Greetings Kankas and Kankies.
This is how Ankaragucu will need to play for the remainder of the season if they are to safeguard their position in the super League.
To be honest, I had resigned myself to a share of the spoils after Erzurum had equalised in the 2nd half, but I under-estimated the fighting spirit of Ankaragucu who continued to press forward till the referee blew for full time on 90 plus 5.
ANKARAGUCU 2 Erzurumspor 1
Team – Altay, Kitsiou, Kulusic, Pazdan, Pinto, Sedat, Moke, Sacko, Canteros, Boyd and Orgill
Substitutes used – Moulin, Sadaev and Ilhan
Battle Damaged Kanka Damon and I met-up at The Anasson Bar and were full of optimism as Ankaragucu came out of the traps in full-on attack mode. Ankaragucu was obviously looking for a quick goal and could easily have found it in the first 20 minutes. However, Orgill and Canteros both had goal scoring efforts which were directed over the bar. Orgill in particular was guilty of wastefulness in the 20th minute when from a pinpoint cross on the right he headed tamely at the goalkeeper with the goal at his mercy !
Having weathered the storm, Erzurum began to settle and Altay saved a goalbound shot soon after, but just as I was beginning to fear that Erzurum was gaining the upper hand, Ankaragucu opened dthe scoring with a goal to savour and a serious contender for Goal of the Season !
It was on the 25th minute mark and another sweeping move by Ankaragucu down the right. The cross came in to Boyd lurking at the near post and he back-heeled the ball at an angle to the far post which totally deceived the goalkeeper. Sheer class from Boyd and the stadium erupted in celebration.
Erzurum almost equalised 3 minutes later after some sloppy defending gifted the ball to Erzurum but the attacker’s shot was well saved by Altay.
15 minutes of the first half remained and Erzurum continued to press forward searching for the equaliser, but some stout defending and Altay heroics allowed Ankaragucu to go in at half time one up.
The 2nd half was only 2 minutes old when the equaliser arrived and Kitsiou must shoulder responsibility for it. A stupid and unnecessary body-check on an attacker outside the box on the left and the referee quite rightly gave a free kick. Also, Kitsiou, who had already received a yellow in the 1st half, was lucky the referee didn’t produce a red !
Opseth sent in a fierce shot which took a slight deflection off the wall to deceive Altay and in it went !
This was all the inspiration that Erzurum needed and they began to look the likelier team to score. However, their momentum was halted when Opseth was shown a 2nd yellow for hacking Pinto down.
2 minutes later Sacko should have scored when he received a cut-back pass on the right but his vicious shot could only find the side netting.
10 minutes to go and I made the observation to Damon that Orgill had been posted absent in the 2nd half. No sooner had I uttered these words than he scored. However, Sadaev who had been on for barely 2 minutes had used his arm to control the ball before feeding Orgill and the goal was quite rightly disallowed.
3 minutes to go and Erzurum was desperately seeking the winner when they forced two corners in quick succession and Ankaragucu was guilty of losing possession cheaply to allow Erzurum to mount a final onslaught on Altay’s goal.
90 plus 2 and Ankaragucu broke down the left. The corss was sent to the back post where Ilhan was lurking. He automatically made the cut-back to the centre of the box to Orgill who swivelled and angled in a shot which took a deflection to wrong foot the goalkeeper and a goal it was nevertheless. They all count ......... don’t they ??!!
90 plus 5 and Erzurum wasn’t quite finished yet. Desperate Ankaragucu defending resulted in an Erzurum free kick just outside the box. It was goalbound, but Altay to the rescue again to smother the ball Final whistle and sighs of relief all round !
The bottom line is ........... 3 valuable points to move Ankaragucu out of the bottom 3, but Ankaragucu can consider themselves fortunate in the 2nd half when the Erzurum wingers continually stretched the Ankaragucu defence to breaking point. Excellent defending by Pinto, Paxdan, Kulusic and Altay prevented a break-through for Erzurum.
Better teams than Erzurum may have punished Ankaragucu yesterday and no doubt Mustafa Bey will have clocked this and try to solved this problem before they travel to Antalya on Friday.
To finish on a positive note, it was pleasing to see Ankaragucu pressing forwad until the final whistle. Some other teams might have been content to run the clock down and settle for a point !
So to the next match which is on Friday in Antalya KO 8.30pm. Antalya sit comfortably in mid-table, but only 5 points ahead of Ankaragucu, so no reason to go there with a feeling of trepidation. Another attacking display with more accuracy in the final third and we can be optimistic of returning to Ankara with all 3 points.
Bring it on !
All the best from Eski Kanka Jim