Greetings Kankas and Kankies.
Ankaragucu’s fighting spirit was put to the test yesterday in Istanbul against the 2nd top team who have been chasing Ankaragucu for most of the season.
Reduced to 10 men just before half time, it seemed that Ankaragucu would implode when Umraniye took the lead just after the break. However, Ankaragucu staged a remarkable fight-back in the 2nd half to deservedly find the equaliser.
Umraniye 2 ANKARAGUCU 2
Team – Akin, Yasin, Sinan, Yusuf, Erdem, Ishak, Abdullah, Owusu, Zahid, Murat and Aatif
Substitutes – Ali Kaan, Geraldo, Sahverdi, Ariyibi and Cem
The kankas, Battle Damaged Kanka Damon, Maniac Kanka Harun, Kaleci Kanka Tansu and I met-up in The Bira Park Bar full of optimism, but our faith in the team was put to the test after a match of ups and downs !
It was a great start by Ankaragucu when they took the lead after 9 minutes. A corner on the right was cleared to just outside the box and the ball played back to near the right goal line for Owusu to pass to Aatif who fired in at the near post from an acute angle.
Umraniye was still attacking and 5 minutes later it was Akin to the rescue as he tipped a goal bound header over the bar.
However, Akin was responsible for conceding the equaliser on the half hour mark when he rushed out down the right goal line to recover the ball which Yacine was chasing, but he was a second behind, and when Yacine turned him, he crossed at a very acute angle to curl the ball in with the defender on the line unable to stop the ball hitting the back of the net.
Approaching half time and Owusu was unlucky to receive a 2nd yellow card (the first having been given only a few minutes before) for a clumsy tackle (certainly not malicious !!) and off he went to leave Ankaragucu with a mountain to climb in the 2nd half !
Ankaragucu almost surprised us 5 minutes into the 2nd half when Murat scorned a great chance after a defensive error. One on one with the goalkeeper, he shot direct at the goalkeeper and the chance was lost.
2 minutes later and chaos in the Ankaragucu penalty area when an attacker was scythed down in the box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Antonio side-footed the penalty inside the left post with Akin diving in the opposite direction.
Lots of glum faces in The Bira Park with optimism gradually draining away !!
Half way through the 2nd half and Ankaragucu was gradually taking control of the match, notwithstanding that they were ‘the gallant 10 men’, and putting Umraniye under pressure as they sought the equaliser.
Geraldo almost scored with a shot from just outside the box, but it was well saved. Then, 8 minutes later the goalkeeper made another acrobatic save from a Sinan header. 5 minutes later it was Geraldo who set-up Ariyibi for a shot which was well saved again.
However, the equaliser eventually came with 8 minutes of the match remaining and it was a goal worthy of winning any match. Murat took the throw-in on the right touch line, which was played to Ariyibi who took the ball past a defender to the right goal line and sent a perfect cut-back to Yasin on the left who stroked the ball in with the goalkeeper helpless. An excellent and well constructed goal !!
High praise for the Ankaragucu team for their 2nd half efforts, and a special mention here for Geraldo who probably had his best match for Ankaragucu with his impressive workrate.
Ankaragucu therefore retain their top spot in the league with a 3 points advantage over Umraniye, but the chasing pack are still closing with Bandirma only 2 points behind Umraniye and Eyup, Istanbulspor and Erzurum not far behind.
Ankaragucu will be at home next Sunday against mid-table Adanaspor, so no let-up in the pressure with the run-in starting now.
As always, watch this space for the outcome.
All the best from Eski Kanka Jim