By Richard Beale ……
An injury time goal from teenager YAKUP ŞEN earned Esentepe a well deserved point in their first match back in the Super League for nine seasons.
Result : ESENTEPE KKSK 1 LEFKE TSK 1
Sunday 23 September, 2018 : K-Pet Super League : Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.
On a warm sunny afternoon a large crowd, with many from Lefke came to watch this opening encounter of the Super League season.
Esentepe are a much changed team from the one that earned them promotion last season with only five players from that team on show today.
Esentepe KKSK v Lefke TSK
Esentepe were indebted to “returning“ goalkeeper Ali Karal for keeping them on level terms in the opening 15 minutes. Firstly he pushed away a snap shot from Botanle and then in the 15th minute the same player let fly with a ferocious shot that was magnificently pushed over the bar by the acrobatic Ali. In between those efforts Botanle also had the ball in the Esentepe net but was adjudged to be ruled offside. Lefke continued to dominate the opening exchanges with Esentepe defenders struggling to deal with the pace of Botanle and winger Candy.
It wasn’t all one way traffic Esentepe had appeals for a penalty turned down when Odi took a tumble inside the box after being tackled by Arif.
Esentepe’s best chance of the half came in the 37th minute when a cross from the left by Edis ended with Ahmet Karal heading just wide.
Lefke were noticeably a yard quicker, but Esentepe with dogged determination were sticking to their task and did well to remain on level terms at the break. HALF TIME :0-0
Action from the match Esentepe are in the dark strip
Lefke made a change during the break bringing on ex- Esentepe striker Deniz Kibar.
Lefke took the lead in the 56th minute, Esentepe defender Şahın was trying to shield the ball which was going out, Semih appeared to push Şahın to the floor and hook the ball across to BOTANLE BIDEMI whose shot took a deflection off an Esentepe defender Mahmut deceiving the already committed Ali. Despite protests from the Esentepe players that Sahin had been fouled referee Utku Hamamcioğlu remained unimpressed. 0-1
Another returning Esentepe “old boy” Kaan entered the arena in the 60th minute to a huge cheer replacing his younger brother Hürkan.
Left midfielder Edis made a run down the left in the 62nd minute cutting inside, by the touch-line before putting in a shot that hit the Lefke near post, which rebounded to safety.
Esentepe were now enjoying their best spell of the match and put together their best move of the match in the 65th minute. Kaan started it in midfield finding the quick silver Ahmet on the right, the winger put over a good cross which was just too far for Odi, but the Nigerian striker managed to turn the ball back to Yakup who sent his shot just wide of the right hand post.
Goalkeeper Ali was in action again in the 80th minute when the dangerous Candy went past Zady and Mahmut before cutting inside the box and his cross shot was just tipped behind for a corner by the Esentepe goalkeeper.
Esentepe were making great efforts to equalise but it looked like Lefke would hang on for a win.
In the 94th minute Esentepe were awarded a free kick taken by goalkeeper Ali, the ball was only partially cleared to Odi who had a shot blocked, the ball rolled to YAKUP ŞEN who drove the ball in, to record his first ever senior goal. 1-1
This led to wild and jubilant celebrations by the Esentepe players and supporters, as their efforts were finally rewarded. FULL TIME SCORE : 1-1
SUMMING UP: A thoroughly entertaining match and in the end a fair result. Lefke won the first half, but Esentepe’s hard work was rewarded in the second half and they deserved to equalise. Lefke have some skilful and technically good players noticeably their African players Butanle and Candy, but on their day Esentepe are quite capable of beating teams like these.
What is noticeable in the Super League is the pace and tempo of the play, Esentepe will have to match this as they did today but it took a super human effort to do this. Whether they can do it every match remains to be seen.
With 6 new players it will take time for the team to gel and settle, it was a determined and hardworking team performance. The defence, with goalkeeper Ali looked strong and the midfield competed well. I think Esentepe problems will be up front who will score goals for them? they have only two forwards on their books. Hürkan is young and inexperienced and still learning his trade, and Odi was well marshalled by the Lefke defenders.
My man of the match was goalkeeper ALI KARAL whose saves early in the first half kept them in the game, we could easily have been 0-2 down and then it might have been a different story.
Welcome back to Graham Procter-Brown who brings us his first match video of the season of Esentepe KKSK v LefkeTSK