By Richard Beale….
On Wednesday afternoon Esentepe took another giant step toward reaching the playoffs, with an important victory over struggling Yilmazköy to make it 13 matches unbeaten.
Results: M. HACIALI YILMAZKÖY SK 0 ESENTEPE KKSK 1
Wednesday, April 12, 2023: AKSA League 1: Mustafa Coz Stadium.
Weather: Cloudy, occasional sun, with a chilly breeze.
This was Esentepe’s first-ever visit to the Mustafa Üçöz Stadium and for matters not in the football sense we are hoping not the last.
Yilmazköy was promoted from the BTM last season and is fighting for their lives, in a relegation play-off place and without a victory now in 8 matches.
The football on Wednesday afternoon was forgettable but not the food and drink before the match !, next to the Stadium is the 3 Öz Et Pazarı Restaurant, where before the kick-off we had a Devine Chicken Şis, the meat so succulent, fresh salad, yoghurt, olives, chillies with 3 types of bread for 150 TL, with beer at 35 TL, we 7 expats were very reluctant to leave the ambiance of the Restaurant to watch a football match on a cold breezy day. Still after the match, we went back for some more celebratory refreshments before making the 1 hour and 15-minute journey back to Esentepe.
A very scrappy match, not helped by the strong breeze, dry pitch, and uneven bounce with the ball being in the air more times than it was on the ground. Esentepe had 2 chances and scored from one of them, whereas the home side had three chances all foiled by good saves from Esentepe’s young goalkeeper Osman.
The 3 points were more important than the performance at this stage of the season the top of League 1 is very tight indeed. League leaders and almost certain Champions Karşıyaka suffered a setback with a shock defeat 2-3 against strugglers Dortyöl (Esentepe’s next opponents). Second place Yeniboğaziçi are on a good run and there is a little daylight between these two teams (who go up automatically) and the chasing pack.
The pack includes Esentepe, L Gençler Birliği, Düzkaya and Yalova, with 3 points separating them. For most of the season, Baf Ülkü Yurdu has occupied second place but they have gone off the rails completely, losing 5 matches on the trot, though not out of it they have all to do.
Esentepe has 4 matches left 3 at home and 1 away, an easy run on paper but not so. On Sunday Esentepe are home to struggling Dortyöl, scrapping at the bottom for survival no easy match. Esentepe’s only away match is against leaders Karışyaka a point there will be all we can hope for. The Scorpions then finish with 2 home matches the first against fellow promotion play-off rivals Düzkaya and then they finish the season against Mormeneşke a mid-table team and we are hoping already packing up for their holidays!
No team in the top 6 can afford to drop points, Esentepe has done outstandingly well with such a small squad, and the danger there being injuries and suspensions will result as Harry Redknapp used to say “we are down to the bare bones” !.
9 mins: An out-of-the-blue snapshot from just outside the box, from Haydar, saw Osman diving to his right to parry the ball, Önder Sezar following up under pressure from Esentepe’s Mustafa somehow managed to shoot wide at the near post.
33 mins: A long throw-in from Esentepe Tuğra, eventually got to the far post where Melih unleashed a fierce shot, that the Yilmazköy keeper Hüseyin made a tremendous save flinging himself to his left to push the ball away, where Deniz on the far post fastened onto but under pressure and such an acute angle fired into the side netting.
HALF TIME SCORE : 0-0
46 mins: A long ball out of defence caught the Yilmazköy defence square, appealing for offside, on ran DENİZ KIBAR who ran unchallenged to smash the ball past the advancing Hüseyin for his 14th goal of the season. Yilmazköy protested to the officials but to no avail, friends later told me that Deniz was yards offside, well when your luck in they say. 0-1
The match continued to be scrappy with no team being unable to hold onto the ball for any length of time.
The only highlight of such was when Esentepe substitute Mahmut accidentally collided with Linesman Mehmet Kurt, everyone could see the funny side of things, but the unfortunate Lino carried on briefly before going down injured again. The game was held up for at least 12 minutes, and as the 4th official Fatih took over, an ambulance was summoned for the unfortunate official who appeared to be suffering from a collarbone injury.
90 + 13 mins injury time: Önder Sezar who was Yilmazköy best player received the ball turned and unleashed a fierce shot, that Osman in the Esentepe goal diving to his left managed to tip the ball over for a corner.
90 + 14 mins: From that corner taken by Muhammet. Özner hit a first time volley which again was foiled by Osman making an identical save. The referee immediately blew the whistle Esentepe had survived two late scares.
FULL-TIME SCORE: 0-1
SUMMING UP: 2 matches in 4 days had tested the fitness levels of both teams, there were many tired legs out there. Forget the performance 3 points came home with Esentepe.
Melih up front, toiled away, putting himself about. Devran was rock steady in defense, unfortunately picking up a 4th yellow card that will result in suspension. Emre Mutlu, was tireless midfield, with TUĞRA KILIÇ just pipping him for Man of the Match”. Tuğra was very energetic, tackling, breaking up attacks, and playing the holding role in midfield.
ESENTEPE TEAM: Osman (gk) ; Mustafa, Devran, Nersin ©, Emek : TUĞRA : Emre. Salih (Mahmut 65) ; Ege Can (Semih 46) ; Melih (Şahin 90), Deniz (Okan 90).
Replacements not used: Ulaş (gk), Hüseyin
YILMAZKÖY TEAM: Hüseyin (gk); Ayhan, Ceren (Muhammet 63), Mehmet Ince, Arif ©, Enes İbrahim (Suat 75),Christin (Berkay 68), ÖNDER SEZAR, Ersal, Haydar (Özner 63), Erhan )Mehmet Dulkadır 63).
Yellow cards: Özner (Yilmazköy). Deniz, Mahmut, Devran (Esentepe)
Referee: Şakir Azızoğlu – average.
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