December 8, 2023

By Richard Beale…

League leaders Mesarya strengthened their position at the top of League 1 with a win over 5th placed L. Gençler Birliği (LGB) in a scrappy game, not helped by the weather.


Saturday February 29 : K-Pet League 1 : Paşaköy 100 Yıl Stadium.

My reasons for choosing this match was on paper 1st against 5th and should have been a good match. Another reason I have never been to the Paşaköy Stadium and as my team Esentepe are playing there in a fortnight’s time I thought I would suss out the place and find out where we can get a beer and a kebab before the match. I didn’t have to look far in fact right outside the ground near the entrance was a kebab shop. Inside I never have seen so much alcohol in a kebab shop, bottles of whiskey, Rakı, and wine on a stand near the counter. Their “soft drink” refrigerator had more beer than non alcoholic drinks, they certainly like their booze in Paşaköy! my sort of place.

Anyway suitably refreshed with a beer and a nice kebab I went inside to report on the match only to bump into Esentepe Football President Ibrahim and Football Captain Vurkan who, like myself, were on a kind of spying mission.

Mesarya are a small Club who have no Stadium of their own but are very ambitious, with the help of rich sponsors they have invested heavily in the transfer market bringing in well known players such as TRNC National Goalkeeper Hasan Piro, striker Halil Turan as well as high calibre players like Arda and Orhan. The result is they have taken League 1 by storm and are almost certainly heading into the Super League.

There was a minute’s silence before the kick off for the Turkish soldiers who lost their lives in Syria this past week.

The weather deteriorated soon after the match started with heavy showers brought along on a strong breeze, the playing surface which has lush grass soon started to become treacherous and slippery.

Match action with Mesaya being the “Men in Black”

Unlike the weather, LGB started brightly with their leading goalscorer Bülent bringing a diving save from Hasan Piro.

LGB reward for their early pressure resulted in them taking the lead in the 26th minute. Bülent being the provider finding AHMET KARA who headed past Hasan . 0-1

Mesarya, who had taken a while to get into their stride, immediately replied when Mustafa Ayker shot from outside the box which the LGB goalkeeper Hamit tipped over the bar.

The equaliser was not far away and came in the 29th minute following an Ibrahim corner which was only partially cleared to outside the box where FERHAT ARAŞ met it with a fierce shot that went in at the near post 1-1.

The rest of the half was spent mostly in the middle of the pitch as the slippery conditions and strong breeze restricted skilful play.

LGB almost stole a goal right on the break when careless defending by Mesarya giving the ball away to Bülent whose shot was finger-tipped over the bar by Hasan Piro, HALF TIME SCORE : 1-1

Mesarya are a big powerful team with a strong defence of Yusuf, Çağdaş and Orhan. In attack they have the big strong frontman Halil Turan and on the left flank a tall winger in Cemal Yaşinses, a recent signing from Girne Half Evi, who really impressed me.

Mesarya as the second half progressed were pinning back LGB and their pressure paid off when they took the lead in the 64th minute. A throw in taken by their tall defender Yusuf caused LGB defender Erkan Neval to hesitate and ARDA SÖZÇÜ nipped in and took advantage to score. 2-1.

During the course of the game there had been some strong challenges and the Yellow card bookings were mounting, they increased even more when an off the ball incident caused the match to be halted for 7 minutes in the 75th minute. Something happened near the Mesarya bench and several LGB jostled with Mesarya replacements and Coaching staff, soon most of the players joined in. Pushing, shoving, arguing, the match boiled over and referee Emre produced further yellow cards and showed a red card to one of the Mesarya Coaching staff, in all there were 13 yellow cards shown throughout the match

The weather had deteriorated and so had the match, with the crowd now fired up every hard challenge fed fuel to the flames.

With 7 minutes of extra time being played LGB suddenly woke up to the situation and applied late pressure. Following a corner from the right Emre fired over the bar from a good position and with that, ended the visitors hopes.

Shame about the conditions, shame about the scuffle, a match that on paper had the makings of a good game but it failed to live up to its billing.

Still, at least I found a decent kebab shop!  FULL TIME SCORE : 2-1

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