By Richard Beale….
Esentepe Under 21 pulled off a magnificent win over their rivals Maraş Under 21 in a cracking match, that lacked skill at times, but what it didn’t lack was effort and endeavour shown by both teams.
Result: ESENTEPE Under 21 1 MARAŞ Under 21 0
Saturday March 7: K-Pet League 1 U21: Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.
This was the warm up match for the main event played in brilliant spring sunshine.
Esentepe Under 21 team like the seniors were decimated with first team call ups, injuries and suspension, but somehow the youngsters pulled off a remarkable win over their more experienced counterparts.
Maraş was the more talented team and physically stronger than Esentepe who were forced to field players from the Under 15 team. I was disappointed with Maraş first half performance, but they dominated the second half, with the Esentepe defence, backs to the wall stood firm.
Esentepe took the lead in the 12th minute when İsmet played a delightful defence splitting through pass that OSMAN ERDOĞAN fastened onto to score. 1-0.
Maraş only chance of the first half came from a quick breakaway, which the Esentepe defence dealt poorly with, their leading goalscorer Akın Naıl broke away as the Esentepe goalkeeper Ulaş came out, the forward shot just wide of the goal.
Gökdeniz tried a spectacular “David Beckham” long shot on the halfway line in the 37th minute, with the Maraş goalkeeper outside his goal the effort went just over. HALF TIME SCORE: 1-0
Maraş missed two glorious opportunities in the 53rd and 57th minutes, both glaring misses in front of the goal as Esentepe were pinned back in their own half.
Esentepe Coach changed formation pulling all of his tallest players back into defence, pushing the smaller and more mobile ones upfront.
Osman who was the Esentepe hero scoring their goal, turned villain with an off the ball incident which left Ekrem sprawled on the floor in the penalty area in the 72nd minute. The referee awarded a penalty, however Akın Naıl’s kick was brilliantly tipped around the post by the diving Ulaş.
Esentepe were down to 10 men when Mustafa Soytürk was sent off after receiving two yellow cards.
Still Esentepe clung on, with frantic clearances and last minute tackles as Maraş laid siege to the goal.
Then Maraş were down to 10 men in injury time with Mertkan, who had been booked earlier, kicked the ball away unnecessarily and was red carded.
Full marks to the Esentepe Coach Kamıl Aldemir who made the most of limited resources. The team all worked their socks off with midfielders Semih and Ismet being the pick of the bunch. FULL TIME SCORE : 1-0