North Cyprus Football : A Captain’s Innings

By Richard Beale……..


Esentepe Captain Başak Tümkan was the hero for Esentepe scoring a brace of goals, one from the penalty spot to overcome a stubborn Bostancı Bağcil team. It could have been a lot different for the visitors trailing 1-0 when they missed a penalty in the 75th minute which would have given them probably a deserved point .


Saturday 16 December 2017 : K-Pet League 1 : Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.

With other results going their way, Esentepe now unbeaten for 7 matches have climbed into second place behind runaway leaders Gönyeli. As expected the visitors who have conceded only 8 goals in 12 matches parked their bus in front of their goal. Bostancı Bağcil (B.Bağcil) proved difficult opposition with a number of their players being tall and very physical.

On a mild afternoon, the weather cloudy with sunny intervals the match attracted a local attendance of around 100 with 4 Ex Pats.


The visitors in the opening 20 minutes were quite dominant but were restricted to mainly long range efforts outside the box which sailed harmlessly over the bar.

Esentepe were denied a clear penalty in the 22nd minute when Esentepe striker Hasan Özçelik was clearly brought down by B.Bağcil defender Issac. Despite strong appeals from Esentepe players and spectators referee Hasan Eriş was unmoved.

Esentepe gradually found their form and in the 28th minute Eser sent over a great cross to the near post where the Bağcil keeper Ahmet just managed to get a hand to the ball in front of Hasan Özçelik.

Esentepe didn’t have to wait long before taking the lead in the 32nd minute when they were awarded this time a penalty from an Ahmet free kick, an Esentepe player was allegedly pushed. Captain BAŞAK duly obliged with the penalty which was struck fiercely going into the net off the underside of the bar. 1-0.

Esentepe goalkeeper Kemal was in action when Serhan and Bilal combined before the latter sent over a dangerous cross that was fielded by Kemal just in front of Cenker.

Esentepe went straight down the other end firstly in the 37nd minute a great cross from Ahmet was just in front of Hasan Özçelik, Bagcil goalkeeper Ahmet did well to push the cross out for a corner.

Another break from Esentepe Onur saw the teenager break into the box only to be denied by a last ditch tackle from Issac.

Esentepe just about deserved their half time lead. HALF TIME SCORE : 1-0.

There was a quiet start to the second half, but the visitors were getting plenty of possession with Esentepe finding it difficult to raise their tempo. The home side seemed content to sit back on their lead which to me seemed a very dangerous game to be playing.

B.Bağcil top scorer Serhan fired over from a good position in the 71st minute as the visitors kept pressing for the equaliser.

Bostancı had what looked like a handball by Hasan Sungar from an Armstrong cross not spotted by the referee.

However a minute later Bilal was in possession in the area shadowed by Esentepe’s Onur, the defender put in what looked like an innocuous tackle which saw Bilal fall to the ground.

The referee pointed to the spot despite Esentepe appeals ending up with Nersin and Eser being booked. Cenker took the penalty sending Kemal the wrong way only to see his effort hit the post and the rebound hacked away for a corner, a real let off for Esentepe.

Bağcil continued to dominate from a Serhan free kick, the lanky Armstrong got in a header that had Kemal diving across his goal to save.

At last Esentepe woke up from their sluggishness and had a purple 5 minute patch.

82nd minute intelligent build up play from Başak gave Eser a shooting chance on the left, but goalkeeper Ahmet got down to push his shot away for a corner.

From that corner taken by Mahmut this time Eser at the far post saw his shot headed over his own bar by Firtina.

Esentepe purple patch ended when they scored a beautifully taken second goal in the 84th minute to finally break B. Bağcil resistance. Hasan Özçelik picking up the ball on the half way line laid a “perfect“ pass out to the overlapping Mahmut who sent over a “perfect” cross to BAŞAK to send a “perfect” header into the near corner for a “perfect” goal. 2-0.

Hasan Özçelik nearly added a third deep into injury time fastening onto a “perfect” through ball from Başak, normally the Esentepe striker would have buried the chance, but B.Bağcil keeper Ahmet managed to push Hasan’s effort away. FULL TIME SCORE : 3-0.


SUMMING UP : It could have been so different if Bağcil penalty had gone in as the visitors were dominating the opening period of the second half, spraying the ball around with some aplomb. But Esentepe these days are made of sterner snuff and roused themselves to score the killer second goal. Bağcil had some tall and powerful players and I should imagine on their home territory will be formidable opponents.

Esentepe defence snuffed out the threat of Serkan who had scored 6 of Bağcil 10 goals this season. Up front loan striker Hasan Özçelik worked tirelessly and was always a threat. Mahmut in midfield had another fine match with a goal assist for Esentepe second goal. BAŞAK scorer of 2 goals led his team well and had a fine all round match.

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

Kemal (gk) 7 : Emre 7, Nersin 7, Hasan Sungur 7, Onur 7 : Ahmet 6 ( Muhammed 80 mins), İsmail 6 (Yakup 73 mins), Mahmut 8, Eser 6 : BAŞAK 8.5 : Hasan Özçelik 7.

Esentepe replacements not used : Hüseyin Ikinci (gk), Asil Arif, Hüseyin Ermiş.

BOSTANCI BAĞCİL : Ahmet Vatansever (gk): Ahmet Zaifoğlu, (Ercan 80), Mehmet Cağan (Cemil 70), ISAAC : Armstrong, Firtina, Hüseyin, Cenker : Berkem (Zeki 80), Serhan, Bilal.

Referee : Hasan Eriş – poor.

Yellow cards : ESENTEPE : İsmail, Eser, Nersin. BOSTANCI BAĞCİL : Serhan.

ESENTEPE NEXT MATCH : Saturday 23rd December : ko 2-00pm : AWAY


Video highlights of the Esentepe KKSK v Bostanci Bağcil match by Graham Procter-Brown