The Kanka Group at their first "away" fixture this season
Two days ago a cryptic message on the Ankaragücü Twitter feed said "See you this Sunday in OSTİM" (Ankara's light industrial area). We weren't due to have a home match, and no-one could ever remember hearing of there being a stadium there. A little more research and we discovered it's the home stadium of OSTİMspor and Bugsaşspor (formerly Polatlı Bugsaşapor, formerly EGOspor, the team of Ankara public transport employees) - and indeed, Bugsaşspor turned out to be our hosts among the warehouses of OSTİM.
OSTİM - were it not Sunday we could have got some metalwork done
The stadium seemed pleasant enough, should you not have to use the bathroom or fire exits or sit down anywhere at any time, and the pitch well-kept, but at 10TL (£2.58) the tickets were on the expensive side for this league. With thousands of Ankaragücü fans paying up, Bugsaşspor may be able to pay for a well-needed clean up.
So: the football.
The first half looked like a disaster for Ankaragücü. "Couldn't put two passes together" was one opinion heard. The truth was that the team were overexcited and kept making mistakes in the midfield: poor passes, poor tackles, poor long balls, a few overwrought attempts to pass the ball all the way down the pitch from head to head. The team appeared to be missing Hasan, our midfield general: the passing game had stopped, meaning no nice balls out wide and in place of order, chaos.
"Take but degree away, untune that string, and, hark, what discord follows!" - Shakespeare, on a similar match near Çanakkale.
Thankfully, Bugsaşspor's attack, whilst agile and fast, was not capable of putting a shot anywhere near target.
The second half began with a rogue goal from Bugsaşspor. The team had run past Ankaragücü's defence dozens of times in the first half, yet took their only goal by accident with a weak header while all the defenders were in the box. The Bugsaşspor fans, oddly, didn't really respond to this.
Bugsaş are another very physical team, and Ankaragücü were giving as good as they got as well. Unfortunately, the referee was hard-pressed to keep up with the pace with which players fell to the floor and started to give decisions only roughly related to the state of play. That's the generous version. A vocal segment of the Ankaragücü fans expressed the opinion that he was in the pay of Melih Gökçek as part of his scheme to relegate the club. Of course, the referee could also have had a traumatic childhood incident in which he was beaten up for being a Beşiktaş fan, but the fact that he also occasionally made mistakes in favour of Ankaragücü seemed to weigh on the side of his innocence.
Much of the rest of the second half was taken up by players taking turns to fall over near the halfway line and free kicks being awarded, only to go nowhere. Neither team looked brilliant, to say the least. But then, out of the blue in the 85th minute, the midfield opened up and Harun skipped around the Bugsaş defence on the left hand side, placing a perfectly-weighted pass over to Orhan on the right, who beat the remaining defenders and put the ball in the net for a 1 - 1 finish.