By Richard Beale …….
Wow what a match, still trying to catch my breath, Esentepe and Girne Halk Evi (GHE) share the points after the visitors stormed into a 2-0 lead, Esentepe battled back well to finish with honours.
Result: ESENTEPE KKSK 2 GIRNE HALK EVI SK 2
Sunday February 23, 2020: K-Pet League 1 : Erdal Barut Stadium.
I repeat, wow what a match, wow what a game between these two old rivals, who both did themselves and their clubs proud, this was a fine advertisement for live local football.
At the end of the match, being a reporter on the field, I applauded as well as the crowd did, in appreciating the efforts by the two teams.
This match had everything, goals, clearances off the line, penalty, sending off, strong robust challenges and also thrown in a little bit of skill. Referee Utku Hammamcıoğlu was a strong referee, yes he got some decisions wrong, but he also got many right, he is human, thankfully we had no VAR to ruin the game. How people can get enjoyment from a bar stool, watching Premiership Football I am at a loss to explain, this was grass roots football, blood thunder and guts.
Being topical this was like a boxing match, every time you thought somebody was on top the opponent would counter attack, this was a slugging match, a draw being the right result, no team deserved to lose.
GHE had invested heavily in the transfer market, their replacement bench was filled with well known players whereas sat on the Esentepe bench were inexperienced youngsters, that’s why GHE lie 3rd in the League.
Match Officials and Captains, Esentepe in black
They started like a promotion seeking team, with Aksel and Samet raiding fast down both flanks and their Captain Hamis pulling the strings in midfield.
It was no surprise when they took the lead in the 7th minute, Esentepe lost the ball on the left, Aksel took advantage sending over a cross that was flicked back by Samet to HAMİS CAKIR to hit first time past Görkem.. 0-1
Esentepe counter attack, a good run by Şükrü beating players into the area and rounding goalkeeper Feyaz, before getting in a low cross that was hastily cleared to the edge of the box where Emre Mutlu sent in a shot that Feyaz managed to push over the bar.
23 minutes the visitors struck again with a simple goal from an Aksel free kick that was poorly dealt with by the Esentepe defence with a weak header the ball failing to SALIH SAY to hook in at the near post. Esentepe were in shock, in disarray. 0-2
But they pulled themselves back together, putting pressure on GHE, the ball remaining in their half for quite some time. The lifeline they had been looking for came in the 29th minute, when Kaan had a shot that was allegedly hand balled by Ulaş turning his back (a la Man City pen v Leicester). NERSIN OSMAN made no mistake with the resultant penalty. HALF TIME SCORE : 1-2
It was a feisty fiery affair at the start of the second half with both teams battling for supremacy, gradually it was Esentepe who started turning the screw and their efforts were rewarded with an equalising goal in the 60th minute.
Again, as like last weeks match, Kaan produced his “little bit of magic” weaving in and out to the right hand side byline to get in a low cross where ALI KAFADAR reacted quickly to prod the ball in between goalkeeper Feyaz and the near post. Ali being the lone striker had been tightly marked during the match, but this was truly a “goal poachers” goal. 2-2
69 minutes : GHE were reduced to 10 men when Aksel put in a very strong challenge on Şükrü, he was booked but continued to complain and argue, until Referee Utku shut him up by producing the red card.
You would have thought this would have been much to Esentepe’s advantage but it was not to be, not only are GHE a talented team they showed that they can roll their sleeves up and get stuck in as well. It was the visitors who were taking the game to Esentepe, there were a few goalmouth scrambles, Şahin making some great interceptions and his defensive partner Nersin clearing off the line in the 72 minute.
80 minutes a great diving fingertip save by Görkem at his left hand post prevented Mustafa scoring with a header as the visitors piled on the pressure appearing to have 15 men on the pitch rather than 10.
Left photo AKSEL sees red !
With 5 minutes of added on time both sides could have won it, for Esentepe Uğurcan down the left sending over a low cross to the far post where somehow Yakup managed to scoop over from a few yards out.
GHE immediately replied in similar fashion when Hamis prodded over the bar in the same position. It would have been an injustice for any side to win in the end. As the final whistle blew players from both sides slumped to the ground in exhaustion they had given everything.
FULL TIME SCORE ; 2-2
Video Highlights courtesy of Graham Procter-Brown