Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ankaragücü: back to the DRAWing board

The Bar
Before I get into the match, there is an important point I should attend to. A little while back, Eski Kanka Jim broke the bad news to us that our friend Murat's Tunalı Hilmi Fat Cat was closing and we were going to need to find a place to watch away matches.

Well, it seems we may be returning to the Chopin. Ali Bey the manager who consistently pissed us off is no longer working there, and has been replaced by our friend İsmail who has promised to give our Gucu matches priority. On top of that, they are now serving their Efes in ice-cold, frosty mugs. Do we need any other reasons?

The Car
So after meeting up with Eski Kanka Jim and Maniac Kanka Harun at the Chopin, we got a call from our old friend Yankee who was generous enough to drive us out to the outskirts of Ankara where the Ankara Football Tournament is being held.

In spite of the training grounds being so inconvenient to get to, it was quite a nice experience. Security was no stricter than it is to get into a shopping mall in Ankara, and At 5 TL (about 3 dollars), tickets were also cheap, and apparently all proceeds from the tournament will be going to assist with hunger relief in Somalia. So, if at all possible, do make it out to watch some matches in this tournament. If not, you can always contribute to a reputable charity such as Unicef.
C'mon, Türkey. Hand in hand for Somalia

From left to right: Eski Kanka Jim, Maniac Kanka Harun and, Yankee

The Match

A score we did not actually deserve, but that we are happy to take

Yes, once again a draw for our boys in blue and yellow. Looking back at our preseason performances, there hasn't been a single match against a worthy opponent that we haven't either lost or drawn.

On one level, I suppose we are at least moving in the right direction. After losing to Swarovski and Sporting Lisbon early on, our last three matches have all been draws, but this is not what concerns me the most about last night's match.

What concerns me the most is that we were lucky to come away with a draw--very lucky. Ordu were clearly the stronger team. They ran fast, passed fast, made space and took advantage of that space--and just never fnnn let up.

With them playing like this, it wasn't surprising to any of us when they scored from a goal mouth melee following a corner in the 25th minute of the match.

The fans even managed to get flares into the match. Unusual here in Ankara.

Turning to our squad, neither of our strikers appeared particularly threatening. Vittek, who despite showing determination and grit, had few chances, and when he got them, blasted over. He was still a presence on the pitch but seems to have lost the edge we all witnessed in the last World Cup. It could be that he is still holding back a bit in an effort to avoid yet another one of the injuries that he has been plagued with. We can only hope that he regains his old magic.

Meanwhile Fatih, who came on about half way through the second half, was out there taking his time, but the Ordu players were not about to stand back and allow him to set up his shots. They harassed him enough to essentially neutralize him. Nevertheless, he came through in the end when, in the 89th minute, he turned a corner kick into our one and only goal.

As for the rest of the team, our players were continually getting bogged down in the middle of the pitch while Ordu players escaped to the wings where they gladly received passes unhindered.

In retrospect, it is astounding that Ordu didn't win handily. That they weren't able to do so probably says more about their finishing ability than it does about our defense. Our defenders, need to play with more poise. As Eski Kanka Jim put it, "there were too many panic clearances with the ball being hoofed anywhere. There were several instances of this when a cool head could have controlled the ball and brought it out with passing movements."

In light of our shaky defense, Serdar's presence in goals was comforting. He looked rock solid, and made a beautiful vertical leap to tip a shot that was destined for the back of net back over the crossbar instead.

I was also quite impressed, as usual, with Sapara who did his best to set up attacks. Unfortunately, these generally fell apart due to another player's (e.g.Murat Duruer) inability to anticipate where they needed to be.

Finally, recent addition Tonia was a pleasant surprise. Always running, never giving up with plenty of ability, I look forward to great things from this young player on loan from Mersin.

It is worth noting that we were missing last year's player of the year: Jan Rajnoch who was in Oslo starting for the Czech national team. They lost 3-0 to Norway. I suppose Norway deserves some good news during this very difficult period they are working through.

Let's all hope that those fans who are at tonight's Ankaragücü-Karabük match witness a better performance than we did yesterday.

For some excellent photos of the match, go to the team's official website.


  1. Connect Kanka6:37 pm

    We know that it is completely unreasonable for Ankaragucu to start playing well anytime before March.

  2. Anonymous6:51 pm

    Well said Battle Damaged Kanka Damon - good and accurate report.

    Damon forgot to mention that at certain points in the match (ie, often !!) all our attention was taken up with watching the aircraft on final approach to Esenboga Airport right above the Stadium. Does that give some kind of indication of the standard of footie on offer last night ??!!

    The 2nd round of matches is on in a few minutes as I write this. All two matches on TRT3. A win for the 2 Ankara Clubs is essential if we are looking at being in the Final on Sunday

    All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

  3. I also forgot to mention that many of the fans were more interested in iftar to break the ramadan fast than they were about seeing the end of the first half.

  4. excellent report and pictures damon. Sounds like i didnt miss much.

    Im just watching the game against Karabukspor the now, picture is terrible keeps cutting out because of the rain.

    Tonia looks really good

  5. ach well at least i got to see some of the game before it cut off. Really impressed with Tonia. Still 2-1 at the moment. But he is so fast and works hard to.

    Still not happy with the defence though.

    Well done to ankaragucu for donating to somalia

  6. Ok, so that's what happened. Thanks for letting me know that it cut off, Nadeem. I had recorded it, but couldn't find the second half. I'll have to look for the final score now.

  7. Hey, so we actually won this one. Goals from Sestak and Tisdell. Ok, so maybe things are starting to look up.