June 8, 2023

By Richard Beale….

Esentepe extended their unbeaten run to 16 matches but with second place Yeniboğaziçi surprisingly losing, they could not take advantage of that or gain extra “play off points” over their chasing rivals.


 Sunday April 30 : AKASA League 1: Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.

Weather: Cloudy, occasional sunny periods.

A huge crowd was attracted to this important match and with it being a ‘derby match” as well.

A hard-fought match between 3rd place Esentepe and 4th place Düzkaya, it was always going to be a tight affair, and so it was with very few chances. Düzkaya will be the happier of the two teams especially due to their first-half injuries to Hüseyin (15 mins) and a very serious one involving ex-Esentepe favourite Uğurcan (33 mis) their plans were disrupted then having Batuhan red carded (83 mins) a point was very welcomed.


Miracle Karşıyaka were promoted as Champions despite losing 5-0 to Mormeneşke (Esentepe’s next opponents). Second place Yeniboğaziçi (56 points) needing 3 points to clinch automatic promotion lost 1-0 to Lapta. Esentepe (53 points) are guaranteed a play-off place, and if by some miracle Yeniboğaziçi fails to score and lose their last match to Düzkaya and Esentepe beat Mormeneşke by more than 3 goals they will get promoted. Düzkaya (51 points), Yalova (51 points), Baf Ülkü Yurdu (49 points), and Gençler Birliği (49) are all competing for 3 of the remaining places with one match remaining, it’s all to play for, no dead matches but its if, if and if !.

An Esentepe win against Düzkaya would have them only 1 point behind Yeniboğaziçi and gain a point advantage in the play offs it was not to be they tried were the better team but could not break down a well-organised defence.

The opening minutes were pretty even, both teams committed with some meaty challenges, with referee Utku being keen to let the game flow.

Düzkaya were forced to make an early change after 15 minutes when Hüseyin Türk who was injured previously with a collar bone problem was replaced by Kamil.

The only goal effort came after 23 minutes from Esentepe’s Mahmut who shot from outside the box over the bar.

Neither keeper was forced into action, but the game erupted in the 32nd minute when Semih and ex-Esentepe player Uğurcan were involved in a clash of heads with the Düzkaya player coming off far worse. Paramedics and players from both sides rushed to Uğurcan’s aid and it was clear that he was seriously injured. A stretcher was called for and he was carried off where there was great concern for his well-being.

Düzkaya were forced into a second substation with Murat coming on for the unfortunate Uğurcan

In the 40th minute, there was another nasty head collision again involving Semih and Düzkaya defender Serkan – it was a frightful collision, and talking to people after the match maybe Esentepe should have been awarded a penalty as Semih was definitely taken out by Serkan in the box. Thankfully both players recovered after lengthy treatment, with Uğurcan also continuing to receive treatment from the medics. Semih as a precaution against possible concussion was replaced by Ege Can.


UĞURCAN in Hospital

Concern during the break continued and we were still awaiting the arrival of the Ambulance, which eventually came as the second half got underway. Today (Monday morning) we learned that Uğurcan has fractured his cheekbone in 3 places and is undergoing surgery.

We wish one of Esentepe’s favourite sons our best wishes and a speedy recovery.

Esentepe again started the second half the better side with young full-backs Dursun and Mustafa eagerly overlapping at every opportunity.

59 minutes from a Dursun Ali corner, the ball was partially cleared to Devran who hit a shot just past the right-hand post.

Düzkaya’s defence stayed firm with Afün and Serkan being rocks that Esentepe attacks floundered on. Esentepe striker Melih looked like was given a free role, and he was dropping deeper looking for the ball, and popping up on the flanks, this then caused Deniz to come up against the 2 Düzkaya central defenders making him less effective.

Both keepers remained largely untroubled by having to deal with a few crosses though the match was not boring, it was competitive and absorbing.

Deniz hit a free kick over the bar and was probably fortunate not to have received a red card after having a penalty appeal turned down, appeared to push out at the referee Mr. Utku probably sensing the forward’s frustration booked him instead.

Düzkaya’s defence continued to give ex Esentepe goalkeeper Ali Karal maximum protection as the game entered its closing stages, players were showing signs of tiredness and fatigue.

Esentepe almost took the lead in the 80th minute with a brilliant move, Deniz spotting substitute Hüseyin run on the right who sent over a perfect cross to the far post to another replacement Ege Can whose powerful header was somehow brilliantly saved by Ali pushing the ball away (a la Gordon Banks style), wonderful goalkeeping.

Düzkaya at last produced their first shot of the match in the 82rd minute with Osman pushing away a shot from outside the area from Barış.

There was lots of effort and graft from both sides but lacking quality, Düzkaya was reduced to 10 men when Batuhan was sent off for a deliberate handball in the 83rd minute.

Düzkaya hung on thanks to their tough and resolute defence.


SUMMING UP: Frustration for Esentepe it was always going to be a tight match but it feels like 2 points lost rather than a point gained. These two teams will live to fight another battle again in the playoffs.

Plenty of effort from Esentepe, and defenders Okan and Devran kept Düzkaya goal machine Berkant very quiet. Dursun Ali and Mustafa two youngsters had outstanding matches as did midfield teenager Salih. I thought Esentepe’s “Man of the Match “ was MAHMUT IZOĞLU in for the suspended Tuğra was superb, kept going all match doing his defensive duties, covering well and finding time to attack.

The last League match of the season is next Saturday home v Mormeneşke, a vitally important match, not only for an outside if the thin chance of automatic promotion but 3 important playoff points.

 ESENTEPE TEAM: Osman (gk) ; Mustafa, Devran, Okan (c), Dursun Ali : MAHMUT ; Emre (Hüseyin 65), Salih : Semih (Ege Can 45) : Melih, Deniz.

Replacements not used: Ulaş (gk), Nersin, Şahin, Mehmet Ada, İlyas.

DÜZKAYA TEAM: Ali Karal (gk) ; Serkan, AFÜN, Batuhan, Salih,(Mehmet 81), Ahmet, Uğurcan (Murat 35, Ayberk 81), Barış, Ümit, Hüseyin (Kamil 15, Furkan 81), Berkant.

Red card: Batuhan (83 mins)

Yellow cards: Osman, Deniz, Semih (Esentepe)

Referee: Utku Hammcıoğlu – tough old match for hım, some decisions he got right, some he got wrong.

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