Monday, March 23, 2009

Kayseri Tragedy: Billy Clubs and Broken Seats do Nothing to Assuage Defeat

Kayserispor-Ankaragucu 2-0


Getting There
When I announced that I was planning to make the five hour trip to Kayseri, I thought I would be making it alone. But before long Connect Kanka Steven, Mountaineering Kanka Robbie and Philly Kanka Jamie let me know that they were serious about making the trip as well.


I took responsibility for getting the bus tickets a couple of days in advance. When I arrived at the otogar (bus station), it was the usual madness. If you have not been to ASTÄ°, the otogar in Ankara, it is quite an experience. Hundreds of people trying to get somewhere and most in a hurry to do so.

Unlike the US where we have one crap bus company, in big cities in Turkey there are scores of companies, big and small, competing for your liras.

Not really knowing which company to take to get to Kayseri, I walked the length of the building scanning the signs to find companies going there. After seeing a few, I felt my heart leap when I found a small company called Zafer (victory in Turkish). This was a good omen I thought. My heart then fell when I learned that they had no busses going early enough. Not such a good omen after all.

Hopefully, the metaphor of victory coming too late will not apply to Ankaragucu this season.

Eventually, I picked up the tickets from Kent--15 YTL a head (less than 10 bucks)--not bad for a 320km journey (nearly 200 miles).

The four of us met up before sunrise Saturday morning, got in a taxi and headed to ASTÄ°. Upon getting there we fueled up on tea, got on the bus and passed a completely uneventful journey.

The Stadium

Once in Kayseri, we chowed down on some local grub in the city center before heading to Kayseri’s brand new B.B. Kadir Has stadium (capacity 32,864). Spotting blue and yellow and realizing we were not in enemy territory, we hopped out of the cab and joined the rest of the Gucu nut cases.

To everyone’s surprise tickets were 20 YTL each (around 12 bucks). While this might not sound like much, it is higher than normal and quite expensive for some Gucu fans.

Something else unusual happened as we were entering the stadium. Typically, you just show your ticket, the police frisk you and in you go.

This time however, in addition to our tickets the police wanted to see our gov’t issued ID cards. We hadn’t brought them. It didn’t take long though before the police decided four yabanci (foreign) English teachers just weren’t worth their trouble and they waved us through.

So, “what’s the new stadium like already?” I hear you say. Well, despite its ultra modern facade, it is in a word crap. Let’s start with the most important part of any stadium, the bathrooms. Wires coming out of the walls, and urinals that don’t flush were distinguishing features. But, hey, at least there was running water.

The pitch looked even worse than the bathroom, patches of green on a sea of brown mud. Looked a lot like 19 Mayis Stadium used to look in the winter before the artificial turf.

And although the official Ankaragucu webpage lay the blame for the loss squarely on the shoulders of the ref. Huseyin Gocek, I’m convinced the pitch didn't help matters any.

Near our entrance, there were also puddles all over the place, piles of dirt in the stairwell and already water damage in the ceiling near the concession stand. Bravo Kayseri, bravo.

If this is the stadium now, I can just imagine how it is going to look when it becomes old and worn down.

All the Ankaragucu fans were forced to sit in what in the States we call the nosebleed section. This despite the fact that the stadium wasn’t even that full. Fortunately the view wasn’t too bad.

The Match
The match unfortunately was “too bad”.

I knew it was not a good sign when there was no sign of the cornerstone of the team’s defense Santos who has on many occasions saved us.

Within the first minute Kayseri were taking their first corner kick, and they continued to dominate throughout the entire match.

After the match the Kayseri coach Tolunay Kafkas complimented Ankaragucu on the good fight they put up, but it didn’t look like so good a fight to me; it looked like more Ankaragucu flailing and failing. Extremely poor passing, lots of long balls, poor running on the ball and off and a real failure to get off any good shots characterized the team’s performance.

To be fair, there were occasional bursts of good football (mostly by Serkan and Semavi) but these were too few and too far between.

The ref Huseyin Gocek must have thought he was working at a casino because he spent most of the match dealing out cards, including a disastrous red card to El Yasa in the 41st minute.

Ankaragucu was able to stave off Kayseri through the remaining minutes of the first half, but the second half would prove to be less merciful.

In the second half, Kayseri attacked relentlessly, and after at least a couple of shots on goal, in the 55th minute Bilal Aziz sent a looping diagonal pass from the upper right corner of the penalty box. The ball sailed over Serkan who had come a bit too far off the line, and Cangele was able to get his left foot on it. The ball came off Cangele’s foot and rolled along the goalline before finally veering enough to the left to actually cross over. A painful goal to watch in slow motion.

A few minutes later Bouzid tried to get us back in the game with a shot from outside the penalty box, but missed.

Then in the 69th minute Kayseri once again managed to fight their way into the penalty box. The attack was coming from the right, and Serkan was doing his best to cover the near post. But Kayseri’s captain Mehmet Topuz was able to break free from the man marking him, and came rushing towards the far post in time to receive the pass and put it away. (You can watch both the Kayseri goals here)

That was basically the end. The team never came anywhere close to making a come back after that.

The Fans

The Gecekondu boys were in fine form, singing up a storm from the get go. They even received applause from some of the Kayseri fans before the match started.

But after the ref started handing out cards, the chanting started degenerating into obscenities. I won’t repeat the exact words hurled or the gestures made, but a lot of it involved donkeys and sexual preferences. You would think that the Kayseri fans would have just shrugged it off, but a number of them were getting irate.

And then it happened. Yes, once again, my friends, we witnessed the chair breaking and hurling ritual. The spark that set off the fuse this time was the red card to El Yasa. Complete mayhem reigned until the Kayseri police with their billy clubs and armor beat enough of the fans into submission.


Of course, the Kayseri fans had the last laugh. The police allowed them to leave first at the end of the match, and as they were leaving they took great delight in taunting the Gucu fans with words and gestures of their own.

Strangely by the time they let us go the police and the Gucu fans seemed to be back on good terms. Lots of smiles all around. Very odd indeed.

Hakan Kutlu
After the match, Hakan Kutlu told reporters that his boys did the best they could under the circumstances, and basically blamed the ref for Ankaragucu’s failure.

And perhaps it is for this reason that according to Fanatik (a Turkish sports paper) the era of Hakan Kutlu has ended. Hikmet Karaman is slated to replace him.


The Journey Back
It had been a long emotionally draining day, and it was therefore with heavy hearts and lids that we left Kayseri. Hopefully our match two weeks from now with Kocaeli will look much different than this one did.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Acemi Hakem (or worse)


Gencler's latest supporters - ie Patrick and his mates

A drizzily day in Ankara, an early kick-off and not the most fashionable of opposition had me thinking that I may well be the only Kanka to show up for today's match. I was happily surprised then when I walked into the Chopin to find Darts Man Emin there with a mate of his.

Not too long later in rolled Metin from the British Embassy and a bloke (Ajay?) who is fixing the century-old plumbing of the same embassy. Then came in the Aussie Ambassador with his son Patrick and a couple of Patrick's mates. Next up was our Yankee friends Rebecca (who has her own blog - here) and Brendan and last but not least Alpine Kanka Wolfgang and Dan the Man. All up, not a bad turnout.

Genclerbirligi 0 - 0 Denizlispor

Well, let's just say the first half was pretty dire. Playing without a striker, both Aussie Bruce and Kahe were on the bench, pretty much summed up our intentions. Our guys had clearly been told to get a point out of this match and, er, they played as if they were told to lose the match.

Compared to recent weeks this was absolute rubbish. Our passes weren't sticking and control of the ball was pretty dire. Then we come to the linesman. A Denizli player made a tackle which any rugby player would be proud of. Just three feet away was the linesman who saw absolutely nothing wrong. Talk about absolutely pathetic. We were getting kicked all over the place and the referee and linesmen were letting Denizli get away with it. It was a disgrace and it was the first time for quite a few years that I heard Gencler fans actually swearing at the officials (if you know Gencler fans then you know that we never swear).

Denizli had a great chance on a counterattack when one of their players got free. It was one-on-one with the keeper and the player clearly decided he wasn't going to try and score but instead get a penalty. He fell down in the right spot but thankfully the referee made his one and only decent decision of the match.

No real chances in the first half, although Troisi did get a good solid shot on goal, and quite frankly I was wishing I was back home surfing the interwebs, or playing with my son, or at the dentist.

Second-half and Gencler came alive, sort of. We started to play into the box, but at almost no time did we look really dangerous.

It seemed that we kept on playing down the right when we should have been going down the left. The only chances we did have came from the left, the best being a cross into Mehmet Nas who headed the ball just over. We had one ball come off the post (who had that shot I'm not sure) but in general it was pretty tame stuff.

With Kahe and Aussie Bruce brought on we piled on the pressure. Bruce was clearly out of form and Kahe also really couldn't get anywhere. Troisi was making moves, as was Jedinak (who was clearly targetted for some ome rough treatment from the Denizli players) but the goal never came.

With a couple of minutes to go we were attacking and a Denizli player fell down in the box, the ball went into touch and then the referee blew his whistle for the player to be treated. Once the player was fine the referee then gave the ball to Denizli instead of to us for a throw-in. The Gencler players and the crowd were all complaining but the game continued and then came the final whistle.

Match over and obviously pissed off at what was some terrible refereeing Ilhan went up to the referee to explain to him that he was a dickhead. Out came a yellow, Ilhan's second for the match, and therefore out for the next match. Bloody ridiculous.

UPSIDE DOWN ANKARAGUCU

Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

It’s doom and gloom time again in Ankara !

Battle Damaged Kanka Damon will report on the match which he attended in Kayseri yesterday, but I guess he is still recovering from his arduous journey so it may hit the Blog later today.

Kayserispor 2 ANKARAGUCU 0

The headline is from The Hurriyet, and I don’t think they mean that Ankaragucu should be at the top of the league either !!!

Following on from 3 wins on the trot in February, we have had 3 defeats on the trot with Zero goals scored in March. Relegation statistics some may say ?!

There were no favours from the other teams in the relegation zone yesterday. Kocaeli, Antalya and Istanbul BBS all won which puts further pressure on an already beleaguered Ankaragucu.

In 2 weeks time it really is the crunch match (World Cup action next weekend) with 2nd bottom Kocaeli coming to Ankara to play 3rd bottom Ankaragucu with only one point separating them.

Notwithstanding Kocaeli’s league position, they have one of the top goal scorers in the League in Taner, but hopefully Santos will be returning after suspension to keep him on a leash !

I’m not talking relegation ….. yet. However, if Ankaragucu don’t beat Kocaeli in two weeks time it really will be on the cards – no question about it !

Standby for match report from Battle Damaged which is sure to contain more doom and gloom.

All the best from downbeat Eski Kanka Jim

Monday, March 16, 2009

Derby Joy for Hibs

Hibs followed up their 1-0 midweek win over Hamilton with a similar victory over city rivals Hearts.

Hibs hard fought win over Hamilton had lifted them back into the top half of the league table. It was a game that Hibs just deserved to win, maybe they deserved a bit of good fortune after a pretty poor couple of months. The goal was scored by Steven Fletcher late in the second half.

So the win over Hamilton set Hibs up for the Edinburgh derby, Hearts had been favourites as they sat in 3rd place 12 points clear of Hibs.

The game was played in a typical derby style, fast and furious. Hearts started the game better but it was Hibs who took the lead on 15 minutes when Steven Fletcher headed home an O'Brian cross. Hibs then had slightly the better of the first half which ended in a explosive way.

Fletcher was sent through on goal only for the keeper to bring him down and receive a red card. Two minutes later it was Hibs who were down to 10 men when Bamba held back Nade in a similar position.

The second half was never going to match the first with both teams playing a slightly more cautious game. Hearts pushed hard for an equaliser in the last 15 minutes but Hibs held strong and picked up a very important 3 points.

Hibs are nine points off third now but will have to keep raising their game if European football is to return to Easter Road next season.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Downcast and deflated

This is going to be one of my shorter match reports.

Besiktas 3 - 0 Genclerbirligi

I met up with a whole heap of Gencler fans at the Beer Bus bar in Kizilay (for some reason the Gencler fans have been banned from the Chopin bar) and everyone was in high spirits. We hadn't conceded a goal in four weeks and everyone thought we could pull off an upset.

It was not to be. It was pretty clear that we were out for a draw and for quite a while I thought we might pull it off. Koray in defence was great but in the 64th they broke us down. It looked like offside but I'm not sure.

It was then time for full on attack and while we tried we just didn't have the luck. Then came the sucker punch and right towards the end one more when our defenders had pretty much given up.

Oh dear. Denizli next week and a match which we really should... must win.

ANKARAGUCU – THE STRIKE-LESS UN-FORCE !!

Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Apologies to all the English Language experts out there for my headline, but it just about sums up Ankaragucu’s efforts in that department this season.

24 matches played and 22 goals scored is pathetic in any league’s language. Only bottom team Hacettepe and 8th placed Kayseri have scored less.

ANKARAGUCU 0 Sivasspor 2

We met as usual in The Chopin Bar on a cold Ankara ‘Spring’ day with intermittent snow flurries – Winter is loathe to depart from here !

Rebecca from Minnesota, who is studying in Ankara, turned up with her friend Claire from Boston for their first match in Ankara. They were followed by Battle Damaged Kanka Damon, Connect Kanka Steve, Phillie Kanka Jamie, Joanna and Erin.

Lots of optimistic pre-match comments, especially on the subject of the recent poor form of League Leaders Sivas and how we could take advantage of it. We were still optimistic when we saw the Ankaragucu team line-up with De Negris and Jaba up front with Semavi and Murat in an attacking midfield role.

Yankee Kanka joined us in the Stadium, but still no Maniac Kanka !!

Lots of positives to take from the first half from Ankaragucu. Full on attack and they really put Sivas on the back foot. However, it was the old old story with some nice passing in midfield, switching the ball from right to left and vice versa, but usually petering out near the penalty area.

There were lots of ooooos and ahhhhhhs when Jaba went close a couple of times, but the goal just wouldn’t come.

When you are sitting in the relegation area it could well be that it is a psychological problem. Winning breeds confidence and losing works the opposite way !!

Sivas woke up in the second half, but Ankaragucu was still going forward and trying to play football. De Negris wasn’t getting much change out of the Sivas back 3, ‘old boy’ Sedat, Bilica and Murat. Jaba and Murat were hugging the wings but were making little headway as the second half unfolded.

Then, half way through the 2nd half we were all on our feet when a great move out of midfield had Sivas scuttling back. A cut-back from Semavi into the path of Murat and a rasping shot goal-bound with Petkovic rooted to the spot and ……… Goal !!! Well, it should have been but for the post getting in the way !!

A goal at that stage may well have altered the shape of the match, but as usually happens, it proved to be a wake-up call for Sivas.

Shortly after, from a Sivas corner there was a melee in the Ankaragucu penalty box with the Ankaragucu players screaming for an infringement. Yildiz said….. ‘thank you very much’ and tapped the ball in. The referee, Cuneyt Cakir, was surrounded, but having awarded the goal, was not about the change his mind. I have to admit that I was distracted at the time, and so couldn’t spot the alleged infringement. Anyway, the bottom line is that the referee awarded a goal and so end of story !

Still, Ankaragucu refused to give up and were trying to find the equaliser. However, Sivas had their tails up now and were looking stronger and faster as the game progressed.

Five minutes to go and disaster struck. More like a comedy of errors actually ! Kamanan lofted a hopeful ball to beat Serkan which he parried behind himself. The inrushing El Yasa collided with Serkan and they both bundled the ball into the net. I wanted to laugh, but couldn’t quite bring myself to show any emotion except ….. stunned silence !!

The last few minutes were played out with Gecikondu again turning their backs on the match. On the final whistle, the Ankaragucu players disappeared quickly into the tunnel and the Sivas players did a lap of honour at the request of the Ankaragucu tribunes. ‘Old boys’ Murat Erdogan and Sedat were given a special round of applause.

Back to The Chopin for post match analysis which was not very flattering. However, we were all agreed that Santos was Man of the Match. He seemed to everywhere and perhaps can be an example for some of the others ??!!

So, Ankaragucu now drop back into the 3rd bottom slot after two successive defeats, while others around them are picking up points.

From 2nd bottom Kocaeli, there are 8 clubs with only 8 points separating them. There will be grim days ahead as Ankaragucu fight tooth and nail for every point. It is all about survival now !

Next Saturday Ankaragucu is away in Kayseri. KO 1.30pm. Looking for 3 points if our ‘strikers’ can find the net !!!

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Just another night at the Red Lion

A couple of Aussie journos were in town last week doing some work on Australian players in the league. They first went to Istanbul to check out Galatasaray's Harry Kewell and then came to Ankara to see Genclerbirligi's Bruce Djite, James Troisi, and Mile Jedinak. Anyway, I asked them down to the Red Lion for a beer. Little did I know that they almost created a security "incident".

Below is an extract from Matthew Hall's blog on the SBS TV website.
The man at the British Embassy gate was not too happy to see me. Or, maybe he actually was because the dumb question I asked of him went some way to alleviate his fear that the taxi I'd just climbed out of was not a mobile bomb.

It was raining in Ankara last Tuesday night, which didn't help. Neither did the fact our taxi driver was unsure exactly where the British Embassy was...

The big building behind concrete barriers and a barbed wire fence kind of gave it away a bit but the security control booth, like the bridge of big ship looking out over all approaches, gave this place a stamp of seriousness.

Our taxi stopped with a skid right in front. This was not the greatest idea in a place where bombs and attacks on foreign banks and embassies is a reality. So I got out and, in my best Australian accent, asked how I could get into the Red Lion, a bar attached to the embassy.

Red alert to amber alert.

This potential intruder was just an Aussie after a cheap beer.

As it turned out, Tuesday night is darts night at the Red Lion as locals – expats, foreign embassy staff, and actual real live Turks – compete in a local league. Darts in Ankara? Who knew?

Thanks for the link Matthew and nice to meet you and Anita.

Match day in Ankara

As I write this the Ankaragucu Kankas are heading off to the Chopin for pre-match beers (KO between Ankaragucu and Sivas is at 3:15 pm) whilst us Gencler Kankas are waiting for the 7pm KO of Besiktas v Genclerbirligi.

We will be watching the Gencler match in the Knight and Flight Bar on Cevre sokak and then heading off to a party. That means no report on the Gencler match until either very late tonight or some time on Sunday morning.

Don't expect a quick Ankaragucu report either as I'm sure that lot will be heading off to the Red Lion for Scotland v England in the rugby.

EDIT: I'm not going to Knight and Flight for the match, instead going to Kizilay to a bar called Beer Bus. - Oz Kanka

Monday, March 09, 2009

0-2 Deja vu


Not again!!! Yes, unfortunately, as in the first half of the season, Gencler manage to topple Gucu, and again by a score of two to nil.

Connect Kanka Steve, Mountaineering Kankas Robbie and Judy as well as myself all made the journey to the Chopin from Bilkent.

But something was different: we actually made it to the Chopin before Eski Kanka Jim this time. I guess he just wasn’t as thirsty as usual.

No worries though. We didn’t have to wait long before he too showed up, followed not long after by Kaleci Kanka Tansu (Yankee Kanka and his cousin met us at the stadium).

On the Gencler side there was only Spine Kanka Steve, as Oz Kanka Chris had work related duties to attend to. Flying Dutchman Kanka Carlo, I believe, went directly to the stadium.

The Gucu fans quickly filled up the away section, and the Gecekondu guys and gals were in fine form. They even had a new chant to the tune of Turkey’s 2009 Eurovision song contest entry Hadise’s (Shakira rip off) Dum Tek Tek. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVM7PFHWVCw

“Dum” is right. Sounded much better with the Ankaragucu lyrics.

I believe it was also during the first half that some fans began chanting for Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek. Another group of fans began responding with the very negative Turkish “Yuuuuuuu!”.

I suppose the rumors concerning the merger of Gokcek’s team Ankaraspor and Ankaragucu are still floating around out there.

Eski kanka wrote about this in this September 10 entry from of The Round Ball, but since then I have not heard anything new. And our expert on matters such as these Maniac Kanka Harun (Come back Maniac. Come back.) is unfortunately nowhere to be found.

About the football, there is not a whole lot worth talking about. Neither team looked particulary good, and for about the first half hour or so they appeared to be evenly matched.

Serkan was in fine form and in the 35th minute made an absolutely beautiful save when Kahe drilled one from outside the penalty area.

As the first half wound down, however, Gencler appeared to be fighting harder and more successfully than we were. Nonetheless, nothing dramatic occurred, and when our players left the pitch at half time, the fans gave each player a round of hearty applause.

The second half started more or less like the first half had. Our guys were passing as often to the Gencler players as they were to each other. Gencler too were less than stellar, but at least they were giving Serkan some work to do. Gencler’s keeper Isailovic was having himself a bloody holiday.

On the up side, our fans appeared to have infiltrated the home sections of the stadium by not wearing their colors. Soon the Gucu chants were circling the stadium much as they do when we are the home team. Unfortunately for us, chanting does not win matches, goals do.

And in the 63rd minute one happened. I couldn’t see it that well from my vantage point, but according to Eski Kanka Jim, Serkan badly misjudged Momha’s free kick, and Mustafa who had ghosted in behind Serkan was able to get to the ball first. Gencler was up by one.

The rest of the 90 minutes was spent with us playing catch up. And then “In the closing minutes with Ankaragucu looking like lost sheep, a curling shot from Troisi deceived everyone, and with Serkan 'blinded' by the defenders in front of him, Troisi's quick thinking saw the space in the top left corner and went for it. Great goal!”

Following the match, the Ankaragucu chants got nastier. Targets were the ref, the management in general, and Cemal Aydin. The fans also once again turned their backs to the players.

It could have been a lot worse. I think if we had been playing someone other than Gencler, the mood would have been much darker and the chairs might once again have started flying.

When we arrived at the Chopin again afterwards, we found Oz Kanka Chris, Spine Kanka Steve, and Flying Dutchman Kanka Carlo waiting for us. They were complete gentlemen and did not rub even a grain of salt into our wounds. Chris had little Oz Kanka with him and wasn’t able to stay too long, but Carlo went the distance with us.

After leaving, a number of us picked up flowers for the women in our lives in honor of International Women’s Day.

Next week we will be at home playing league leaders Sivas (shudder shudder).

In keeping with Eski Kanka Jim’s near perpetual optimism, however, let us look on the bright side: Ankaraspor was able to take one point away from their match yesterday with Sivas and we were able to beat Ankaraspor in their “stadium from hell” last November, so anything is possible.
video
Highlights from the match.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Gencler v Ankaragucu

I'm working today and so couldn't get to the match (which has just kicked off). Sir Eski will send in a report later today or tomorrow.

EDIT: Not long till fulltime and Gencler are 1-0 ahead (header by Mustafa Pektemek), sounds like Gencler are putting on amazing amounts of pressure and only the heroics of Ankaragucu's keeper Serkan are keeping Ankaragucu in the game. Troisi and Jedinak are having a good game. Aussie Bruce is on the bench.

EDIT 2: Match over... Gencler win it 2-0. Troisi scores in extra time. I'm off to the Chopin to meet the kankas who watched what sounds like a good match. Check this space later on for Sir Eski Kanka's report.

EDIT 3: I found this TRT report on the match. The link is to a video on Facebook. If anyone knows how to "extract" the video so I could put it here, please get in touch.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The greatest Turk

Football columnists can sometimes go a bit over the top... but this first sentence must be one of the most over the top I've come across. Not only that, it also promotes Sertab Erener pretty high up in the Turkish pantheon of heroes:


THE PETER HUGHES COLUMN - HE'S THE GREATEST TURK IN HISTORY...
Peter Hughes; 3 March 2009

…or so the song goes.

And with the greatest respect to Orhan Pamuk, Sertab Erener, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and even Sulyman the Magnificent, you have to think that when he’s on form, Tuncay Sanli IS the greatest Turk in history.

Keep reading

Monday, March 02, 2009

ANKARAGUCU – A STRONG STORM !

Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

Actually, it’s not my headline – it was nicked from Hurriyet, but for the kankas at the match yesterday it was fantastic, amazing, unbelievable, super-fantastic …… OK enuff, but please forgive Hurriyet and me for getting carried away on a wave of euphoria !

The fact is that Ankaragucu has now won 3 in a row !

ANKARAGUCU 1 Hacettepe 0

We met up as usual in The Chopin Bar. Minesota Kankie Ema and her friend Larissa from Brazil for her first match in Ankara (which probably won’t be her last). Kaleci Kanka Tansu, Mountaineering Kanka Robbie, Connect Kanka Steve and Battle Damaged Kanka Damon joined us late for a ‘quickie drinkie’ and then off to the Stadium.

We were given tickets to Gates 11 and 12 so we couldn’t make contact with Maniac and Yankee if they were there ?!

Gecekondu and Maraton were full and there were the usual two groups in Kapali. I counted 13 Hacettepe supporters in the away end, but it could have been 14 – I won’t argue the point !

This was our first chance to see some of the latest arrivals in the team and overall I was pleased with their contribution.

However, the first half was a disappointment with most of the action in midfield, passes going astray and the goalkeepers not overly troubled.

Ankaragucu did have the best chance near the end of the first half when Semavi was put through with only Recep in goal to beat. I was screaming for him to cut the ball back to the incoming and unmarked Jaba, but he elected to shoot. Great save from Recep who spread himself out and saved Semavi’s shot.

Half time and still all to play for, but the kankas were shaking their heads in frustration at Ankaragucu’s feeble attempts to put Hacettepe under sustained pressure and create chances. Some of the adjectives used were ….. boring, congested midfield, uninspiring …… get the picture ?

The second half got underway with a more determined Ankaragucu performance but the cutting edge was still missing, although Jaba had a couple of near things which on another day might have produced goals.

There were still too many high balls being punted up to De Negris and when he was able to win anything in the air, there were no takers from his knockdowns and back headers. Sevami was busy beavering away in midfield and the left wing in the mould of old favourite Umut Bulut and he was my man of the match. Santos was commanding in defence throughout the match and he was Robbie’s man of the match. I agree he had a great game and is improving every match.

Ankaragucu moved into overdrive halfway through the second half with a concerted period of pressure and it was from one of those forward thrusting moves that the breakthrough came.

New Captain, Burak, played the ball out of the right side of defence and signalled for Ceyhun to make a run from midfield to the right wing. The pass was perfectly weighted and Ceyhun took the ball around a defender and sent over an inch perfect cross for the in-rushing De Nigris to bullet a header into the top left hand corner with Recep clawing air. Defo a contender for goal of the season !

Cue …… up the volume, smiles back on faces and join in the singing and dancing !

In all fairness to Hacettepe they didn’t let their heads go down, but even their small band of supporters would have to agree that Ankaragucu should have had the match wrapped-up long before the 75th minute.

There was a lap of honour from the players at the end, and the tribunes gave Hakan Kutlu a rousing chorus too. Reminded me of the scenes after the Scottish League Cup Final of 2007 when the fans wouldn’t allow the Hibs players back to the dressing room !

There was also a performance from Barbaros on the centre circle doing an impression of an Ankaragucu amigo ! Heady stuff !

Back to The Chopin for match analysis and the resulting forecast for next week’s encounter with Gencler. The unanimous decision was …… FOUR in a row !!!

Wins for Eskisehir and Denizli still keeps the pressure on Ankaragucu, but at least we are out of the 3rd bottom position. That ‘honour’ now belongs to Antalya.

Watch your in-boxes for details of next week’s meeting date and time.

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

PS ……. Congratulations to Connect Kanka Steve for witnessing his first Ankaragucu goal at the 19 Mayis Stadium in 5 attempts !

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hibs 0-0 Falkirk

Hibs were credited last week of producing their worst performance of the season when they were beat 2-0 away to Inverness.

Yesterday at Easter Road they must have been close to matching their award at Inverness. Both Hibs and Falkirk were terrible and the scoreline reflects what both teams put into the match.

Falkirk probably had the best chance to score but when the final shot sailed over the bar I think the crowd accepted there would be nothing to cheers about from this match.

A lot of people are calling for Mixu to resign but I think Hibs are as well letting him go untill the end of the season. If Mixu would stop trying to fit all his strikers into the starting eleven at the expense of dedicated midfielders I think Hibs would produce more fluent football.

As things stand Hibs will soon find themselves looking over their shoulders at the bottom teams if no victories are achieved.

Looks like we are all in for a nervous finish to the season.

Dan the man

It's just a photo, but have we ever needed an excuse to publicise our members spreading the word. Here is Dan the Man midweek at the Madrid-Liverpool match