A glorious sunny spring day in Ankara on Saturday failed to get the Gencler kankas out in force. At the Chopin Bar Spine, French Kanka Hande and myself were quickly outnumbered by the Ankaragucu kankas. Not to worry, they had to find a pub which had the Ankaragucu match on while we jumped into a taxi headed for the stadium where we experienced our first pleasant surprise of the evening (the Efes at the Chopin was pleasant, but not a surprise).
Went through the outer police cordon and through the gates (no queues last night) and then inside where the police normally do their third degree strip searches, only to find... no police!
Instead there where private security people, or crowd controllers or whatever they are called. A friendly frisk, and certainly no attempts to smell beer on my breath, nor to find the odd 50 kurus coin and we were in.
Later I heard from Ertank (who joined us at the match) that this is the result of the implementation of a parliamentary law passed five years ago. Good to see the law working so quickly. Perhaps it is this law that the EU is always praising for having been passed but at the same time lamenting the lack of implementation.
Quite a decent crowd (by Gencler standards), including Alpine Kanka, his boss Hans and another fellow whose name I didn't catch.
Onto the match, and Gencler went on the attack from the off. Burhan had a good shot saved early on and it wasn't long before we went ahead thanks to a lovely bicycle kick from Mustafa Pektemek. Mehmet Nas had sent the corner in, the Hacettepe keeper buggered up trying to hit the ball out of the area and saw it fall for Pektemek to show off. 1 - 0 after 14 minutes and it looked like plenty more could be coming.
A few more shots from various players and then Pektemek got his second. This one was all thanks to great work by Kahe who took the ball down the right. He got around his man and could probably have settled for a corner but instead sent in a perfect lofted cross which found Pektemek running in. He whacked it and the keeper didn't stand a chance.
Two-nil up but Gencler still seemed to lacking something, perhaps that was thanks to Jedinak being injured, or perhaps because I was being distracted all the time by a bunch of 12 year-olds who were sitting in front of us. They had been brought to the match by their PE teacher and were actually quite fun. It was probably the first time they had ever met foreigners and they were amazed that we support Genclerbirligi, until I pointed out to one of them that I have been in Ankara longer than they have been alive. Whenever the chants went up they turned to us either in amazement, to learn what the chant was so they could join in, or perhaps just to laugh at the silly foreigners shouting in Turkish. They were all very nice and full marks to the PE teacher for bringing them along.
Second half and Hacettepe actually looked better than us for long periods and their goal from Tozo (who is on loan from us) was a fantastic strike from just inside the box. Koray was probably a little bit at fault for this one by not taking Tozo on. Still 2-1 up and no one was worried.
Our third goal came from a brilliantly taken free kick from Bilal which found the net via Koray's head. Nice stuff.
Full time and Gencler went off without the usual celebrations, thus resulting in some whistles from the crowd. It was understandable though. The win put the nail in the coffin of any mathematical chance Hacettepe had to stay up. These players see each other quite often and many our close friends.
For the Aussie watchers out there, Aussie Bruce played the full 90 minutes but didn't do very much. I'd give him an average rating for the match. James Troisi came on towards the end and didn't get too much time on the ball. Sometimes though I wonder if he should stop trying to get around three players on his own and instead pass the ball. Admittedly when he pulls it off it is spectacular.
Off to the Platin Bar to meet the rather unhappy Ankaragucu fans. As Sir Eski Kanka said in his post, things are tight at the bottom. Three matches left for Gencler and none of them look easy - Galatasaray, Sivas and Kayseri (not in that order).
I'm not sure why but the person who uploaded the goals onto youtube has disabled embedding. So click here for the goals.