Ankaragucu back in playoff spots after 1-0 win; up next Manisaspor
By Scouse Kanka (seen here disguised as Statto)
ANKARA -- A first half goal saw us beat bottom club Tarsus Idman Yurdu on Saturday to return to the playoff positions in the third tier of Turkish football.
But with league leaders Manisaspor up next we’ll have to drastically improve on what can only be seen as another woeful performance against relegation-bound opposition if our season is to continue beyond April 30 – never mind see us return to the giddy heights of Turkey’s second division.
In the 38th minute of an error-ridden half, Omer Bozan headed into the Tarsus net from short range – the ball passing through the keeper’s hands -- following a ball whipped in from the right-hand corner that bounced out to the 28-year-old midfielder.
What until then had been a balanced game of end-to-end football, appeared suddenly to be swinging our way – fists raised to herald a strike from just outside the box just minutes earlier that flew narrowly over the bar.
And boy did we need something to cheer.
With numbers down on the back of terror warnings and dire performances, the cold had returned with a venom – the afternoon feeling more like a bitter December noon, than a March to summer promise.
But on Saturday, the gloom lifted – albeit perhaps momentarily -- and our hearts began to beat again.
For the first time in what has been eight disastrous games -- which has seen us fall from tight on the tails of the league leaders to a disastrous 8th place – the team again began to look like it had actually played together before.
While Goksu Alas began to provide a teasing available option on the wing, lanky midfielder Salih Sefercik chased and harried, regularly picking the ball up from defense and closing in on the Tarsus goal.
In the 26th minute the 32-year-old hit a rising drive from just outside the area that beat the desperate leap of the Tarsus goalkeeper but passed narrowly over.
At times, it gelled, it appeared coordinated and managed. However… this was not a great fearful giant one-eyed beastie waiting to be floored. This was Tarsus Idman Yurdu, who remain 7 points adrift at the bottom of Tier 3.
For much of the game, they looked every bit our equals, and can only have been lifted by a plucky performance that will no doubt see them travel the 400 kilometers home wondering how they – not us – are facing Tier 4 oblivion.
Saturday April 3 is Manisaspor v. Ankaragucu, and then there’re just four games left to seal our playoff fate.
Come on Ankaragucu.