BATTLING ESENTEPE’S DESERVED THRILLER DRAW
By Richard Beale…
After being 2-0 down after only 10 minutes, Esentepe stormed back against League leaders Karşıyaka and deservedly came away with a point, in fact, they could had made it all 3 points at the death.
Result : MIRACLE KARŞIYAKA ASK 3 ESENTEPE KKSK 3
Saturday April 22 , 2023: AKSA League 1 : Karşıyaka Şengül Töreham Stadium.
Weather: Rain initially, then cloudy and damp.
First of all, Karşıyaka needed a point to gain promotion to the Super League, they did so and we congratulate them on that achievement, over the course of the season, they have been the most consistent and outstanding team.
Secondly, Esentepe played their part as well in this thoroughly entertaining match, a credit to both teams, Esentepe’s unbeaten run is now extended to 15 matches. With only 2 matches to play, second-place Yeniboğaziçi won 5-1 against İncirli have extended their lead to 4 points over 3rd place Esentepe. It would take Esentepe to win their remaining 2 matches and hope that Yeniboğaziçi slips up to go up automatically -that will seem unlikely.
Before the match started I would have snatched your arm off for a point, especially against this Karşıyaka team. With the help of rich sponsors over the last 2 seasons they have invested heavily in the transfer market bringing some fine experienced players. Not all the money has gone into the team the Stadium has had a makeover with a brand-new stand being built on the mountainside. The Stadium remains compact and intimidating Esentepe supporters and there were quite a few of them were seated in the old stand and were very noisy and enthusiastic. With promotion just a point away, Karşıyaka stand was packed with their supporters as well also noisy using air horns.
Foreboding dark clouds were gathering over the mountains just before the match started the heavens opened and not only was it raining it was raining goals at the Esentepe end.
Within 10 minutes Karşıyaka had stormed into a two-goal lead, Esentepe’s defence being cut to ribbons it was like “boys against men”. I feared a real hammering was in the offing.
The rain had made the surface greasy, with Esentepe defenders slipping at crucial times.
Karşıyaka scored after only 3 minutes, with a soft goal, Ahmet Can going down the left crossing for ARSEVEN DAĞER to shoot home. 1-0
10 minutes and it was 2-0 with the Esentepe defence split wide open allowing across from the left by Ahmet Can to be hit home by MUHAMMET ALİ UÇAR. 2-0
Esentepe’s defence was under constant pressure with İlyas, Arseven, and Ahmet Can looking like they could score at any time.
Esentepe were given a lifeline in the 25th minute and it came from a very reliable source this season after Emre was brought down in the box by Hamis. The dependable EMEK KIRILMAZ stepped up to slot home his 9th penalty of the season, taking his tally to 11 goals for the season – not bad for a fullback. 2-1
With the rain subsiding Esentepe seemed to be riding out the storm, Melih who was having an outstanding match, let fly from just outside the box with a shot that got deflected just wide of the left-hand post.
They completed the comeback in the 40 minutes when DENİZ KİBAR latching onto the ball, looked up and sent a 30-yard shot crashing into the net – to great scenes of celebration from the bench and the stand. 2-2.
That was short-lived as within the minute Esentepe were behind again, being cut wide open with AHMET CAN TEMEL bearing down on goal, Osman the Esentepe keeper lost his footing on the surface giving the left winger an easy chance to score.
HALF-TIME SCORE: 3-2.
Esentepe Coach Davut replace his Captain and veteran central defender Nersin with the even more veteran Okan Kibar.
In the opening minutes, Esentepe took the game to Karşıyaka, Melih found Mustafa on the left, and his cross was headed wide by Deniz.
Karşıyaka having the more experienced players continued to play well as a team and still looked dangerous in attack, though Okan was working hard to plug the gaps in the Esentepe defence.
The League’s top goal scorer İlyas was sent away down the left in the 62nd minute seeing his shot flash just wide of the Esentepe right-hand post.
Esentepe equalised in the 64th minute and it was no more than they deserved and just reward for the hard-working MELİH NİŞANCI. From a cross from the right Emre hit the top of the Karşıyaka crossbar and there was Melih left to pounce on the rebound. 3-3.
Esentepe midfield trio of Salih, Emre, and Tuğra were now getting the upper hand on their counterparts as Esentepe continued to look like the better team.
The strength of the Karşıyaka squad was shown when they brought on striker Esin Sonay in the 62nd minute who is third in the Leagues goal scorer charts with 21 goals. He nearly had an assist to that total with a clever flick that sent İlyas through on goal but again seeing his shot go wide of goal.
In the 68th minute, Esentepe’s defence was split wide open appealing for offside, allowing Esin through on goal however the advancing Osman saved the striker’s effort from close range.
Esentepe immediately broke away at the other end when Tuğra sent over a cross from the right that saw Semih head wide with a diving header.
Esentepe were finishing the much stronger team and they continued to press forward in search of the equaliser with Melih involved in the attacks or setting up the attacks.
As the match entered 5 minutes of injury time an Emek corner from the right was headed onto the right-hand post by Okan and scrambled away to safety.
As the final whistle blew Karşıyaka players acknowledged their fan’s applause and cheers in gaining the point to take them into the Super League but they were made to work very hard for it.
FULL-TIME SCORE : 3-3.
SUMMING UP: Those boys by the full time had grown into men an outstanding team effort against such strong opposition – the unbeaten run continues. Davut being the hard taskmaster he is will not be happy with the defending in the first half and will address it this week in training.
Many outstanding performances today, Salih, Emre, Tuğra, Emek but topping all that another MAN OF THE MATCH performance from forward MELİH NİŞANCI what inspired signing he is proven to be, his all-round performance, he’s one step ahead of his teammates all the time – I would say he has been the best “overseas’ signing we ever had.
ESENTEPE TEAM: Osman (gk) ; Mustafa, Devran, Nersin © (Okan 46), Emek : Tuğra (Mahmut 81) ; Emre, Salih ; Ege Can (Semih 62) ; Deniz, MELİH.
Replacements not used: Ulaş (gk), Can (gk), Hüseyin, Dursun, Şahin.
KARŞIYAKA TEAM: Seyit (gk) ; Mustafa, Talat, Aksel (Esin 62), Ali Özbahar, MUHAMMET ALİ, Ertu ©, Ahmet Can (Ahmet Saygı 85), Hamis, Arseven (Abdullah 62), İlyas (Yigit Can85).
Yellow cards: Mustafa, Aksel, Muhammet, Ahmet Can, Arseven, Abdullah, Ahmet Saygı )(all Karşıyaka ). Emek, Tuğra (Esentepe).
Referee: Fehim Dayi – difficult match, difficult conditions, a bit inconsistent.