June 8, 2023


By Richard Beale…

It’s hard to put into words what I witnessed on Saturday morning but I am very privileged to do so as Geçitkale dead and buried, scored an amazing 4 goals in 12 minutes to take them through to the BTM play-off final against Miracle Demirhan.


Saturday April 22: Iktisatbank BTM League 1 Red Group : Geçitkale Stadium.

It ain’t over to the “fat lady sings” they say and the fat lady was singing in full voice as Geçitkale produced one of the most amazing comebacks ever, this is why we love football, especially local football, that word privileged I use again to be part of it.

I am trying with difficulty to paint a picture on a mostly sunny morning, I have never seen the Geçitkale Stadium so packed with spectators at a rough guess maybe over 1000. Music, flags, banners, and a band mostly in the colours of blue and yellow were all around the ground. The two canteens/cafes were doing a roaring trade. Everything was well organised, with Police controlling the traffic and stewards directing you to a parking place.

I must comment on both sets of supporters this match with so much at stake it was a potential “tinderbox” ready to ignite. I am glad to report there was no trouble and the same can be said on the pitch as well between the players.

This was largely due to the Referee EMRE OZTAŞLI and his team who all had an excellent match, letting the game flow, no time wasting regarding injuries and when he needed to be firm he was.

Before the match in this final League match of the season, Kaplıca was in second place, 2 points ahead of Geçitkale. A draw would have been sufficient to see Kaplıca through to the playoff final.

Geçitkale stormed into an early lead but Kaplıca soon pegged them back. Geçitkale had the better of the first half, forcing many corners and coming close on a number of GEÇİTKALE STORM THROUGH TO THE PLAY OFF FINAL occasions. Their Captain IRFAN BOŞNAK, a vastly experienced and well-travelled striker was a handful to the Kaplıca defence missing the commanding presence of the suspended Batuhan AK.

Kaplıca’s play was disjointed they were also without their leading goalscorer Deniz Sert, who was missing, though on the replacement bench with a knee injury. Kaplıca were overrun in midfield where Eray was struggling to make an impact against the Geçitkale Captain Mehmet Çavuş. Kaplıca midfield maestro Kaan who normally plays in central midfield was strangely used on the left flank, Geçitkale had the majority of the first-half play.


In the opening 25 minutes of the second half, it was a different story, Kaplıca suddenly found their rhythm and it was Geçitkale who was on the back foot. Ibrahim Çelik was causing all sorts of problems for the home defence, putting them under pressure, and chasing lost causes with his speed. After 67 minutes Kaplıca were leading 3-1, the game was in the bag, Geçitkale’s heads had dropped they looked well beaten. The Kaplıca fans were in full voice, and some of the home support started drifting home. Kaplıca replacements warming up on the side-lines were saying to me “Richard, game over, the game finished!

I think a tactical substitution in the 72nd minute led to Kaplıca’s downfall they withdrew İbrahim Çelik, who didn’t appear to be injured and was quite happy to go off. Geçitkale central defender Tanju Kaya now with one less forward to mark was pushed up front to lend his strength and height to the attack. Without İbrahim Çelik, Kaplıca had no outlet and no one that could occupy the defenders thus with nothing to lose Geçitkale pushed extra men forward with Kaplıca thinking we have 18 minutes left to hold onto a 2-goal lead.


4 mins: A perfect start for Geçitkale a Mehmet Çavuş cross from the left was met with a first-time volley from IRFAN BOŞNAK. 1-0

8 mins: Kaan on the left sent in a very high cross where the Geçitkale goalkeeper Gurcan and Kaplıca forward EKREM AKTAŞ challenged for it. Gurcan flapped at the ball it hit Ekrem’s back and fell obligingly for him to tap home. 1-1

60 mins: Kaplıca’s Eray did well with an overhead kick to retrieve the ball back to Ekrem Aktaş whose low right-wing cross was met in the middle of the goal area by Captain OGÜN DURSUN to smash home. 1-2

67 mins: İBRAHİM ÇELİK on the left wing outpacing a defender seemed to be fighting a lost cause but with his incredible acceleration he managed to get to the ball first just in front of the onrushing goalkeeper Gurcan who got a hand to the ball but could not prevent it going in. 1-3

NOW THE REMARKABLE COMEBACK. (The fat lady started warming up !)

78 mins: A cross from the right was met by replacement HAKAN BALDAN whose low shot beat Yasin at his right-hand post – we thought it too little too late, a consolation goal. 2-3.

83 mins: From another cross from the right a similar goal this time scored by HÜSEYİN YEŞİLBAŞ, we thought maybe “squeaky bum time “ for Kaplıca in the last 7 minutes. 3-3. A draw would be enough for Kaplıca to go through.

88 mins: Another cross from the right was met by ÇAĞDAŞ ÇEVİK who had time to control and turn and hammer the ball into the Kaplıca net – pandemonium on the pitch on the terraces, blue and yellow everywhere – Geçitkale were now in the driving seat, going to the Final – Kaplıca shell shocked, how can this had happened 4-3

95 mins: With virtually the last kick of the match IRFAN BOŞNAK with no defence in front of him simply ran on to score easily.



Kaplıca just hung around their dugout, shocked, no words were needed.

Of course, you feel sorry for them, I have watched most of their matches, and they have given much entertainment and pleasure over the course of 18 matches.

It’s a shame there has to be a loser but that’s sport and that’s football.

Now Getçitkale faces Miracle Demirhan runners-up in the White Group shortly, coming back from the dead I think Geçitkale’s name is already engraved on the Cup!

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