Ankaragucu: A time for change
So, where did we leave off last week? Oh, yes, I believe, Bellshill Kanka Nadeem left us with the these prophetic words:
"If Umit is still manager by Monday morning then we are in big trouble."
Well, Umit is still with us, and we do indeed seem to be in big trouble.Whether Umit is aware that we are in big trouble or not is, of course, another matter. He looked as if he were feeling postively cozy inside his glass booth in the stands where he has been banished for the next six weeks, I believe, as "punishment" for literally turning 19th of May Stadium into his stomping grounds last week. He even posed for photos during half-time and had visitors including Guven Varol who is currently out do to injury. Is Umit's banishment for punishment or protection, I wonder. He certainly didn't look to be suffering.
For this match Umit put the following players on the pitch:
Uğur, Rajnoch, Klukowski, Zewlakow
Duruer,Adem, Özkan (Dk. 56 Mehmet), Sapara, Gabrıc (Dk. 54 Metin)
Sestak (Dk.81 Bednar)
Glaring in his continued absence was Cerny. Still a huge question mark as to whether Cerny will even be able to play this season or not. Last we heard he was still without his license due to some bad blood between him and his former team Slavia Prag--or something like that anyway.
Bora was back in goals tonight. Even Umit was smart enough to realize Ozden should sit this one out after his performance against Manisa. And though the newspaper Hurriyet only gave Bora one out of three stars for this match, he certainly didn't make any blunders on the scale of what Ozden made last week. Otherwise the biggest difference in the line up was the inclusion of Ozkan who played his heart out but also only managed to pull one star. Probably on account of his continual whinging to the referee.
Speaking of whinging, I do believe I'll be able to hear Eski Kanka Jim's plaintive voice all the way from Scotland the moment he reads Duruer's name in the paragraph above. Hold your horses, Jim. Murat actually did us proud during the first half.
As the match began, it seemed as if Kayseri were taking Ankaragucu pretty lightly. Kayseri has a much better record and they are a bigger (about 4 cm taller on avg. if you don't include Bednar who wasn't on at this point), more powerful team than Ankaragucu. The Gucu players were getting pushed around quite a bit and it was clear that it was starting to irk them.
After a feeble attempt by Duruer, Kayseri went on the attack. Former Juventus and Napoli striker Zalayeta took a shot from within the penalty area, but Bora was able to deflect it. Zalayeta looked like he was about to put the deflection away but Uğur got to it before Zalayeta did saving us from an early goal.
This was one example of pretty strong defense on our part that unfortunately gave out at the end of the match.
Murat Duruer was struggling at this point. He had lost control of the ball in the 12th minute, and now he was knocked to the ground by the man defending him. Words were exchanged while Murat was still sitting on the grass. He got up and shoved the Kayseri player in the face straight away. The Kayseri player's response was only a split second behind, and it was at that point that the ref stepped in and separated them, but by this time there was a crowd of players from both squads pushing each other around and running their mouths.
The most vocal was clearly Serdar Ozkan who at 1.67 had been getting manhandled for the entire match. Somehow the ref Koray Gencerler managed to calm things down without giving out any cards, but from this point on the Kayseri fans would boo Ozkan everytime he got possession of the ball. Duruer did not receive a yellow for this altercation but somehow managed to earn a yellow a couple of minutes later for something done off camera.
From about the twentieth minute on it was a lot of back and forth until when in the 38th minute Ziani crossed the ball from the left into the box where Santana rose to meet it with a strong header which flew towards the Gucu goal only to hit the crossbar and come flying back.
Ankara quickly took advantage of the situation and got the ball to Sestak who took it down the right, got it to Ozkan in the center at the top of the box. Ozkan saw Murat coming down the left, passed ahead of him. Murat picked it up, took his time, and then slid it neatly between the keeper and a defender into the lower right hand corner of the goal. Beautiful.
Kayseri spent the rest of the half trying to equalize, but rather ineffectively thanks to the Ankaragucu defense. Klukowski in particular was giving Kayseri hell. By the end of the half he had picked up a yellow, but had done a magnificent job. We went into halftime up by one.
The second half saw some important changes in the Kayseri line up with Moritz coming on for Omer and Kujovic coming on for Ziani. Kayseri attacked and attacked, but the Gucu defense held until the 77th or 78th minute when Moritz set up a goal which Kujovic a Swedish football player of Montenegrin descent put away much as Duruer had done against Kayseri in the first half(watch the video below and compare).
By this time Ozkan had been replaced with the much slower Mehmet and Gabric by Metin. They had both come on around the 55th minute and Mehmet in particular seemed to hinder Gucu rather than help them.
In any case, with the score 1-1, it was obvious that Kayseri could smell the three points that they had been craving to go into next week's Fenerbahce match with. They lifted their game to another level and for the final fifteen minutes or so Ankaragucu were struggling to survive. They managed to make it to the 9oth minute at which point it was announced that there would three minutes injury time.
Shortly after, a strange thing happened. As Kayersi were preparing to to take a corner kick just before the three minutes elapsed, Koray Gencerler, the head ref, kept demanding that players behave, but he obviously wasn't satisfied with their response because this went on for at least a minute. Then he called Ugur out and gave him a yellow card. As Ugur had already picked up one of these in the first half, the ref then proceeded to take out the red. Ugur was gone.
Whether Ugur's absence was a determining factor or not is hard to say, but following the corner there was a huge smash up in front of the goal with the final result being a seemingly forgotten Zalayeta playing the ball off his chest and pivoting beautifully to put the ball past Bora into the corner of the net. Game over.
Kayseri's manager Shota Arveladze, who is apparently also the record holder for most goals scored by a member of the Georgian national team, was ecstatic and let the crowd see it as Kadir Has Stadium erupted in a chant of The White Stripes' anthem Seven Nation Army.
The Gucu players were not so happy and approched the refs to voice their objections. Most persistent was, yes, you guessed it, Serdar Ozkan who talked his way into a post match yellow card. Bravo.
As much as I am not a fan of Kayseri, after all it was there that I earned my Kanka moniker, I will be supporting them in their bid next week to overtake Fenerbahçe in the league. Ankaragucu will be playing a mercurial Besiktas at home but in a closed stadium without Ugur Ucar. Won't be easy.
Umit in Turkish can be translated as "hope," and as Umit Ozat has really let himself go physically since his playing days, we can say that Ankaragucu has a quite a lot of hope. But hope will not be enough to get us out of the mess we now find ourselves in. It is time for change.