By Richard Beale….
Esentepe and Yılmazköy had to share the points in this opening match of the 2023-24 season played in very warm conditions.
Results: ESENTEPE KKSK 1 M. HACIALİ YİLMAZKÖY SK 1
Saturday, September 23, 2023: AKSA League 1 : Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.
A Very large crowd was present at this opening fixture, including a good sprinkling on ex-pats and quite a few Yılmazköy supporters made the long journey from Güzelyurt.
Esentepe hit by injuries, especially in midfield, fielded all of their summer signings AHMET VATANSEVER (Goalkeeper), ALİ AVCISOYU (midfield/ forward) and OĞUZ GÖKTAS (defender), also gave a first-ever senior appearance to 16-year-old defender MEHMET ADA who had impressed in the pre-season matches.
Yılmazköy started the game brightly, and Esentepe goalkeeper Ahmet was forced into making a brilliant save in the 10th minute pushing over the bar a shot from Barış, after Yunus Emre outstripped Mehmet Ada on the left before crossing.
Yiımazköy missed another good chance in the 25th minute when from a nicely flighted free kick from Barış, Mehmet Dulkadir was completely free in the penalty area and put his volley wide.
In a rare home attack in the 30th minute, Yusuf made a great 40-yard pass over the defence finding Salih running onto the ball. The talented midfielder still waiting for his first senior goal, must continue to wait as his shot hit the right-hand post and the rebound was cleared.
Young Mehmet Ada was having a tough baptism of fire against the skillful Yunus Emre Bal who again beat him on the left, and two more players in the area before he was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Devran. A clear-cut penalty was converted by BARIŞ KÜÇÜK in the 41st minute. 0-1.
Yılmazköy looked nowhere like a side who escaped relegation last season through the playoffs. The visitors deserved their narrow lead, with Esentepe lacking cohesion and were too predictable.
HALF TIME SCORE : 0-1
Mehmet Ada debut was cut short during the break when he was replaced by Ege Can, with Salih moving to right back.
Ali Avcısoyu shot over the bar from an Esentepe attack as the home team were having their best spell of the match so far.
In the 58th they equalised with a superb goal following a great defence-splitting ball from Ege Can, ALI AVCISOYU running on into space, fielded the ball, rounded goalkeeper Huseyin, and shot home for his first goal for the club. 1-1
Esentepe were now on top, but still had to be careful from fast Yiımazköy breaks led by their best player Yunus Emre Bal, who had now switched wings and was also giving veteran defender Emek problems.
Coming up to the final 15 minutes it was end-to-end stuff, Deniz was through on goal but was thwarted by a brave diving save at his feet by Hüseyin.
All 3 results are on the cards, in the 86th minute a lightning-quick break from Yunus Emre on the left crossed to Barış but he shot over the bar.
In the 7th minute of injury time Emek who was previously booked for a spot of handbags, put in a late tackle and was correctly given a second yellow card.
FULL TIME SCORE: 1-1
SUMMING UP: A fair result, in the opening game of the season, lots of positives for both sides. Early days, Esentepe definitely missing injured midfielders Emre and Tuğra.
Nersin had a sound match at the back, and Semih worked hard in many positions he was asked to play. New signing Yusuf, got through lots of work upfront. Ege Can coming on as a half-time replacement also made a difference. I thought new signing OĞUZ was Esentepe’s best player normally a defender he was asked to play as a defensive midfield player and put in a good shift.
ESENTEPE TEAM: Ahmet (gk) : Mehmet Ada (Ege Can 46), Devran, Nersin, Emek : OĞUZ ; Salih, Semih,: Ali (Ilyas 58) ; Deniz, Yusuf.
Replacements not used: Osman (gk), Okan, Mahmut, Şahin, Hüseyin, Burak, Gökdeniz, Dursun Ali.
M.HACIALI YİLMAZKÖY TEAM: Hüseyin (gk) ; Salih, Ersal, Mehmet Ince, Mehmet Soner, Mehmet Dulkadir (Osman 64), Tarkan (Haydar 84), Ozner, Sinan, Barış, YUNUS EMRE BAL.
Referee: Hüseyin Özkan – good match.
Red card: Emek (Esentepe 94).
Yellow cards: Devran, Ege Can (Esentepe) ; Mehmet Dulkadir, Salih, Tarkan (Yılmazköy).
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