Stalemate! We do it all again on Sunday

By Richard Beale …….

The match that decides whether it will be Esentepe or Binatlı playing Super League football next season, ended in stalemate, after all the hype and expectations the match turned out to be a damp squib that will need a replay on Sunday.


Thursday May 23rd, 2019: K-Pet Super League Play Off Final : Lefkoşa Sht Hüseyin Ruso Stadium.

Both teams finished the League season on the same number of points, the same goal difference and likewise in the “play off” table. So a 0-0 would be the most predictable result, both teams are similar, there is very little that separates them.

The Hüseyin Ruso Stadium was packed on a warm, humid evening and expectations were high, both sets of supporters had a bravado about them, which covered up what would happen to the losers of this match.

The spectators were similar to the Euro elections currently being held in the UK at present. On the right we had the Binatlı supporters, reserved, quietly confident, the Establishment. On the left we had Esentepe, or Nigel Farage Brit Ex Party, noisy, colourful, full of swagger, letting off of firecrackers and flares, they wanted to cause an upset. Full marks to them they did the village proud singing, banging on drums encouraging their team on to greater things.

Shame that the match didn’t live up to expectations, both sets of players gave everything they had, but they simply cancelled each other out, the occasion and consequences were bigger than them.

Match action Esentepe are in the red strip

Binatlı had the better of the first half, though they failed to create any real chances, their shots were either off target or Esentepe goalkeeper Onur dealt comfortably with any shots that were on target. As an attacking force Esentepe were non- existent, danger man Junior was well shackled by Rahmı and the Binatlı Captain Abdullah.

The midfield was very congested with Esentepe’s Hüseyin and Vurkan working hard defensively to nullify the game’s most creative midfield player Binatlı’s Muhamer Tip.

At the beginning of the second half Esentepe had their best chances of the match, in the 50th minute Junior at last evaded his keepers making a surging run into the Binatlı box, only to see his shot blocked by a combination of goalkeeper Salıh and a defender.

In the 55th minute Esentepe came even closer to scoring when big central defender Hasan sent a glancing header just wide from a Mahmut corner.

Binatlı’s Brazilian winger Paulo dos Santos was causing all sorts of problems to Esentepe left back Uğurcan. Both players were having a right old tussle with neither footballer giving an inch. Uğurcan normally overlaps regularly to help his attack, but in this match he was unable to do so. At times Esentepe winger Efosa had to come to assist the overworked Esentepe defender which in turn resulted in the Binatlı right back Yunus overlapping himself!

Esentepe gamble of playing Goalkeeper Onur who is carrying an injury failed as in the 83rd minute he aggravated the injury and was replaced by Ali Karal.

The experienced Ali was immediately brought into action in the 70th minute making the save of the match leaping to his left to push an angled drive from Dos Santos round the post.

Right photo: replacement Goalkeeper ALI KARAL making the save of the match from a shot from Dos Santos

With the humid conditions sapping the players energy the game petered out into a disappointing scoreless draw – an anticlimax for such a big occasion.

With there being no extra time or penalties, the teams must replay again, this time on Sunday May 26, kick off 7.00pm at Girne 20 Temmuz Mete Adanır Stadium.

Both Captains, Esentepe’s ŞAHIN ŞEKER and Binatlı ABDULLAH UMUT were their teams outstanding players, both had strong defensive games and led their teams by example.

At least for Sunday’s match Esentepe will be strengthened with the return of their talisman Kaan who has missed the last 2 matches through suspension.