THE 2008 ANKARA SPORTSWRITERS CUP

Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Footie returned to Ankara yesterday after a long hot and boring summer, but summer is still with us with no sign of a let-up in the 30-plus degrees temperatures.

Maniac Kanka Harun and I met in The Lacivert for the usual pre-match refreshments and then our Limousine arrived with Yankee Kanka and his brother Hooso Kanka. The Limo was fully stocked with cool yummy EFES, a wide variety of Turkish nuts (real nuts, not the kankas !!), and off we went to The Stadium from Hell.

All credit to the driver who amazingly didn’t get lost once on the journey to Hell and we duly arrived at the tail-end of the first match between Hacittepe and Ankaraspor which ended 0-0.

During the penalty shoot-out, which Ankaraspor won, I did a head count of the punters in the Stadium (was I really watching the match ? …… ahem …. No !).

ANKARAGUCU Supporters - 9,394
Ankaraspor supporters - 23
Hacittepe supporters - 0
Genclerbirligi supporters - 15 (but, Maniac Kanka made it 39 !!)
Gendarama soldiers - 1,426

Into the main match then and lots of new faces in the ANKARAGUCU line-up. New striker, Mehmet Yilmaz was absent, as were full-backs El Yasa and Burak which didn’t fill me with optimism in view of Ankaragucu’s defensive frailties last season !

So it proved as the match got underway with Gencler looking sharper and playing some neat football. Ankaragucu was slow to settle and there were numerous attacks of panic-stations in the rearguard. Thankfully, Serkan was having an outstanding match and was dealing with everything that came his way, including too many back-passes to count !

Gencler was looking the likelier team to score and so it proved as half-time approached. A quick break down the left and with the Ankaragucu defence back-pedalling, their new Aussie signing tapped in with Serkan wrong footed.

More of the same in the 2nd half with Gencler looking the more dangerous. Ankaragucu was trying to play the passing game but it was mostly in their own half !

Then came the substitutions we were waiting for. Gokhan and Murat Duruer were introduced with about 20 minutes to go (why didn’t they start the match ?!).

With their introduction, there followed a sustained period of Ankaragucu attacking pressure culminating in the equaliser. An excellent attacking move brought a free kick which was only cleared as far as the new Ankaragucu `stopper` Tolga Dogantez who fired in a rocket which almost burst the net.

The match fizzled-out during the last 5 minutes and we had to endure another penalty shoot-out.

Serkan was the hero saving two penalties and with Onur stepping up to win the match we were ready for celebrations. Shit !! Straight at the goalkeeper ! I still maintain that a professional football player should NEVER miss a penalty !

Moine and Jaba missed the next 2 kicks and Gencler won the match 5-4 on penalties.

On balance therefore, a good win for Gencler and an impressive team performance. Of course, it is early days for Ankaragucu and things can only get better as they hopefully mould together as a team unit.

Although Jaba missed his penalty, he had a good game and put himself about more than he did last season. Maybe some of Bebbe's influence has rubbed off on him ??!! He had two good chances to score in the match. First a header which went narrowly past with the goalie beaten, and second, a free kick which skimmed the crossbar.

His partner up front, Iglesias, is a big strong boy but I remain unconvinced by his performance yesterday. Time will tell. Moine showed some fine touches in the short time he was on and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him.

I should also mention Tolga Dogantez who was steady at the heart of the defence and I believe he will make that position his own. He reminded me of Kirita's style a little.

Good luck to Gencler tomorrow in the final against Ankaraspor. However, as our Limousine is unavailable tomorrow, we will not be going back to Hell !!

Oz Kanka is on the south coast of Turkey on holiday. He is probably suffering from a hangover this morning, but in true Aussie style he will probably still be celebrating again tonight !! Yes, and why not ........ Gencler don't often have a chance to celebrate a win against Ankaragucu !!!

League business starts next weekend with Gencler at home to Kocaeli and Ankaragucu away in Konya. Oz Kanka will be sending out a meeting email nearer the time.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

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