By Richard Beale….
The script was meant to be “Lambs to the Slaughter” but that was ripped up as it turned out to be a David and Goliath contest. The underdogs gave the Champions Elect a bloody nose and at the end, the favourites were left reeling and clinging onto the ropes.
Results: MIRACLE DEĞİRMENLİK SK 2 ESENTEPE KKSK 2
Saturday, October 14, 2023: AKSA League 1: Sadik Cemil Stadium.
What a match what an atmosphere, this is what local football is all about supporting your team against all odds and being part of the TEAM, OUR VILLAGE, OUR FAMILY.
Değirmenlik have it all a modern Stadium, rich sponsors, and ambitious owners, which has led to many transfers, they already have a Super League team playing in League 1 (a wolf in sheep’s clothing).
They have won their opening 3 matches convincingly, this match was a “blip” they will be crowned Champions before the season ends.
Esentepe brought with them massive support and really pleased to announce the biggest ex-pat following I have seen since covering Esentepe matches 15 seasons ago. The ex-pats were very happy as Değirmenlik having pots of money didn’t charge an admission fee!
The pre-match music was superb as well we had “Eye of the Tiger” and the Turkish version of Madness hit “Baggy Trousers”. Değirmenlik team was welcomed by the “Champions League theme” and a tinsel-blowing machine which didn’t work very well!
With drums, horns, and chants both sets of supporters provided a super atmosphere.
Esentepe Coach Davut Kansu chose a very attacking ploy using an ambitious 4-3-3 formation.
Değirmenlik is a team of great Super League experience, big, tall, tough-looking players, none other than their midfield player Ilyas Bulut who is tall and massive and a very good footballer as well. Providing the youth and speed to the team are two ex-Esentepe youngsters forwards 19-year-old HÜSEYİN DEYNEKLİ and 21-year-old ŞÜKRÜ ERDOĞAN. On the Değirmenlik replacement bench sat another ex-Esentepe favourite KAĞAN GÖRNEÇLİ.
7 mins: Değirmenlik nearly took an early lead when a cross from the right found Şükrü at the near left hand post, his shot was brilliantly saved by Ahmet from point-blank range before the ball was hacked away.
13 mins: Esentepe made a quick breakaway a great ball from Mahmut found Salih who stole in on the right into the area, forcing the experienced Değirmenlik Goalkeeper Hasan Piro to dive to his left to the push Salih shot away.
19 mins: The goalkeeper was in action again this time diving to his right to push a Yusuf shot away.
Değirmenlik midfielder Semih Ünaldi was bossing the midfield, he was the architect, and behind many of the home team moves, he was aided by the giant Ilyas Barut as Esentepe were being forced to defend frantically.
Oğuz and Devran were often forced to make last-ditch tackles but the “thin red line” remained intact.
Değirmenlik eventually took the lead in the 35th minute, when Esentepe gave away the ball in midfield, Şükrü spotting the run of Hüseyin Deynekli into the box as he was about to round goalkeeper Ahmet the Esentepe player brought him down. Değirmenlik’s leading goal scorer KASIM TAĞMAN put away the penalty despite a brave attempt by Ahmet who got his hand to the ball but couldn’t push it away. 1-0.
Despite playing 3 upfront Esentepe was unable to exert any pressure on the home defence, Deniz was being fed very little and was getting frustrated.
Esentepe just before the break was looking tired, ragged with passes going astray.
HALF TIME: 1-0
Coach Davut made two changes at the break withdrawing Semih and Ali replacing them with Ege Can and Tuğra.
Likewise, Değirmenlik withdrew Hüseyin Sadiklar, and surprisingly their playmaker Semih Ünaldı to be was placed by Ulaş and Adil.
Esentepe equalised in the 57th minute when Deniz bearing down on goal was upended on the edge of the penalty area by defender Halil Ibrahim Uçar. Being the last man Halil was red-carded by referee Mustafa, which clearly upset the home team.
Captain EMEK KIRILMAZ with a free kick central, fractionally outside the box, eyed up the situation and beat the diving Hasan Piro on his left-hand side, with a great free kick. 1-1
The sending-off had clearly rattled the home team, it was their turn to be looking ragged, giving away unnecessary fouls with passes going astray.
The match was held up for 7 minutes when referee Mustafa Öztugay limped off with an ankle injury to be replaced by the 4th Official Fehim Dayı in the 68th minute.
Esentepe made what I thought was a strange substitution in the 75th minute replacing Mahmut (who I thought was having a great match, maybe because he was already booked) to be replaced by 16-year Mehmet Ada Arıkan.
78 mins: Değirmenlik down to 10 men showed why they will be Champions taking the lead when ILYAS BARUT at the far post headed home a Firat free kick. 2-1
With Hüseyin Deynekli and Şükrü posing little threat now Esentepe went on the offensive, pushing men forward, Deniz now operating in a slightly withdrawn position spotted an unmarked Ege Can with a great ball at the left-hand post, the forward hit a first-time volley just past Hasan Piro left-hand post.
With 7 minutes of injury time being played Esentepe bravely battled away and was rewarded in the 90 +5 minutes when a Salih free kick from the right found Ege Can left side of the goal, he did well to control the ball to get in a cross that was missed by both attackers and defenders but not by OĞUZ GÖKTAŞ at the far post who put the ball in.
The team ran over to their supporters where they were swamped by their happy and delirious followers.
Esentepe weren’t finished yet the “champions elect “ were groggy, reeling. 90+6 minutes Salih struck the Değirmenlik crossbar with a shot from outside the box.
90 +7 minutes Deniz weaved his way along the right-hand side byline forcing Hasan Piro into a smart low save.
FULL TIME SCORE: 2-2.
SUMMING UP: I said in my pre-match “ Esentepe will not roll over, whatever happens, Değirmenlik will know they have been in a game”
And so my words came true Esentepe refused to throw in the towel they gave Değirmenlik a bloody nose.
Many brave battling performances by Esentepe players Oğuz, Devran, and Mahmut having great games.
I thought young SALİH KARAL was Esentepe’s “Man of the Match” starting at full-back and keeping ex-teammate Hüseyin Deynekli quiet, switched to midfield in the second half and was everywhere, unlucky not to score.
ESENTEPE TEAM: Ahmet (gk) : SALİH, Oğuz, Devran, Emek (c) (Şahin 86): Emre, Semih (Tuğra 46), Mahmut (Mehmet Ada 75) : Ali (Ege Can 46), Deniz, Yusuf.
Replacement not used: Onur (gk), Nersin, Okan, Burak, Dinçer, Gökdeniz.
MIRACLE DEĞİRMENLİK TEAM: Hasan (gk, C) ; Hüseyin Sadiklar, (Adil Yalçın 46), Yasin, Halil Ibrahim, Hasan Ulukök (Cahit 64), Semih (Ulaş 46), Firat, Şükrü (Murat 89), Hüseyin Deynekli, Kasım (Kağan 58),ILYAS.
Red card: Halil Ibrahim Uçar (Değirmenlik 56)
Yellow cards: Yasin, Şükrü (Değirmenlik) : Oğuz, Mahmut, Ahmet (Esentepe)
Referee: Mustafa Öztugay – excellent, replaced by Fehim Dayiı after 68 minutes – he was good as well)
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