By Richard Beale….
Top of the table, unbeaten it doesn’t get much better than this, another “big” club scalp taken, another wonderful afternoon in Esentepe.
Results: ESENTEPE KKSK 1 GÖNYELI SK 0.
Saturday, November 18, 2023: AKSA League 1: Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.
Weather: Sunny periods, blustery later.
Another huge crowd, again a good turnout from the ex-pats, a great atmosphere created by both sets of supporters, drums, drums, and drums!
Esentepe’s unbeaten start to the season continues with 9 matches so far, another big club has failed, the bigger they are the harder they fall. Make no mistake about it Gönyeli is a big club, one of the oldest clubs in the TRNC, and many a season spent in the top League and also Champions as well.
Gönyeli is a talented and classy team, you could tell that, they have made some big money transfers. All this talent was still not enough to beat an Esentepe team, that has a “never-die attitude “, and togetherness, they work so hard for each other, and with the backing of their vocal supporters, it is going to take something special to beat them.
Esentepe created the better chances and hit the post, and home Goalkeeper Osman, struggling with a knee injury only really had one save to make.
Gönyeli settled well, urged on by their many vocal support, drum banging away but not creating anything that their possession would warrant.
It was Esentepe who came close to scoring with a clever free-kick routine in the 30th minute. Esentepe were awarded a free kick just outside the box, with Emek the normal free-kick specialist poised to take the kick, however, it was Deniz who took it, seeing his shot strike the inside of the right-hand post, with goalkeeper Ali Faruk well beaten, the rebound flying across the goal being frantically cleared.
Gönyeli hadn’t allowed Esentepe to settle, especially in midfield where their classier players were getting the better of Tuğra and Mehmet Ada. Salih Karal Esentepe’s most creative player was playing a right-wing role, so his talents were largely wasted.
However, Esentepe’s defence looked rock solid with Gönyeli leading goal scorer Ilyas Yılmaz getting little joy out of Nersin and Oğuz.
Esentepe supporters found their drums as well so it was a constant noisy atmosphere.
Ege Can set up Yusuf with the last kick of the first half but his curling shot from the left went just wide of the Gönyeli left-hand post. HALF TIME : 0-0
A strong breeze had now arrived favouring Esentepe with the wind at their backs from an Osman long kick Ege Can managed to latch onto it as it bounced in the Gönyeli goal area however his flick was deflected off the advancing Ali for a corner.
In the 58th minute, Esentepe came close to increasing their lead from an Ali corner Ege Can produced a spectacular overhead kick that was brilliantly pushed over the bar by goalkeeper Ali Faruk.
Esentepe took the lead in the 65th minute and what a brilliant piece of opportunism it was by DENİZ KIBAR. Chasing a lost cause on the left wing he dispossessed a defender and carried on to the byline, goalkeeper Ali Faruk came charging out of his goal too fast and missed the ball to allow the Esentepe forward to shoot into an empty net. 1-0.
The Esentepe supporters went bananas applauding and cheering their team, and Gönyeli supporters not to be outdone banged on their drum as well – it was a terrific atmosphere.
Esentepe continued to look the more likely team to score Yusuf sending in a 35-yard shot just wide in the 68th minute.
As the game entered into its latter stages Gönyeli pushed Esentepe back into their own half but their experienced back 4 of Emek, Nersin, Oğuz and Mahmut were rock steady with Tuğra and Mehmet Ada giving everything to help cover the defence.
In the 82nd minute, Gönyeli’s only real chance of the match came when Ilyas slipped in Berkant but he shot against the diving Osman as he tried to round him and the goalkeeper gratefully scooped up the rebound.
Gönyeli pushed their big defender Erol to supplement their attack, and Esentepe reacted by bringing on another defender Devran to counteract this.
Esentepe in 6 minutes of injury time were really under the cosh but defending like their lives depended on it with the home supporters urging the referee to finish the match. Esentepe held on and once again joyous scenes as the team acknowledged the great home support that their fans had given.
The bandwagon rolls on and may it long continue.
ESENTEPE “Man of The Match: ”NERSIN OSMAN. So often in past matches, striker İlyas Yılmaz has got the upper hand over the Esentepe defender scoring lots of goals. Not this time İlyas didn’t have a sniff at goal such was Nersin’s performance – he was quick to spot danger and was well supported by Oğuz. It was a Captain’s performance by him.
ESENTEPE TEAM: Osman (gk) ; Mahmut, Oğuz, NERSIN (c), Emek : Tuğra, Mehmet Ada : Salih (Ali 57) : Ege Can (Semih 70), Deniz, Yusuf (Devran 85).
Replacements not used: Can (gk), İlyas, Emre, Okan, Burak, Şahin, Gökdeniz.
GÖNYELI TEAM: Ali Faruk (gk) ; Cevdet, Erol, Ahmet Eser (Berkant 75), Ibrahim, Berkay (Mustafa 64), Metin, Kahraman, Ibrahim Kaba (Dennis Faik 75). AHMET CAN (c), İlyas.
Yellow cards: Nersin, Salih, Mehmet Ada, Ege Can, Deniz (Esentepe) – Ahmet Can, Berkay, Dennis (Gönyeli
Referee: Kerem Eran – not one of his better games.
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