By Richard Beale…..
The only way that two strong and committed defences were likely to be breached would be from the penalty spot and so it proved with both sides scoring from the spot late on in the match. Earlier Esentepe had strong appeals turned down for a penalty just before the break which might have been given in another game.
Result: ESENTEPE KKSK 1 MORMENEŞKE GBSK 1
Friday September 17, 2021: Aksa League 1: Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.
After nearly 15 months with no competitive football due to the Pandemic, the 2021-22 football season finally got under way in front of a packed stadium on a warm but pleasant Friday late afternoon.
After 60 years of watching live football, the start of a football season is always something special, I still get that tingling feeling, the cricket season is virtually over so let’s get on with the footie now! This season is different after the long lay off and you sensed that the players were excited, chomping at the bit, the spectators also had that vibe about them.
The match didn’t disappoint, it may have not had many clear cut chances with both goalkeepers being rarely troubled but it was still tense and exciting. Overall Esentepe had the best chances especially in the first half over a 15 minute period when shots went wide or over the goal. Two strong defences kept a tight hold on the attackers and the midfield was a battlefield with fouls a-plenty.
Match Action – Esentepe in red.
I don’t know what it is with referee Mehmet Sezener, (one of the top officials in the TRNC) but when he takes charge of Esentepe matches there always seems to be some incidents or events. Thankfully there were no red cards but 9 yellow cards were shown in a match that was not dirty, but very competitive.
After Esentepe’s half chances earlier in the first half, just before the break Şükrü on the left cut inside into the box with Mormeneşke defender Fetin hard on his heels. Contact was made and Şükrü lost his boot and was sent sprawling on the deck. The Esentepe players, and supporters thought in was a penalty, it certainly looked like it but maybe Şükrü is getting a reputation of being a “Jack Grealish” and Mr Sezener was unmoved by Esentepe appeals.
The second half continued in the same fashion, chances being few and far between, you sensed that only one goal would win the match if that ever came.
Mormeneşke number 5 Fetin protests- right ŞÜKRÜ penalty equalises for Esentepe.
In the 79th minute Suleyman cut along the left hand byline and contact was made by Okan’s customary sliding tackle with the Mormeneşke player going to ground. Mr Sezener immediately pointed to the spot despite Esentepe’s appeals and their Captain GÖKAY ALPÇOĞAY sent Onur the wrong way. 0-1
Mormeneşke supporters, and there were quite a few of them, were in raptures and I thought that the visitors would go home with all the points.
With five minutes to go, I think it was Şükrü shot from outside the box, the ball struck the arm of Fetin and the referee pointed to the spot. This time it was Mormeneşke’s turn to protest strongly but the referee was not for turning, even though their keeper Mehmet Salih guessed the right way, he could not prevent ŞÜKRÜ’s penalty equalising for Esentepe. 1-1
SUMMING UP : I think Esentepe would view this as 2 points lost, rather than a point gained. Mormeneşke are a good side and they will be happy with the point, not many teams coming here will be so resilient.
I think the Esentepe Coach Kılıç Ali Kahraman will be quite happy with the overall team performance, a lot of effort was put in. An attack of Deniz Kibar, Hüseyin and Şükrü, on another day will probably rip to shreds some defences with their sheer pace and speed.
I thought for Mormeneşke defender AYKUT KAMUZ, quite small in stature and playing against the tricky and dangerous Şükrü, had a great match, mainly keeping the Esentepe player in check.
For Esentepe I thought their best player was TUĞRA KILIÇ, playing in the unglamorous role as defensive midfield. He chased, he harried and broke up many attacks, then playing the simple pass to the more creative Ilyas.