By Richard Beale …….
Saturday April 6
Destination : Lefkoşa
To watch two potentially cracking football matches.
Studying the Local Football Fixtures in the Cyprusscene E-Newspaper two outstanding matches both being played in Lefkoşa stood out. The BTM Play Off Final between Dörtyol and Karaoğlanoğlu, where the winners would be promoted to the K-Pet League 1.
Then in the afternoon a real crunch match between the current Champions and Super League leaders Yenicamı and second placed Mağusa Türk Gücü, the two biggest clubs in the land.
FIRST MATCH : DÖRTYOL SK 2 KARAOĞLANOĞLU SK 0
This match was played at the Şht Hüseyin Ruso Stadium, inside the arena it was a sea of colour, green/white for Dörtyol and navy blue/purple for Karaoğlanoğlu.
The atmosphere generated by both sets of fans was electric, especially from Dörtyol, drummers banging their drums keeping up a non stop rhythm. Probably in the ground were approximately 3500 Spectators.
Dörtyol fantastic supporters.
I must admit I have a soft spot for Dörtyol (that’s the village you pass through on the way to the Pyle border crossing), I have watched them around 5 of their matches this season and have been impressed by the team and their enthusiastic supporters. Their Stadium is quite new and they have a thriving football academy for their teenagers and younger children.
It’s a young vıbrant village, they always make me feel welcome, never havıng to pay for coffee or water. “Mr Richard” they say ‘take my photo please’ is a common request which I am always happy to oblige.
Back to the match Dörtyol were the better team in the first half and went into the interval deservedly 1-0 up thanks to a goal direct from a free kick from their leading goalscorer AYBERK PAYAŞ.
Karaoğlanoğlu upped their game in the second half, as Dörtyol appeared to tire in the sultry conditions and they equalised in the 76th minute with a goal from SEZER TOKBAŞ.
It looked like the game would go into extra time and possibly penalties until substitute DOĞAN ÖZTÜRK converted a left wing cross 3 minutes from time,
Then the final whistle, pandemonium as Dörtyol fans climbed the fences to join in the celebrations with their jubilant team.
Magical moments like this do not happen often to smaller teams, I will never forget the happy memories, the smiling faces, shaking hands and back slapping. It was a privilege to be part of this happy occasion taking photographs.
Jubilant Dörtyol team and supporters celebrate
For Karaoğlanoğlu to lose a “Play Out Final” is heartbreaking, their season started in December and finished on such a sad note in April with nothing to show for it. They probably have only themselves to blame as they led their League for most of the season, only to lose their last two matches and allow Lapta to pip them as Champions.
I really look forward to seeing Dörtyol and their tremendous supporters in League 1 next season, they are a credit to their village.
I left the Stadium in a very happy mood, just had time to visit one of our regular “pre match” kebab shops which was in Hamıtköy. As usual my Chicken doner kebab was delicious, washed down by a couple of cups of Ayran (note not beer!)
My second match of the day was at the Lefkoşa Atatürk Stadium. I have never seen this Stadium, which has a capacity of 28,000, so full as it was on Saturday afternoon. Hard to estimate the size of the crowd around 8500-10,000, but again what a terrific atmosphere created by both sets of supporters.. Flags and banners waving, fans decked out in their respective teams colours, loud patriotic music being played. Also at the match were various dignitaries who sat themselves in the VIP section. The match was also being shown live on BRT Television, and a couple of “drones” flew overhead filming the proceedings.
Result : YENİCAMI AK 3 MAĞUSA TÜRK GÜCÜ 3.
Yenicamı and Mağusa Türk Gücü supporters pack te Atatürk Stadium
As you cam imagine from that scoreline the match lived up to expectations. It was fast, frantic and played at a furious pace. Mağusa Türk Gücu (MTG) settled quickly and took the lead in the 7th minute through their Nigerian striker EBIMOBOWEI PETER. Like true Champions Yenicamı came storming back and finished the first half well on top leading 3-1. Goals from their Captain UNAL (22), KENNETH NGWOKE (35) and a penalty from MEHMET ALTIN (37) looked liked it would be a comfortable win for the YAK. (Yenicamı nickname).
They also dominated the early stages of the second half and should have had the game completely sewn up, but John Ebuka missed a penalty for them.
This gave MTG the initiative to take the game by the “scruff of the neck” and they squared the match to 3-3 with another goal from EBIMOBOWEI PETER (69) and SADIK BALARABE equalised for them in the 75th minute.
Match action Yenicamı ın the black and white strip
After that it was all MTG, Yenicamı were lucky to survive a handball decision and they were hanging on for dear life in the end. A terrific match which in the end was a fair result.
SUMMING UP : Two great matches which were a splendid advertisement for TRNC football. I am so glad that I made the effort to go and watch – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.