North Cyprus Football : Late Esentepe Winner Seals Thriller.

By Richard Beale…………


Sunday 3 December 2017 : K-Pet League 1 : Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon on a fairly warm winter’s afternoon. A crowd of around 100 locals and 5 Expats were privileged to witness a very entertaining match between these two old rivals. It was end to end stuff with plenty of goals, near misses and very competitive, with some robust challenges put in by both teams.


Esentepe should have opened the scoring in the 10th minute, when great work by teenager Yakup who cut in from the right before setting up Başak in a great goalscoring position, however the skipper skied his shot over the bar.

Girne Halk Evi (GHE) dangerman Şenol came into the game firing a powerful shot just wide of Esentepe left hand post.

Esentepe had a narrow escape from a double GHE attack, firstly a free kick in a very dangerous position just outside the area, was scrambled away with difficulty for a corner. From that resulting corner another scramble resulted before the ball was finally cleared.

Esentepe hit back with a double strike themselves, this time they won a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the box. Nersin took the kick bending it round the wall, only to see the GHE goalkeeper Athos to take off to his left and push the shot around post with a fine diving save.

The Greek Cypriot keeper was in action again when Hasan Özçelik and Başak combined well giving the former a shooting chance at the near post, only see the keeper react brilliantly to save the Esentepe striker’s shot.

The deadlock was eventually broken in the 32nd minute, when a cross from the right was poorly dealt with by Esentepe defender Hasan, the ball rebounded to Yunus Emre Bozkurt whose shot was parried by goalkeeper Kemal who reacted to the danger quickly only to see the rebound fall to YUNUS EMRE DOĞAN who made no mistake with his shot. 0-1.

Esentepe almost equalised in the 37th minute when from a Mahmut free kick, teenage defender Onur headed wide from a good position.

Esentepe deservedly equalised a minute later when striker Hasan Özçelik was tripped in the box. ESER dispatched the penalty sending the keeper the wrong way. HALF TIME SCORE : 1-1

Esentepe took the lead in the 50th minute with a superbly worked goal. Midfielder Hüseyin sent over a beautiful flighted cross to BAŞAK who headed into the top right of the goal with a well directed header. 2-1.

Esentepe were enjoying their best spell of the match with Hasan Özçelik and Başak combining well together. Başak set up his fellow striking partner only to see his low shot brilliantly turned around the post by the diving Athos.

Emre Soytürk was becoming an influence on the right, overlapping constantly, a great move involving him and Başak saw the speedy full back come into the area before sending over a cross to Hasan Özçelik but from a good position he skied his shot over the bar.

It was end to end stuff and now it was GHE time to take up the baton. Their reward was an equaliser in the 64th minute, following a Şenol corner from the right. The kick was headed out by Başak to the edge of the area to ERDOĞAN to hit a low shot pass an unsighted Kemal. 2-2.

GHE leading goalscorer Şenol had generally been quiet but was now coming more and more into the game as GHE could sense an opportunity of taking all three points.

Şenol set up striker Yankı whose fierce drive was palmed away by the diving Kemal.

Şenol caused panic again cutting in from the right, saw his shot hit Kemal’s shoulder and bounce across the area where thankfully no GHE player could get a touch to it before Turan managed to put the ball out for a corner.

Şenol was desperately unlucky not to have scored in the 72nd minute, when he was put clean through by Yunus Emre Doğan he did the right thing lobbing Kemal as he came out, only to see his effort hit the Esentepe right hand post and bounce harmlessly across the goal.

Esentepe were reeling on the ropes but this team is made of sterner stuff and they have got a little bit of something about them refusing to throw in the towel.

Instead, as it is now becoming a regular habit and nice habit with Esentepe, they fight to the final whistle and it came as no surprise when they managed to score the winner in the 86th minute. Esentepe forced a corner on the left, quick thinking from Başak who made himself available to receive a short corner taken by Burak. Başak gave the ball back to Burak to cross the ball, where it was met at the far post by HASAN ÖZÇELIK with a first time volley to bury the ball into the net. This led to wild celebrations by the players and fans, Hasan found himself booked for celebrating too much after removing his shirt as he ran to his adoring fans. FULL TIME SCORE : 3-2.

PHOTOS :L-R: ‘Man of the Match BAŞAK celebrating – HASAN ÖZÇELİK left celebrating and finally TEAM celebrating.

SUMMING UP : Credit to both teams and Coaches for providing us with some great entertainment. It would have been easy for GHE to shut up shop and be content with a point. Fair play to their Coach Mustafa that’s not the way GHE play, they don’t draw matches then win or lose them.

Esentepe in the last couple of weeks have beaten Maraş, who were in 3rd place, they drew away last week to 2nd place Hamıtköy and on Sunday beat 4th place GHE. This shows character, they have a limited squad but never know when they are beaten.

Esentepe teenage full backs were the pick of the defence. Emre Soytürk is developing with every match, the opposition are frightened by his speed when he overlaps. His fellow defender Onur who is only playing in his 11th match has settled so well into the team and had another steady game. Also 17 year old Yakup showed plenty of promise especially in the first half. I thought Esentepe’s best player was Captain BAŞAK who had his best game of the season. In this match he seemed to have more energy, and thus was able to give more support to striker Hasan Özçelik. He scored one goal and assisted in another and showed plenty of vision.

ESENTEPE TEAM : (4-4-1-1, replacements in brackets, marks out of 10)

Kemal (gk) 6 : Emre 7, Hasan Sungar 6, Nersin 6, Onur 7 : Yakup 7 (Turan 70 mins), Hüseyin 7 ( Burak 75), Mahmut 6, Eser 6 : BAŞAK (c)8, Hasan Özçelik 7

Replacements not used : Huseyin Ikinci (gk), Asil Arif.


Athos (gk) : Mahmut Erkan (Halil 56), Yunus Bozkurt, Salahı, Ertan, YUNUS EMRE DOĞAN Bathuhan, Gökan (Ibrahım 56), Yankı,( Tolgahan 80), Şenol, Erdoğan.

Referee : Timur Ercan Bodi – excellent.

YELLOW CARDS : ESENTEPE : Hasan Sungur, Mahmut, Başak, Hasan Özçelik.


Saturday 9 December : ko 2-000pm : Değirmenlik Sadik Cemil Stadium.