Eight league matches and two Cup games later and Genclerbirligi finally registered a win which keeps us in the top flight for next season. Phew!
Genclerbirligi 2 - 1 Rize Teamen
Not the biggest turnout today, even though the weather was perfect. Was it due to it being Mother's Day? Alpine Kanka Wolfgang and his son Chris (not sure if it was Christian or Christoph so I'll just stick to Chris) are now definite Maraton boys (they used to watch the matches from the safe confines of Kapalı). Flying Dutchman Kanka Carlo, Legal Kanka Saadet and Big Al also joined us for pre-match drinks but then they buggered off for some birthday party. Wimps.
With all matches this weekend being played at the same time I wasn't expecting a large crowd but the fact that the away team almost outnumbered us was quite dispiriting. Still the couple of thousand who were there for Gencler sang loud and long. Amazingly, for the first time in quite a while there were no anti-Cavcav songs. Although there were a few as we walked out of the stadium.
First half and not a lot happening. As seems to be usual we were dominating but couldn't get the shots in. Had a few though with the best chance falling to Okan Ozturk who took a pass from Isaac Promise but weakly hit it straight at the keeper.
There were many shaking heads at halftime. The questions being asked were why did coach Mesut Bakkal bring Okan back on for Sandro who seemed to have been quite good recently. The other question was why was Mehmet Cakir sitting on the bench.
Not long into the second half and we had a shot come off the post. A few minutes later another good chance went begging. Not quite as it was a very good effort by Engin but their keeper saved it. Almost immediately their keeper sent through a long, long ball. A Teaman picked it up and made Mr. Fish look like a complete fool, the ball was then slotted in past Jesus. Teamen, one-nil up.
I could not believe it. Here we were not that long ago looking forward to the prospect of getting beaten up by Italian police next year in the UEFA Cup and now we were seriously looking at the prospect of playing in the second division.
The call went up in the stands for Cakir to be brought on. Bakkal finally heard us and got the bloke onto the pitch. The Teamen supporters were singing their hearts out at the hope that they wouldn't get relegated and then we struck.
ON about the 80th minute Mehmet Nas made a brilliant run down the left, getting past a few defenders and then passed it on to Isaac who struck it well and bang, GOAL. 1-1
We started jumping up and down. As far as the mathematics went a draw would have probably been good enough for us to stay up.
Three minutes of extra time and for some reason or another one the Teamen was sent off. We think it was for elbowing but I'm not sure. A minute left and a foul was committed by a Teaman about 40 yards out. Mehmet Cakir struck it with might and the ball came back off the post. I thought that was it but then Isaac managed to get hold of it and whacked it into the net.
And so we finally got ourselves a win. I came back home and told Mrs. Oz Kanka the good news. "Is that why all the people are in the streets blowing their horns?" she asked sarcastically. Hepiniz Istanbul cocugusunuz!