March 22, 2023

By Richard Beale….

After 3 demoralising consecutive defeats Esentepe Under 21 team battle hard against difficult opponents to record a deserved win.


Sunday March 5 : AKSA U21 League 1 : Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.

Esentepe youngsters who had a very successful season in 2021-2022 finishing runners up, they are now much changed this time out, indeed from their opening match of the season there have been many changes. Long-term injuries to midfielders İsmet, and Dinçer, current injuries Gökdeniz, suspension to Mehmet Ada, first team call ups, and simply players giving up the game have left the U21 team very short of numbers.

They have been forced to call on players from the U16 and U15 teams, which in some ways is good as it gives these youngsters experience in a higher standard of football. The downside is that they are playing against teams that simply are physically stronger as was the case in this match it looked like secondary school against infants school!

So, this win was a remarkable achievement for Esentepe who battled well especially in the second half when they were up against it and playing with a stiff breeze in their faces.

Esentepe was the better team in the first half with Captain Mahmut Şen, leading by example in midfield, it was also good to see Dursun Ali Karal back in action after Club disciplinary actions and he scored both of Esentepe’s goals both superbly taken.

Esentepe went into the break 2-0 up as expected Maraş with the strong breeze behind put Esentepe under pressure hitting the right-hand post in the 48th minute from a fiercely struck free kick from Fevzican. Esentepe goalkeeper Can Adnan then pulled off a great save from a header following a Bartu free kick, pushing the ball onto the left-hand post and out for a corner.

Maraş did eventually score in the 77th minute but Esentepe doggedly defending and hanging on to their lead. I thought defender Burak Üstün who was deputising for the suspended Mehmet Ada and rarely starts, had a great game, reading and getting to the ball first.

Another player who rarely starts Halil Kim had an outstanding match on the right providing the passes for both of Dursun’s goals and also getting through a lot of hard work.

Dursun Ali Karal was a constant danger to the Maraş defence, he also hit the crossbar in the 90th minute with a free kick and this run out for the U21 team was a good workout for him and he should be welcomed back into the first team squad soon.


30 mins: A great cross from the left from Halil was superbly flicked home by DURSUN ALİ KARALÖ beating goalkeeper Ramazan at his right-hand post. 1-0

46 mins: In injury time of the first half an almost identical goal was again scored by DURSUN ALİ KARAL flicking in another Halil cross. 2-0

77 mins: Maraş pulled a goal back after Ayhan won a midfield tussle and fed a through ball to ILHAN KOCABAŞ, with Esentepe goalkeeper Can losing his footing as he advanced the Maraş player kept his cool to slot the ball home despite a good attempt on the line by Hüseyin to stop the ball. 2-1

To see many more pictures of this match, please go to my Facebook page.

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