September 27, 2023

Goalkeeper ALİ and Serkan Zeyin get into a muddle to allow SERKAN KURUKAFA in to score the winner

By Richard Beale….

An 85th minute winner from SERTAN gave visitors Gençler Birliği all 3 points in this AKSA League 1 encounter.


Saturday October 1: AKSA League 1: Girne 20 Temmuz Mete Adanır Stadium.

Shall I watch the Arsenal – Spurs North London Derby match? That was the question – Nah I can always record it and avoid knowing the score. A League 1 encounter at Çatalköy just up the road from Esentepe between two of the bigger clubs in the division tempted me, what persuaded me was that Düzkaya had 3 ex- Esentepe players (Ali Karal, Uğurcan Başayak and Ahmet Çağer) in their line up. And the prospect of a tasty kebab after the match as well!

Off I toddled and arrived to a empty Stadium in Çatalköy – puzzled I enquired with Mehmet who runs the excellent kebab shop outside the ground , he told me there is drainage problems and the match has been switched to the big 20 Temmuz Stadium in Girne!. I knew I should have stayed at home and watch the football on the telly – anyway 30 minutes before kickoff I made a determined dash and got to the Stadium with 10 minutes to spare – phew!

The match between these two teams to be honest was a disappointment – it never really got going, both teams cancelled each other out. Two strong defences, both sides lacking in creatively in midfield and too often relying on the long ball. If Esentepe (my team) were playing any of these two teams, on the day then they would beat both teams on that showing. In fact the goal scoring celebrations for the opening two goals were the highlights!

Düzkaya took an early lead in the 5th minute, they cleared a corner the ball was fed up the right to Berkant would found YUNUS EMRE BAL, who went into the box and despite a challenge from Mehmet Ali and Goalkeeper Cengiz managed to poke the ball home. Yunus celebrated with a spectacular double somersault. 1-0.

Düzkaya didn’t hold onto the lead very long as LGB equalised in the 15th minute when a right wing cross was hit home first time by ABDULAZİZ KÖSE, who not to be outdone celebrated with another double somersault. 1-1

The rest of the half was even Stevens, with LGB just about shading it. HALF TIME: 1-1

The second half continued in similar fashion with the visitors sharing a great deal of the possession without looking like scoring.

Similarly Düzkaya created little though Yunus Emre was working his socks off trying to find an opening.

The Düzkaya bench particularly Coach Hasan Topaloğlu (the Godfather of TRNC football!) was getting equally frustrated with his team who could not find any rhythm.

LGB missed a glorious chance to regain the lead in the 65th minute when Serkan Zeyin upended Abdulaziz in the box and referee Zekai Töre had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. The vastly experienced Ertan Bulut took the penalty sending Ali the wrong way but seeing his kick crash off the underside of the crossbar to be scrambled away by a relieved Düzkaya defence.

The match continued to disappoint as both teams seemed content with a point apiece, any deadlock to be broken would come from a mistake.

This came in the 85th minute when a long hopeful ball was contested by Düzkaya defender Sertan Zeyinand LGB forward SERTAN KURUKAFA, The defender hesitated as he expected his goalkeeper Ali who had come out to fly kick the ball away. Unfortunately Ali missed his kick allowing Sertan to run on and put the ball into an empty net. 1-2

LGB team and coaching staff celebrated widely.

Düzkaya pressed in the final 5 minutes and injury time but could not break down the LGB defence.

The match never lived up to expectations but both teams will finish in the top 6 when the season ends

Still I returned to Mehmet’s kebab place had a lovely chicken kebab washed down with a cold beer and then home to watch the footie!

DÜZKAYA MAN OF THE MATCH: YUNUS EMRE BAL – scored a goal and worked so hard down the flanks and in the middle for his team.

LGB MAN OF THE MATCH: OLGUN TEKBIYIK – strong in defence keeping the normally dangerous Berkant very quiet.

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