Let me get the painful bit out of the way straight away.
Turkish Cup final
Kayserispor 0 - 0 Genclerbirligi after extra time (Kayseri win 11-10 on penalties)
It was a depressing end to what was a great day. French Kanka Hande, Spine and myself started up early and at about 9 a.m. armed with refreshments and buns from Capitalist Chain Coffees we headed off for the Genclerbirligi training grounds to join the crowds heading off to Bursa for the final.
French Kanka Hande starts the day with a coffee
As predicted by Spine the buses left late but no-one really cared, nor were we annoyed when the buses stopped five minutes later so we could could stock up on beer. It was 11:30 a.m., still hardly past Umit Koy and the three of us (Maniac Kanka Harun failed to show up) were sitting in the sun at petrol station drinking beer. French Kanka admitted she had never done such a thing. Last time I had done it I was probably 17.
The buses finally get going (we were with the five Alkaralar buses) and well, you all know what bus trips are like, except we had beers...
But quickly moves onto the beers
At lunchtime we stopped in some town (Bozyurek I think) and I hear someone call out "Oz", it was Maniac Kanka Harun who was travelling with one of the other supporters groups. This called for a celebration and so French Kanka and myself went for a walk, found a shop and bought some more beers.
Maniac Kanka was clearly not the only Ankaragucu fan to be in the convoy on our way to Bursa as French Kanka found pro-Gencler, Gucu graffiti on our way back from the shop. Gencler fans would never do such a thing.
Meet the others and for the second time that day we found ourselves sitting in the sun at a petrol station drinking beers.
Oz Kanka, Maniac Kanka, French Kanka and Spine enkoying the atmosphere of another petrol station
A bit of a sleep on the bus and into Bursa. We are forced by the police to stop a kilometre away from the stadium and walk. Singing as we go, getting stares from the locals and cheers from others. Ertank drove with some mates of his to the match and he met as as we waited for our tickets and then it was into the stadium having luckily arrived late enough to miss the pre-match entertainment.
The www.alkaralar.com lot
The Kayseri fans were in full force. They had obviously arrived well before we had and pretty much filled the maraton and the away kale arkasi. We only had a couple of thousand fans in the gecekondu section, but were boosted by a few Ankaragucu fans and a very impressive Bursaspor contingent who sang pro-Gencler songs all not (interspersed with pro-Ankaragucu and pro Bursa cheers).
Flares at the match
This was typical of Genclerbirligi. How many times this season have we controlled play but not been able to get shots on goal? Kayseri seemed as if they were playing for penalties from the very start.
Mehmet Cakir missed a couple of which really should have been put away and I think we only got one shot from outside the box actually on target.
Towards the end of regulation time it was clear that Gencler were getting tired but we held on. Extra time and we could have scored but failed... Towards the end it was so clear that Kayseri wanted penalties as they spent most of the time on the ground.
We played well, proof of which came during the presentation ceremony with Mehmet Nas named as "Man of the Match", but not good enough.
Penalties are evil. Dominate the game and then ... arrgh
I'm not going to describe every shot, I'd be here forever. But the key moments.
Kayseri keeper takes their first penalty and scores. It should have been taken again but the referee was incompetent.
Kahe takes our first penalty and misses. From this point on we were under the kosh.
Peric saves one and the first five shots ends up 4-4. Sudden death.
Hopes still high
We follow Kayseri shot for shot and then Peric saves one. Joy in the stands. Get the next one and we have won.
Up steps El Saka. Shot saved.... Hearts collapse.
A few more shot for shots, including our keeper Peric scoring, and then Peric is a hero again... or maybe the shot missed, not sure.
Again, this one for the Cup and Ergun misses. Heads in hands... but we were still in it until...
Mehmet Cakir steps up for the second time (all players had already had a go and they were in the second round).
Cakir misses. The Kayseri players and supporters go wild and we are stunned. A minute or so later we Gencler supporters applaud Kayseri on winning and they reply with "fuck you". Classy that lot.
We congratulate Kayseri. Next to Oz Kanka is Ertank.
We call over the distraught Genclerbirligi players and give them a warm round of applause. If you think we were downhearted I can't imagine what it must be like for them, especially those who missed in the shoot-out.
Us Gencler supporters for not the first time that night started up chants for Bursaspor, their supporters came dressed in their colours but shouted for us all night. Great stuff and I hope the club do something to express their thanks for such support.
Back onto the buses and the long long journey home.
I also have to give a big thumbs up to the Genclerbirligi administration, something I don't think I have done for a long long time. The club paid for the buses and tickets to the match. I can't imagine that happening anywhere else.
Back in Ankara at 5:30 am and then off to work. Deflated? yes... but still a great experience.