April 1, 2023

By Richard Beale…

Esentepe turned in a very professional performance, dispatching a struggling side with ease and the score could have and should have been much higher.


Sunday, March 12, 2023: AKSA League 1 : Chiangir Stadium.

Weather: Cloudy, breezy.

Due to trouble at İncirli’s last home match against Yenierenköy the Kıbrıs Turkish Football Federation imposed a 2-match home ban on İncirli, hence this match was played at a neutral venue.

This suited Esentepe as they only played a friendly match here against Cihangir 2 weeks ago and also played another one here last September so they were accustomed to the Stadium and made it pay.

İncirli, having just survived relegation last season in their first year in League 1, are in a similar position, in 14th place in the relegation playoffs, with no money, and a small squad things look bleak for them. Apart from a 10-minute spell in the first half and another at the start of the second half, İncirli were woeful, not helped having a player sent off in the 38th minute.

This win puts Esentepe back into the promotion playoffs in 5th place, this was a must-win game as the next 3 matches Lapta (h), Yeniboğaziçi (a), and Gençler Birligi (h) are all against promotion-seeking sides. The next 3 matches will decide whether Esentepe will be in the playoffs at the end of the season, with Karşıyaka, Baf Ülkü Yurdu, and Yeniboğaziçi chasing the automatic promotion spots.

Esentepe was very impressive in the opening 15 minutes, passing the ball around like Bristol Rovers (oops meant Manchester City !), and should have been at least 2 goals up.

5 mins: Melih set up Ege Can from 6 yards out but the İncirli goalkeeper Selahattin pulled off an incredible save diving to his right to push Ege’s shot away.

7 mins: Melih again involved again setting up İlyas whose low shot was quickly smothered by Selahattin.

8 mins: Melih was looking more mobile and prominent shooting just wide of the left-hand post.

10 mins: Esentepe’s young talented midfielder Salih, still seeking his first-ever senior goal came inches away from achieving this with a low shot just wide.

Esentepe was very impressive in this opening spell.

12 mins: It was not all one-way traffic as Osman was forced into making a good save in the Esentepe goal when Salih Dağlar was put through by Tuğhan, the goalkeeper managing to push the shot away for a corner.

20 mins: İncirli had another chance when Bekir fastening onto a ricochet put a clear opportunity wide.

This was a costly miss as Esentepe took the lead in the 21st minute an in swinging corner taken on the right by Emek was headed clear off the line to ‘LYAS N’YAZ’ who drove a fierce shot past a crowd of players. 0-1

30 mins: Ege sent a cross-field pass to Mustafa, up on his many forays from full-back who found Melih who shot just wide of the left-hand post.

The second 15 minutes were more evenly contested but Esentepe created more chances and should have been 3-0 up.

İncirli centre backs were defending two deeply allowing Esentepe backs Mustafa and Emek to set up attacks.

Esentepe’s second goal came after 37 minutes when they attacked on the right-hand side the ball broke loose to EGE CAN AÇIKPORTALI in the penalty area to score with his outside of his right foot. 0-2

Bekir Bilgi who had been booked for dissent earlier kept on protesting and left referee Emre no option but to give him a second yellow to leave İncirli in further disarray and down to 10 men after 38 minutes.

Esentepe were playing good quality football when they scored another goal in the 41st minute and what a soft goal it was an innocuous cross from the right was completely fumbled by goalkeeper Selahattin straight to MELIH NIİŞANCİ who simply tapped the ball into an empty net. 0-3

İncirli players were arguing amongst themselves, they looked in complete disarrays disgruntled, heads had dropped.

Emek almost made it 4-0 with a screamer of a shot from outside the box that was pushed for a corner by Selahattin.


Mindful of some hard matches, and possible yellow cards Esentepe coach Davut replaced Emre and Ege Can with Hüseyin (Raul) and Semih during the break.

In fairness to İncirli in the opening 15 minutes, they pressed forward with nothing to lose, with their Captain Sezer bringing a good save from Osman.

Melih continued to be a threat and was through on goal again in the 59th minute but goalkeeper Selahattin saved his shot.

An İncirli corner was cleared up field to MELIH NİŞANCI, with Ilyas beside him and no defenders anywhere the big forward went on to beat the advancing Selahattin to record his second goal in the 67th minute. 0-4

Esentepe Coach Davut continued to make substitutions with the game won, giving players much needed game time.

In the 70th minute, Semih was through on goal, his shot beating the goalkeeper but Doğukan racing back managed to clear the ball off the line.

ŞAHIN ERDOĞAN 3rd right gets congratulated after scoring his first senior goal.

With İncirli defence non-existent Esentepe was constantly using the long ball and substitute ŞAHIN ERDOĞAN ran on to beat Selahattin to record his first senior goal in the 73rd minute. 0-5

İncirli were now trying to run down the clock, damage limitation as Esentepe should have added to their score.

82 mins: Şahin should have scored his second put through by İlyas but shot wide another golden chance missed.

85 mins; From an İlyas corner Devran’s first effort was blocked by the goalkeeper, and his second effort cannoned off the left-hand post.


SUMMING UP: A good all-round team performance, playing good football right from the first minute could have, should have been 7 or 8. Incirli were thankful to their goalkeeper SELAHATTİN who brought off some great saves, his team was poor though Captain SEZER SEZER and HALİT ÖZCEZARLI didn’t throw in the towel. MUSTAFA SOYTÜRK “Man of the Match” fast marauding runs from the back on the right gave the team pace and width. EGE CAN, TUĞRA, SALIH, MELIH, and NERSIN were all excellent so was the rest of the team.

ESENTEPE TEAM: Osman (gk) ; MUSTAFA, Devran, Nersin ©, Emek (Okan 70): Emre (Hüseyin 46), Tuğra (Mahmut 60), Salih, İlyas : Ege Can (Semih 46), Melih (Şahin 70)

Sub not used : Ulaş (gk)

İNCİRLİ SK Team: SELAHATTİN (gk) ; Doğukan, Sezer ©, Halit, Salih (Mehmet 51), Bekir, Orhan, Hüseyin, Tuğhan (Fatih 51), Mustafa, Osman (Ismail 51)

Red card: Bekir (Incirli 38)

Yellow cards: Tuğhan, Mustafa (İncirli). Emre, Nersin, Şahin (Esentepe)

Referee: Emre Öztaşlı —-a very good match.

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