September 30, 2023

By Richard Beale….

The restart of the football season after the Coronavirus Pandemic saw League Leaders Mesarya collect another 3 points and promotion to the Super League looks now a certainly.  A 4-1 scoreline suggests a rout, that doesn’t tell the full story as it took Mesarya 60 minutes to finally overcome a battling, stubborn Esentepe team.


Saturday June 20, 2020: K-Pet League 1 : Paşaköy 100 Yil Stadium

A very warm June evening, which attracted a very good crowd, a superb carpet of a playing surface were the ingredients required for both teams to entertain the spectators.

Mesarya, a club that has come from nowhere, have rich and ambitious sponsors, promotion to the Super League is a minimum requirement. Coach Nazim Acktunç has assembled a strong and talented squad, not only are they strong but physically very powerful, there were some big units on show today.

Esentepe had an awful start to the match, when their experienced and influential Captain Vurkan Görneçli was involved in a collision as early as the 2nd minute. Vurkan was writhing and screaming in pain clutching his knee, which he has had previous injuries with. The Esentepe Captain was carried off on a stretcher to the touchline clearly still in great distress and pain, and eventually into an ambulance and off to hospital. Sadly I fear his season is over. Muhammed came on for him resulting in a number of positional changes.

The match was littered with fouls, Referee İsenfendiyar being busy brandishing yellow cards, especially to the Esentepe players, at the end of the match he had collected 11 Esentepe names!

The weather was red hot, the atmosphere was red hot, tempers were red hot, this is live local football not some lifeless game on TV with no spectators.

Esentepe shocked the leaders when they took the lead in the 16th minute through a penalty from NERSIN OSMAN, after Şükrü was bundled to the floor between two defenders. 0-1

A storm was brewing up as Esentepe were coming more and more under pressure, however the Mesarya attacks floundered on the Esentepe defence where the “twin rocks” of Nersin and Şahin were in defiant mood.

Match action Mesarya are in the white strip

After sustained Mesarya pressure in the 39th minute, following a corner Halil Turan overhead kick appeared to strike an Esentepe hand and the referee awarded a penalty. Surprisingly it was not Mesarya’s normal penalty taker Halil Turan who would be taking the penalty but Cemal Yaşınses. Esentepe Goalkeeper Görkem Karal who before the penalty was well protected by his defence dived to his left to save the spot kick.

A let off for Esentepe but the storm was getting stronger, Esentepe resolutely held firm and went into the interval a goal to the good. HALF TIME SCORE 0-1

During the interval the Mesarya Coach Nasim Aktunç must have got the ‘hair dryer” going as his team were out very early for the second half. The storm that had been blowing now turned into a full blown hurricane as the Champions elect laid siege to the Esentepe goal.

They forced numerous corners, Esentepe defenders bravely flung their bodies in front of the ball, there were rebounds, ricochets off defenders, Nersin cleared off the line. There was no way that Esentepe could get the ball outside their goal area, eventually the defensive walls began to crumble as Mesarya swarmed all over them. In the 55nd minute following an almighty scramble in the area, Mesarya were awarded a second penalty again for hands, this time it was the regular penalty taker HALIL TURAN who converted the penalty. 1-1

57 minutes the ground erupted when Mesarya went ahead through a thumping header at the far post from defender CAĞDAŞ ÇEVİK following an Ibrahim corner. 2-1

Bravely Esentepe countered in a rare attack in the 65th following good work by Şükrü setting up Yakup whose shot just went wide of the Mesarya right hand post.

Referee İsfendiyer continued collecting names in his book mostly Esentepe, but also now a couple of Mesarya players. Mehmet Ali struck the Esentepe right hand post with a fierce shot from outside the box in the 76th minute.

Goal celebrations (left) NERSIN is happy after scoring a penalty for Esentepe and (right) ÇAĞDAŞ is also happy after giving Mesarya the lead.

In the 78th minute a third goal for Mesarya scored by ARDA SÖZCÜ  which I didn’t see! but I think it was from a long shot. 3-1

Mesarya secured the win in the 82nd minute following a soft goal from a IBRAHİM ÇIDAMLI free kick which deceived the Esentepe goalkeeper Görkem, maybe he was dazzled by the setting sun, by this time the  hurricane had blown itself out and the match ended with a beautiful calm Cyprus sunset. FULL TIME SCORE 4-1

SUMMING UP : A 4-1 scoreline doesn’t do justice to the Esentepe performance, 2 soft goals at the end flattered Mesarya. Esentepe Coach Kılıç Ali can feel proud of the way his team battled and competed. Defenders Nersin and Şahın were outstanding as well as Yakup in midfield the whole team put in a shift.

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