Happy days are here again for Esentepe

By Richard Beale …..

Esentepe pulled off the “shock “ result of the season beating third place and one of the biggest clubs in the League Doğan Türk Birliği, this was the equivalent of Manchester United losing at home to Huddersfield.


Saturday March 2, 2019: K-Pet Super League : Girne 20 Temmuz Mete Adanır Stadium

It has been a very difficult season for Esentepe in the Super League this season, results have not gone their way, they have been on the end of some shocking decisions from the officials. Too often we have seen the team give 125% and at the end of the match they have nothing to show for it. We have seen players at the end of the match on their knees their head in their hands with despair and anguish showing on their faces. Not on Saturday evening though, there were smiles, hugs, kisses you name it.  For once Lady Luck shone on them they were given the rub of the green that has deserted them all season.

Esentepe were without their midfield talisman Tidiane Sane, his season finished with a knee injury, they were without their Lionhearted Captain Şahın Şeker missing because of accumulating 4 yellow cards. They were without defender Ahmet Cağer unable to play in this match as he is on loan from Doğan Türk Birliği (DTB).

Coach Hüseyin Cağer could barely scrape together 11 players, he even was forced to hand a 16 year old player from the Under 21 team his senior debut to ŞÜKRÜ HİLMİ ERDOĞAN. Şükrü didn’t let him or the team down he played like an experienced player that has been playing all season.

This was Esentepe’s day, it has been a long time coming and  nothing that DTB could do would spoil the day for the many travelling Esentepe fans, who sang their hearts out supporting and encouraging their team.

DTB will be kicking themselves, how the hell do you get rolled over by a little village team like Esentepe. Quite simply they showed no respect to them, they thought they would just have to turn up, the game was theirs for the taking.

Mind you being Esentepe, life is never easy following them, they lost midfielder Vurkan with a hamstring injury after only 27 minutes, then they lost their main man and two goal striker JUNIOR with a similar injury after 45 minutes.

In the second half they had substitute Muhammed sent off after 60 minutes, meaning for 30 minutes they were down to 10 men, yet Esentepe survived and the League table shows they have an extra 3 points.

Remember the Alamo and Zulu that’s what it was like in the second half as DTB laid siege to Esentepe who had all 10 men back defending desperately flinging their bodies, their heads, and the kitchen sink in the way of everything that DTB could fling at them. When that failed DTB missed chances galore or were thwarted by Esentepe’s giant of a keeper Onur who is only 21 with a handful of senior games behind him, but he is growing in stature and inches with every match.

On another day DTB would have scored a hatful of goals, it was not their day and they have only themselves to blame. Instead of using both wings they resorted to lumping the ball into the middle trying to find their tall strikers and their central defender Kenan who was pushed upfront to supplement the attack. Somehow and I don’t know how Esentepe central defenders HASAN and MUSTAFA KILIÇ managed to get their heads, bodies, and feet to the ball first. DTB became too predictable they forgot to play to their strengths

Two weeks ago when Esentepe lost here against Girne Halk Evi, the playing surface was a paddy field, now the surface was a bog, tacky with heavy cloying mud in places it’s frankly a disgrace to the three teams in Girne that use it.

16 year old ŞÜKRÜ HİLMİ (red) in action for Esentepe and right MAHMUT  about to ticket his opponent

DTB started the match sluggishly and Esentepe took full advantage of that dominating this opening period, this is where I think the home team lost the match.

10 mins ; Esentepe winger Efosa cut inside from the left beat a couple of players before shooting just wide of the DTB far post.

12 mins : Esentepe luck was out again when young Şükrü and Junior combined to set up an opening for Efosa who beat his marker before sending in a shot that hit the DTB near post and rebounded to safety.

14 mins : Esentepe reward for an enterprising opening reaped dividends as they took the lead through their Cameroon International striker JUNIOR. Again Efosa was involved this time he provided the pass that found Junior who rounded the oncoming DTB goalkeeper Dursun before sending in a shot from an acute angle that beat a despairing Kenan lunge before entering the net 0-1

33 mins : Esentepe went further ahead when Şükrü was upending in the box a clear penalty. JUNIOR duly obliged with the penalty beating Dursun to his right. 0-2

38 mins : DTB were awarded a dubious penalty when following a corner from the left there was very minimum contact in the area between Şükrü and Ahmet Sönmez, but the DTB player went to ground and a penalty was awarded. Justice was seemed to be done when Okafor blazed his shot high over the bar.

45 mins : DTB grabbed a lifeline right on the stroke of half time when following a corner from the right Ahmet Sönmez got in a header at the far post that Onur parried only to OKAFOR to prod in. HALF TIME SCORE : 1-2

Esentepe were “under the cosh“ right from the start of the second half as DTB now with the bit between their teeth tore at Esentepe, but the “Scorpions” (Esentepe nickname) had a sting in their tail.

51 mins : Esentepe scored from a breakaway with Junior and Kaan passing to EFOSA who beat two players running on into the box before beating Dursun at the near post with a shot 1-3

57 mins : From a long free kick out on the right taken by Çağrı that bounced in front of Onur hitting the bar before being cleared for a corner.

60 mins: Muhammed on as a replacement had been previously booked made a rash challenge on Aydın, and Referee Turgay Misk had no option but to send him off.

61 mins : From that resulting free kick taken by Serhan the ball was headed at the far post back into the Esentepe area and EKO BARINE prodded it in. 2-3

63 mins: From a 9 header, Esentepe’s Hasan missed the ball which went to Okafor with the goal at his mercy, Onur came out quickly to block the ball, a great save by him.

79 mins: Esentepe broke away and had a golden opportunity to make the game safe when Kaan found Hüseyin who in turn found Uğurcan who had made a great run from defence with only the keeper to beat but he shot weakly at him.

Happy times again JUNIOR (right) and EFOSA (right) celebrate their goals

Esentepe were clinging onto their lead by the skin of their teeth as DTB launched unrelentingly wave after wave of attacks but somehow they survived.

87 mins : DTB were reduced to 10 men themselves when their giant defender Kenan was yellow carded for the second time.

With 8 minutes of extra time being played the DTB storm had floundered onto the Esentepe rock defence and the visitors were able to see out that period with relevant calmness.


Match highlights video courtesy of Graham Proctor-Brown