By Richard Beale ……..
A battling second half performance from Esentepe after being 2-1 down at half time, gave Esentepe 3 more invaluable points that enables “the great escape” to become more of a reality.
Result : KÜÇÜK KAYMAKLI TSK 2 ESENTEPE KKSK 3
Saturday March 30 2019: K-Pet Super League : Lefkoşa Şht Hüseyin Ruso Stadium
Esentepe have climbed to 14th position in the League table and more importantly are 5 points further away from the 2 automatic relegation places.
Since taking over at the beginning of the year Coach Hüseyin Çağer has overseen a remarkable transformation of Esentepe fortunes, they are playing with so much confidence and belief and that “never say die” team spirit is back again. The “great escape” via the relegation play-outs continues to grow, is that Steve McQueen on a motorbike coming over the hill I can see!
It was a horrendous journey on Saturday lunchtime through torrential rain and floods to reach central Lefkoşa. The big surprise when eventually arriving at our destination we found it was bone dry! Having our usual kebab before the match the cafe owner did say rain was coming and it sure did soon as the match kicked off at 2-30pm. My God did it rain, the heavens opened up and the match was played entirely in torrential rain, which miraculously stopped at the final whistle. The Şht Hüseyin Ruso pitch was in excellent condition and soaked up most of the downpour, it only started to become waterlogged in the final 20 minutes.
The surface however was very greasy and defenders found it difficult to turn and both goalkeepers found trying to catch the ball was like holding a bar of soap.
I applaud both sets of players in providing us with great entertainment in such inclement conditions, that had a feel of watching a game in the UK on a cold January winter’s afternoon.
The K. Kaymaklı fans were in fine voice, creating a noisy atmosphere beating drums, waving flags and lighting flares. They had plenty to cheer about as their team dominated the opening exchanges.
“Slip sliding away” Küçük Kaymaklı (black strip) and Esentepe players try to keep on their feet in greasy conditions
MATCH NOTES :
10 mins : Those drums were banging ever louder when K. Kaymaklı (nicknamed Forest) took the lead following slack Esentepe marking. With defenders holding off, Berkem on the right spotted an unmarked MUHAMMED NALIK who had time to turn and spotting goalkeeper Onur slightly off his line sent a curled shot over a despairing goalkeeper.1-0
21 mins : Esentepe nearly equalised following a corner that was cleared out of the area to Şahin. The Esentepe Captain was meant to send the ball back into the area, but as he kicked the ball he slipped, instead of a cross it ended up as a shot that just cleared the Forest crossbar, with goalkeeper Efe looking on apprehensively.
25 mins : An Esentepe equaliser all down to teenager Sükrü’s persistence in not giving up a lost cause. Chasing a Yakup pass on the right it looked like K. Kaymaklı defender Sena would shepherd the ball out of play. Sükrü had other ideas robbing the defender before squaring a pass to JUNIOR who did well under pressure to squeeze in a shot that was deflected into the net off the goalkeeper 1-1
37 mins : It was that man MUHAMMED NALIK who restored the Forest lead direct from a free kick just outside the box. Again he beat Onur at his far post the ball dipping in the net between the angle of the crossbar and far post. 2-1.
45 mins : Esentepe were denied a penalty when again Sükrü robbed defender Sena who thought the ball was going out, the Esentepe rising star cut into the box and was tripped by Sena, but referee Fehmı Dayı waved away Esentepe appeals for a penalty. HALF TIME SCORE : 2-1
K. Kaymaklı were probably good value for their half time lead, the rain continued to hammer down and Esentepe suffered a hammer blow to themselves when Kaan who had sustained a shoulder injury in the first half, was unable to continue and was replaced by Ahmet in the 57th minute.
67 mins : Junior should have put through Sükrü, but delivered a poor ball to the teenager, who recovered and in turn gave Junior a chance, but the Cameroon striker’s shot was deflected for a corner by the onrushing Efe.
69 mins : The goalkeeper rescued K. Kaymaklı again as he came quickly to smother Sükrü’s effort at the near post.
Esentepe were now dominating the match launching wave after wave of attacks and got their just rewards when they equalised in the 76th minute. Mahmut crossed from the right finding Junior who flicked the ball onto EFOSA who beat goalkeeper Efe with a right footed shot that looped into the net. 2-2.
Right photo -EFOSA surrounded by teammates after scoring Esentepe second goal.
To make it worse for K. Kaymaklı their defender Taner must have said something to the referee and was given a second yellow card which resulted in him being sent off.
K. Kaymaklı drums had now fallen silent it was the Esentepe fans now who were making their presence felt urging their team on in the driving rain.
The K.Kaymaklı team looked a bedraggled lot now, it was all Esentepe and they scored the winner in the 82nd minute when Junior was involved again, crossing to the far post where Şahin and YAKUP were stationed, it looked like Şahin had prodded the ball home but YAKUP must have got a last touch to it as he was credited with the goal.
FULL TIME SCORE : 2-3
Match highlights video courtesy of Graham Procter-Brown