixie : 2-0 Esentepe win : Pothole Pete : 2-1 Ozanköy win : Burl Ives :2-1 Ozanköy win.
Sabrerich : 1-1 draw. The Ozanköy Stadium is normally a lucky ground for Esentepe, I have never seen them lose their. Ozanköy will be formidable opposition, but saying that Esentepe play better away from home.
DIRECTIONS TO GROUND :
Best to go through the Lemar car park at Karakum , turn left onto the Bellapaıs Road and keep going up to the roundabout (by the University that has the Tower Bridge outside it). The ground is on the left on the roundabout, car parking outside the ground and also inside it.