Ali and Salih’s army keeps rolling on!

By Richard Beale …..

Esentepe provided the shock of the day and one of the shocks of the season, beating high flying Dumlupınar to make it 5 unbeaten games for the new Coaching duo of Ali Kanliı and Salih Özbir.


Saturday, December 21, 2019: K-Pet League 1 : Famagusta Dr Fazil Küçük Stadium.

Second place Dumlupınar were brought down to earth with a battling performance by unfancied Esentepe who signed off the first half of the season by grabbing all 3 points with a 90 minute winner. Dumlupınar who have only conceded 2 goals in 14 matches, an amazing achievement had that virtually impregnable defence breech twice by the visitors. Dumlupınar have now lost 3 of their 7 home matches, but they have not let in a goal in their 7 away matches.

After watching Esentepe youngsters in the morning, I thought I was still at that match, such were the young faces that took the field for the senior team. Hit by injuries, an already threadbare squad resembled a kindergarten rather than a football team. 17 year old GÜRHAN DEMIR was given a first ever start in the senior team, and the youngster did not let the team down, slotting seamlessly into the Esentepe defence.

A sunny and warmish December afternoon attracted a good sized crowd to the impressive Dr Fazil Küçük Stadium

Esentepe in red and white defend stubbornly.

An even opening 20 minutes saw only one real chance in the 15th minute fall to the home team, following a long throw from the right by Hüseyin Kayalılar that was flicked onto the far post, where Turgut Kaan shot wide from a good position.

Esentepe suffered a huge body blow when they lost their Captain Vurkan who hobbled off in the 29th minute to be replaced by Mahmut.

Esentepe were working very hard for each other, restricting Dumlupınar to a few half chances, unfortunately they did not trouble the home goal themselves. HALF TIME SCORE: 0-0

Dumlupınar took the lead following a disputed penalty in the 59th minute. Again a long throw in from Hüseyin, saw two Esentepe players take a tumble in the box, a Dumlupınar player then had a shot that struck an Esentepe hand. Despite Esentepe’s strong appeals that their players were pushed, referee Hüseyin Özkan awarded a penalty and HÜSEYIN KAYALILAR sent Onur the wrong way. 1-0

In the 70th minute another one of Esentepe 17 year old’s, Şükrü, went on a run on the right, beat a couple of players, cut inside and sent in a shot that just cleared the Dumlupınar bar.

The youngster was not to be denied, with a goal that I didn’t really see in the 74th minute but ŞÜKRÜ scored ! 1-1

Immediately Dumlupınar counter attacked straight from the kick off and had a goal disallowed for offside,

Dumlupınar were now piling on the pressure, with Esentepe defending frantically, but somehow surviving. In the 82nd minute Berke did well to get in a cross from the left and saw Hüseyin Kayalılar send a header on to the top of the Esentepe crossbar.

Hüseyin Kayalılar’s long throw in had caused Esentepe defence problems all afternoon from another one in the 88th minute, Burah had a header brilliantly tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Onur.

With Dumlupınar piling forward they were caught by a fast Esentepe breakaway in the 90th minute. Kaan started the move on the left, carried on by Yakup, then Şükrü who carried on into the area, as Goalkeeper Turkkan came out the winger squared the ball across the goal where unmarked substitute MUSTAFA GÜNLÜ slotted home. Understandably wild scenes on the Esentepe bench and in the stand followed and this carried on after Esentepe safely saw out 4 minutes of injury time.1-2

To compound Dumlupınar’s misery Abbas who had already been replaced was sent off after the final whistle.

SUMMING UP : This is why you support a local football team, joyous scenes afterwards, celebrations galore, Esentepe’s makeshift team had pulled off the impossible. The Coaching team deserve great credit as they have restored confidence, their planning is meticulous and the players have responded.

A good all round hard working performance, every player made a contribution, hard to pick an individual, but I would give it to “Man of the Match” Goalkeeper ONUR ÖZBINGUL, in fairness he didn’t have a lot to do, he was well protected, but when he was called upon he showed coolness and calmness, to inspire his team.

Dumlupınar will get promotion to the Super League, this was a “blip” with the squad they have, and unlimited resources it’s just a formality. Today they had an “off day”. it happens to all teams, but Esentepe have given me the perfect Christmas present.

Wild Esentepe celebrations!