December 8, 2023

By Richard Beale…

Two late goals from Maraş forward Cenker Yazar gave the visitors 3 points in this hard fought League 1 encounter played at a sunny Esentepe Stadium.


Saturday March 7, 2020: K-Pet League 1 : Erdal Barut Stadium

It was tough luck on an Esentepe side who battled well in this tough, bruising encounter, a draw would have been a fairer result. Two Goalkeeper errors from Esentepe’s Goalkeeper Görkem Karal was the difference between the two sides. Görkem who has come in as replacement goalkeeper because first choice keeper Onur is injured, has done well in previous matches, but unfortunately, he too is suffering from a hand injury, which causes him discomfort. Esentepe were decimated by injuries and suspensions so 15 year old Hüseyin Deynekli was given a first ever League start. The diminutive youngster did well, marked by the Maraş experienced defender Mustafa who towered over him, he showed good ball control, was quick and even had a couple of goal efforts himself.

A crowd of around 100, including a handful of expats, which was nice to see, enjoyed the March spring sunshine.

Match action Esentepe are the “men in black” !

Maraş pinned Esentepe back in their own half for the first 15 minutes, but eventually, Esentepe broke the shackles and created a couple of chances both involving the returning Eray back from injury.

Firstly in the 22nd minute he robbed a Maraş defender of the ball in the area only to be denied a goal shooting opportunity by a superb blocking tackle by Emre, the ball went wide right and Mahmut sent in a cross shot that flashed across the goal.

Then just before the break, Eray tried a snap shot that was beaten away by the diving Maraş keeper Tolga.

In between that Maraş had a half chance Tahsin tried a shot from outside the box, Görkem may have been blinded by the sun could only palm it into the path of Cenker who miss hit his shot and the Goalkeeper recovered to gather the ball. HALF TIME SCORE : 0-0

Honours were even in the opening 20 minutes where the battle was mainly in the midfield.

Maraş took the lead in the 73rd minute when Esentepe teenage defender Mehmet Demir gave away an unnecessary free kick after losing possession. Tashin’s free kick into the middle of the Esentepe goal area was back headed by CENKER YAZAR, the ball deceiving goalkeeper Görkam who tried to flick it over the bar, missed it and the ball crept in over the bar. 0-1

Maraş were down to 10 men in the 75th minute when Gökhan who had previously been booked was sent off after receiving another yellow card.

Esentepe were playing four upfront but they could not break down Maraş stubborn resistance. Their goalkeeper Tolga who had a fine match was “safe as houses” in dealing with crosses, also making a couple of decent saves as well.

Right photo – CENKER YAZAR (centre) receives his teammate’s congratulations

Right on the stroke of full time Maraş sealed the match, substitute Mert got the better of Mahmut on the left and crossed the ball, Görkem hesitated and flapped at the ball only succeeding in pushing the ball down to CENKER YAZAR who gratefully accepted the chance. FULL TIME SCORE: 0-2

SUMMING UP: A first defeat for Coach Kiliç Ali, this was a game too far for Esentepe, the injuries and suspensions on an already small squad took its toll. Maraş are an experienced outfit with some good players, they took advantage of this. Again no faulting the effort and commitment of Esentepe they just lacked that cutting edge provided by the suspended Kağan and Şükrü.  Both players will be available next weekend when Esentepe have a real “toughie” away to leaders Mesarya.

Video Highlights courtesy of Graham Procter-Brown

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