Sunday, February 08, 2009

Ankaragucu play well but still can't pull it off

Report brought to you by Battle Damaged Kanka Damon

Well, there is one positive side to us playing a team like Trabzon: we get on television. It was fun actually getting to see the team close up as they came off the bus. As they entered Trabzon’s packed 23,500 capacity Huseyin Avni Aker stadium on a big screen TV. Even Jaba looked larger than life.

We had an interesting line up this time. Maybe Hakan Kutlu has been reading the blog?

It looked like a 3-5-2 formation with Jaba (Ceyhun 81 min.) and De Nigris up front; Hasan (Kerem 46min.), Ilkem, Barbaros, and Semavi (Ozgur 88 min.) in mid-field; and Bouzid, Santos, and a returning El Yasa (glad to have you back, man) in defense.
The biggest surprise, however, was a guy named Kork Bora in the goal. I didn’t even know we had a guy named Kork Bora on the team. Actually, I am taking a moment to check the teams “official” page. Nope, he’s not listed, but then neither is De Nigris. Someone update the damn page!

I’m not sure, Serkan may be injured, or perhaps he’s down with the flu or something.
Whatever the case, They showed him in the stands wearing some kind of weird furry, brown parka. Looked like he was standing with defender Tolga Dogantez.

As things began, it was pretty clear that Trabzon was trying to dictate the terms of how the match was going to be played. And with what looked like a 4-2-4 formation, it was apparent that they were interested in bringing the ball up and scoring some goals fast.

Yattara managed to get the ball into our penalty area in the first twenty seconds, and passed to Selcuk who took a shot, and missed. Gokhan got his feet on the ball but our defenders managed to get it away from him and clear it.

The match continued at a pretty relentless pace into the fifteenth minute when our Guinean friend Yattara took a free kick getting the ball to Egeman who in turn headed it in the vicinity of the far post where Tayfun was waiting to slam it home. Not much Mr. Bora could have done about that one. For a video of all the goals try this site.

Five minutes later, De Nigris managed to get the ball into Trabzon’s penalty area only to have Selcuk knock him on his butt. The Gucu boys protested demanding a foul, which according to the commentators I have been reading would have been warranted, but the ref. Ilker Meral told them to play on—but not before showing Jaba yellow card.

Actually, not really clear what Jaba got the yellow card for. It might have been for play immediately following the goal position. Judge for yourself on YouTube (Battle Damaged, vtunnel links don't work. If you have the original link I can put it in - Oz Kanka).

Ilker made it up to us a little while later when he failed to call a foul in the penalty area against Santos who had come down hard on Gokhan Unal’s ankle.
And so the first half ended with Trabzon up 1-0.

It was not the massacre that some had predicted, however. Oh no, we were seriously disrupting whatever game plans the Trabzon coach Ersun Yanal had come up with and were looking very threatening at times. We were actually moving the ball up the field with some nicely executed passes which meant we didn’t have to rely as much on haphazard long bombs from the keeper as we do in most matches.

In short, this match was still very much up for grabs. And in the second half we did some grabbing.

After a flubbed attempt by Gokhan and an impressive Black Sea welcome for new Trabzonspor player Alanzinho who came on in the 63rd minute for Yattara accompanied by blue and bordeaux balloons, flags, fireworks and confetti, with play continuing all the while, it was our turn.

In the 76th minute Barbaros caught Trabzon keeper Sylva enjoying the Black Sea view a little too far out in front of the goal. Barbaros chipped it from the top of the penalty area sending Sylva scrambling backwards with arms flailing trying to get a piece of the ball, but in vain.

The ball dropped neatly between the tips of Sylva’s outstretched fingers and the bottom of the crossbar landing oh so nicely in the goal. What a moment to savor the laws of physics.

Two minutes after scoring the goal, Barbaros scored a yellow card.

And at about this time came a series of unsuccessful Trabzon attacks (the most dramatic of which was Gokhan’s scorcher which nailed the crossbar after Bora deflected it. Amazing it didn’t rip Korky’s fingers off.

We had reached the ninetieth minute and it looked as if we would be escaping from Trabzon with one point which would move us up and out of the relegation zone.

Alas it was not to be. With four minutes of injury time remaining, Selcuk was awarded a free kick. As the players were struggling for position in front of the goal, the ref blew his whistle. Something was not to his liking. He approached the mass of players and broke things up.

Our boys then sought to reestablish position, but before they were able to, Selcuk took the kick sending the ball in the air right in front of the goal. Former Ankaragucu player Umut Bulut came in like a train and executed a wicked header that looked like it would leave him with whiplash for the rest of the season. It came off his head and whizzed past Bora who remained frozen in place stunned. The Ankaragucu dream was shattered.

In a move that was totally gratuitous, the ref. poured salt into our wounds by giving Ilkem a red card, and so we played the remaining two minutes a man down.
In retrospect, we were a long shot to win or even tie this match, and I think in the spirit of Eski Kanka Jim we need to look at the bright side.

We played much better than we have in ages with some impressive passing and incredible tackles. We were also playing smarter than we have in a while. Semavi was looking much better than he did in his first match, and Santos and El Yasa did a magnificent job keeping the defense tight. Barbaros was ferocity personified.

According to Trabzon coach Ersun Yanal, we taught them an important lesson, and they are going to work to shore up the weak spots we helped reveal before their next match.

So, even if we lost, we gained respect. And to tell you the truth, in my estimation that is worth more than any number of points.

It would have been nice to get the points too though.


  1. Another great report from Battle Damaged who has surely been infected by yours truly with the 'optimism thing' which affect most Ankaragucu supporters !!

    However, I have to say that 'respect' is not so important when you are languishing in the relegation zone. So here we disagree !

    Something really positive must be done, and very soon, to bring this losing run to an end, otherwise we will be sunk without trace before we can remedy this situation.

    Respect is what Altay and Karsiyaka have, but .... look how long Altay have been trying to return to the Super League !!

    I dread to think how many matches we will play in an empty stadium (for punishment) if we don't start that revival .... NOW !! Ankaragucu supporters are your best friends (when they are winning), but .......... if they are losing .... it doesn't bear thinking about really !!

    The clock is ticking !!

  2. Anonymous7:26 pm


    Thanks, but I think you overlooked a not so subtle point. We gained respect from playing the way we did against TRABZON in Trabzon.

    If we played the way we did on Friday consistently, we would win a good percentage of our matches and the corresponding points along with the respect.

    The reality is that for most of the season we have been playing, well, like shit. Sorry if the language offends anyone, but shit is actually too mild to describe how we were playing before Friday.

    Ersun Yanal claimed to have learned something from this last match. Let's hope that Hakan Kutlu has as well.

    If I were him, I would show the team footage of past matches and have them compare and contrast.

    Then if we play in a similar fashion against Antep and Istanbul BBS, Hacatepe and Gencler(esp. if they play the way they did today), we stand a chance of accumulating enough points to pull us out of the mess that we are in.

    If we don't do it in the next four matches we are pretty well buggered because after that we have Sivas, Kayseri and the big three with a couple of weaker teams thrown in.

    So my hope is that the performance on Friday was not just because there were TV cameras present, and that the Gucu players will put as much into less dramatic matches. After all, respect and points are not mutually exclusive.

    Battle Damaged

  3. This will be an all time first on this Blog ! I'm going to give Battle Damaged Kanka the last word !!!