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North Cyprus Football : A Game Of Two Halves !

By Richard Beale…………

To quote the old football cliché this match was literally a game of “two halves”. Dumlupınar needing a win to keep their promotion “play off” hopes alive were certainly “up for it” in the first half leading 1-0.

Don’t know what was said in Esentepe dressing room during the break, but a different home team took to the field and they dominated the second half, and came from behind to take 3 more points. Esentepe remain 16 games unbeaten and further secured their League leader position, putting more pressure on their rivals.

Result : ESENTEPE KKSK 2 DUMLUPINAR TSK 1

Saturday 17th March, 2018 : K-Pet League 1 : Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.

The first half largely saw Dumlupınar take the game to Esentepe, with the home side looking strangely subdued. Dumlupınar were closing down well giving Esentepe no time on the ball and really it came as no surprise that the visitors took the lead in the 20th minute. Dumlupınar right winger Umit weaved his way into the Esentepe area, before crossing into the goal area. The ball was partially cleared to Can who was running away from the goal chasing the ball, he was tackled from behind by Hasan went to ground and referee Serhan awarded a penalty despite protests from Esentepe players. Up stepped MEHMET to score from the spot, Esentepe Goalkeeper Kemal managed to get a hand to the ball, but unable to prevent it from crossing the line. 0-1.

Esentepe continued to look “off the pace”, Dumlupınar bench and Coaching staff were very vocal encouraging their team along with their small band of supporters. In contrast the Esentepe bench was silent and their supporters quiet. It felt like Esentepe were “waiting for something to happen” rather than “making it happen. HALF TIME SCORE : 0-1

In the 55th minute Esentepe had a good chance to equalise when Eser had a clear chance but his shot was blocked by the advancing Dumlupınar goalkeeper Onurhan. Then from a Burak cross Başak headed narrowly over.

At last it seemed Esentepe had woken up from their slumbers, they began to win tackles and harry Dumlupınar into making mistakes.

Esentepe forced 3 corners in quick succession the last of them Ahmet headed over the bar.

Dumlupınar were still dangerous on the break and veteran substitute Adem, weaved his way pass 3 defenders inside the box, but home keeper Kemal came out quickly to block his shot for a corner.

Urged on now by the home support, Esentepe were piling on the pressure Yakup won the ball with a crunching tackle before sending over a cross that Eser headed just wide.

More action photos with Esentepe Man of the Match and scorer ŞAHIN SEKER celebrating (2nd from left)

At last Esentepe’s second half efforts were rewarded when they equalised in the 74th minute.

An Ismail Aslan free kick to the far post was headed back again by Eser to ŞAHIN SEKER who hit an unstoppable volley past Onurhan. This was defender’s Şahin’s 3rd goal of the season. 1-1.

Esentepe were now playing like League leaders as they launched wave after wave of attacks, with the home supporters now right behind their team.

They took the lead in the 81st minute when an attack was only cleared to the edge of the box to ISMAIL ASLAN who hit a powerful shot to beat Onurhan diving to his right. 2-1.

Dumlupınar made a spirited effort to salvage the match, but found the Esentepe defence and goalkeeper Kemal in no mood to give away any gifts. FULL TIME SCORE : 2-1

SUMMING UP

This may well be Esentepe’s year, they were not at their best and not at the races in the first half. But after the break they showed character and spirit to grind another vital win. In the end they just about deserved the victory, Dumlupınar were a very able team, only lacking in their finishing. This match was the first of 3 very important matches. 3 points in the bag, as the next matches are against 5th place Maraş (away) and then 3rd place Hamitköy (home).

Home keeper Kemal had a very sound game as did teenager Yakup who was everywhere in central midfield. Ismail Aslan scorer of Esentepe’s second goal impressed and is becoming a vital cog in the team.

My “Man of the Match” was defender ŞAHIN SEKER who capped another fine wholehearted performance with a fine goal. He is a fearsome competitor, good in the air for one so small, strong in the tackle he will run through a brick wall for you if asked and symbolises what this team is all about.

Video highlights of the Esentepe KKSK v Dumlupinar TSK match

by Graham Procter-Brown