Greeting Kankas and Kankies.
Ankaragucu did the biz yesterday to churn out a valuable win against a useful Kocaeli team to overtake them in the league and regain 2nd top spot.
ANKARAGUCU 2 Kocaelispor 0
It was a sunny, but very cold day, when the kankas met up at the Stadium – Cider Kanka John, Apple Kanka Erman and Genclerbirligi Kanka Alex. We were joined by ‘Honourary Kankas’ Emir and Murat. Emir, pictured below is a long term friend of mine and was a founder member of the famous Pegasus Group, who are now unfortunately defunct, but as you can see from his jacket, he still wears their motif with pride.
Murat is an ever present in Maraton and has attended every away match this season so far. Whether he will be brave enough to make the long journey to Diyarbakir next week remains to be seen !
The Stadium was not as full as 2 weeks ago, but still a good attendance considering the low temperature ! Gecikondu was full and all the other tribunes about half full. The away end was empty and this was probably a Police decision in view of the historic problems between both sets of fans.
Team – Ferhat, Goksu, Volkan, Mehmet T, Muhammed, Adem, Salih, Sertan, Omer, Emrah and Timur.
Substitutes used – Sedat, Hasan A and Harun
Ankaragucu started out in determined fashion and should have gone ahead in the 5th minute when Timur found himself free in the penalty box, but his weak shot was easily saved.
However, 2 minutes later we were celebrating when Omer evaded 3 tackles and calmly shot into the bottom corner. A clinical and well taken goal.
Kocaeli’s response was positive and they looked particularly dangerous down the left wing with their No21 showing fleet of foot and keeping Goksu busy. The No21 sent over 2 dangerous looking crosses which were well defended by Vokan and Mehmet to deny the Kocaeli attackers homing in on them.
On the half hour mark, Emrah had a great chance to extend the lead when he had a goal bound header saved.
Half time arrived and we were reasonably happy with the performance of the team. However, we were mindful of being in the same situation against Manisa and so were not ‘counting our chickens’. We were all aware that a 2nd goal was necessary to be sure of claiming all 3 points !
The 2nd half was only 8 minutes old when the 2nd goal arrived, and it could easily have been a candidate for goal of the season if the TV cameras had been there. A sweeping move out of defence resulted in the ball being sent into the path of Emrah just outside the penalty box. He had time to control the ball and send a fantastic shot to the top left hand corner with the goalkeeper nowhere !
7 minutes later there was a scare when Volkan went to ground after a heavy tackle. The stretcher was called for and the ambulance crew prepared to take him on board. However, after a lengthy delay, he managed to hobble off, with assistance, back to the dressing room. Able deputy Sedat replaced him and 10 minutes later Hasan replaced Emrah who left the field to thunderous well deserved applause, and not just for his great goal, but his tremendous workrate.
With 15 minutes to go, Kocaeli was looking dangerous as they searched for a way back into the match, but the Ankaragucu defence was holding up well. However, there was a scare on the 80th minute when Kocaeli ‘scored an offside goal’ from a fast breakaway. It looked a good goal from our tight angle, but the linesman was quick with his flag and there wasn’t any protest from the players.
Almost at the final whistle we witnessed some fancy close passing on the left wing between Salih, Timur and Omer, which resulted in Salih breaking away and firing in an angled shot which hit the bar and went out.
Into time added on and Harun was put through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but he shot straight at him instead of trying to go around him. Then a few moments later, in a confrontration with a Kocaeli player, Harun was shown a red card for an incident which we all missed, and from the re-start the match ended.
So, a crucial victory after the disappointments of the past 2 matches when only one point was won. Not only did it move Ankaragucu back into 2nd position in the league, but with Buca beating league leaders Manisa, the gap between 1st and 2nd was reduced to 4 points.
Optimism is perhaps back on the agenda for some, but with a visit to Diyarbakir scheduled for next weekend it may be premature to think ............’League Champions’ ! I would prefer to reserve judgement for now and see where Ankaragucu is at the half way point when the winter break is on us and the picture becomes clearer.
Back to The Chopin Bar we went to celebrate. Let’s use the old cliche ............ let’s take one game at a time !!!
All the best from Eski Kanka Jim