Entertainment

North Cyprus Football : A poor match, but 3 priceless points were gained.

By Richard Beale……..

Esentepe strengthened their position as Leaders of League 1, when they ground out a result and earned 3 valuable points in a forgettable match against “Play Off” hopefuls Göçmenköy. With fellow promotion rivals Maraş and Dumlupinar losing, it turned out to be a very good day indeed for Esentepe.

Result : ESENTEPE KKSK 2 GÖÇMENKÖY IYSK 0

Saturday March 3rd 2018 : K-Pet League 1: Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.

Whereas last week’s match against Gönyeli will remain in my mind for many a year, Saturday’s match will be easy forgotten but for the fact that another 3 points were grounded out to help Esentepe’s quest for the Holy Grail of Super League football.

I have still have a stiff neck from watching the ball which resembled a tennis match for long periods as the ball was continuously booted in the air by both defences. The midfield was congested and from a spectator point of view it was poor fare. However Esentepe at this stage of the season are not in the entertainment business it’s all about points, points and points.

On a mild spring afternoon a larger than normal crowd were present, which included a number of Expats which was very pleasing.

In a poor opening exchange, both teams were very cagey, obviously Göçmenköy came with a game plan to pack their defence and rely on breakaways. Göçmenköy forced a corner in the 21st minute taken by Kadir. The corner went to the Esentepe far post where it was headed back across goal to Suat who manage to back head the ball goalwards but Esentepe Mahmut managed to clear the ball on his own goal-line.

Esentepe replied following a great run from Ahmet who got into the box sending over a cross to the far post where Eser volleyed over from an acute angle.

Esentepe were awarded a controversial penalty in the 36th minute when defender Mustafa fell over just inside the box, as he fell he made contact with the ball with his arm. Göçmenköy argued strongly that Mustafa initially fell over outside the box. Başak’s powerfully struck penalty was brilliantly saved by Ozan flinging himself to his right to parry the shot.

Esentepe eventually took the lead in the 43rd minute when from an Ismaıl corner defender ŞAHIN up for the corner managed to bundle the ball in, I think off his ample chest. Göçmenköy protested strongly that Şahin had put the ball in with his hand. The game was held up as players and referee Timur Bodi  continued to argue but the goal stood. 1-0.

A minute later following a foul near the touchline both sets of players were involved in scuffles and heated arguments as the referee blew to end a bad tempered half. HALF TIME SCORE : 1-0,

Göçmenköy now forced to come out of their defensive strategy had a half chance in the 52nd  minute when Barkin broke into the box only to be denied by a superb blocking tackle by Şahin.

Esentepe increased their lead in the 54th minute with an another fortuitous goal from ISMAIL ASLAN. The midfielder tried a shot from just outside the box which should have been gathered easily by goalkeeper Ozan. However whether the goalkeeper took his eyes off the ball at the last minute, the ball somehow went through his arms and into the net. 2-0.

With Göçmenköy now pushing men upfield this left open spaces which Esentepe began to exploit. Striker Iltay had a volley deflected wide off Beytullah in the 62nd minute and then shortly afterwards following a Mahmut free kick, Esentepe defender Hasan side footed wide.

After that action the match seemed to peter out as Göçmenköy were unable to raise their game and Esentepe were content to play time out. FULL TIME SCORE ; 2-0.

SUMMING UP : This is what managers would call an “ugly win” and it was. A game dominated by two strong defences, with very few chances on offer for the strikers. A valuable win for Esentepe putting more distance between themselves and the chasing pack. It’s hard not to mention the “P” word but with 9 matches left, Esentepe’s destiny is in their own hands.

A hardworking team performance with good contributions from Onur, Mahmut and Ismail. I thought Esentepe’s best player was defender ŞAHIN SEKER who was strong, dependable in defence and a scorer of Esentepe’s first goal.

Next Esentepe match:

Görneç SK v Esentepe KKSK Sat 10th March 3-00PM K-Pet League 1 Görneç Üç Şehitler Stadı

Video highlights of the Esentepe KKSK v Göçmenköy IYSK match by Graham Procter-Brown

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