By Richard Beale….
Girne Halk Evi (GHE) secured the point they needed for promotion to the Super League, Esentepe tried but were unable to secure the win they required, only tears but they shouldn’t be downhearted, they did themselves proud.
Result : GIRNE HALK EVI 0 ESENTEPE KKSK 0
Thursday July 30, 2020: K-Pet League 1 Play Off Final. Güzelyurt Üner Berkalp Stadium.
It’s ironic that Esentepe were unbeaten in their 3 playoff matches (won 2 drew 1) whereas GHE (won 1, drew 1, lost 1) were the team to secure promotion. This is Cyprus the playoffs are done differently here, very complicated, based on bonus points depending on the final League position and also the results/goal differences of matches between the playoff teams during the season – after 12 years here I still can’t get my head around it!
Anyway, GHE will be the team playing Super League football next season they just about shaded this disappointing Play Off Final and we wish them well. To be honest they have the resources both playing wise and financially to cope with the demands of the Super League.
Both sets of fans created a wonderful atmosphere
There was a terrific atmosphere in the Üner Berkalp Stadium with the Esentepe supporters greatly outnumbering the GHE fans with both sets producing enough noise with their chants, flares, and flags.
The pitch was in excellent condition, being heavily watered created very humid conditions.
GHE had the greater part of the play in the first half, as I feared, with the quality of their players they were in control in midfield where the excellent Hamis Çakır was pulling the strings. With wingers Samet and Aksel constantly probing down the flanks Esentepe full backs Mahmut and Uğurcan were unable to overlap to support the attack. As Esentepe became overwhelmed in midfield both Kaan and Hüseyin Deynekli dropped back to help but left lone striker Eray very isolated. GHE tall powerful striker Esin Sonay was also proving a handful and it needed all of Şahın’s experience to cope with him.
GHE struck the Esentepe woodwork twice in the first half, firstly in the 13th minute, an Aksel free kick from just outside the box struck the top of the Esentepe crossbar. In the 21st minute, an excellent interchange of passes on the right between Ahmet and Samet saw a long cross to the far post where the dangerous Esin got in a header that hit the Esentepe left hand post before bouncing back into Onur’s grateful arms.
Esentepe sole attacking contribution in the first half was a move involving Eray and Şükrü that saw a Kaan shot bring the GHE Goalkeeper Athos into action diving to his right.
HALF TIME SCORE : 0-0
Esentepe suffered a mighty blow in the 49th minute when striker Eray who was having a fine match went down with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Mustafa Günlü.
GHE continued to look dangerous, Aksel had a shot from outside the box that took a deflection that Esentepe goalkeeper Onur instinctively managed to stick out a boot to save.
Then Aksel had Onur in action again with a shot that the goalkeeper dived to save.
Any Esentepe match involving referee Mehmet Sezener seems to have its moments of controversy, here a crazy 5 minute spell saw Esentepe’s Emre Mutlu red carded for 2 yellows in the 60th minute to be followed by GHE midfielder Yunus for a straight red. A very angry Yunus on leaving the pitch was taunted by Esentepe supporters, the GHE player reacted and there were crowd troubles that spilled onto the arena, this held the match up while the Police struggled to regain control.
This crowd upset seemed to have knocked GHE out of their stride and it was Esentepe who seized the initiative coming close to scoring in quick succession. In the 70th minute, Şükrü went on a run into the GHE box seeing his shot just deflected over Athos crossbar. A minute later Kaan cut inside on the left sending a shot just wide of the GHE left hand post.
Esentepe bravely pushed men forward as GHE gradually ran down the clock, frustratingly for Esentepe by time wasting, and feigning injuries.
FULL TIME SCORE : 0-0
SUMMING UP: Good luck to GHE next season they were the favourites for this match and deserved to be promoted.
Esentepe can hold their heads up, they have had a fantastic second half of the season under the guidance of Coach Kiliç Ali Kahraman, with an outstanding crop of youngsters, mixed with some old hands, the future looks very bright indeed. Now, at last, this momentous season draws to an end, the players deserve to rest and recuperate as the new season is only just around the corner.