Monday, March 09, 2015

Ankaragücü 1 - 1 Diyarbakırspor

Ankaragücü fans were always going to give Diyarbakırspor fans(1) a hard time. Our ranks include a fair number of nationalists, who lead the chanting of "Şehit ölmez, vatan bölünmez" ("A martyr cannot die, the nation cannot be divided") after the national anthem is sung every game. It is also a footballing tradition in Turkey to wind up every team based on the perceived characteristics of the region it came from. As outsiders, we couldn't tell whether the pointed jibes at our opponents from this Kurdish-majority city breached the subtle distinction into racism. I suspect it would have been best to ask the away fans themselves, were they not so eager to escape after the match.

Eski's pre-kick-off photo: Cider, Battle Damaged and Ahmet Kanka also in attendance

Nevertheless, the two sets of fans have no bad history, and there seemed to be more angst on the pitch than off. Ankaragücü's extreme offensive tactics of the past few months met with a stone wall in the form of Diyarbakır's extreme defensive tactics.

In the first half, the away team played with classic table football tactics - winning every contested ball, scooting it around and then waiting for Ankaragücü to open up enough of a gap in the midfield and defence to go straight through to a one-on-one with the keeper. Fortunately for our squad, though Diyarbakır may have been technically stronger, faster and better at dribbling and passing, they sent almost every single ball into row Z as soon as they saw the whites of Gökhan's eyes. All but one, sadly. In the 16th minute, a lone Diyarbakır player managed a beautiful run straight through the Ankaragücü attack, midfield and defence, and placed a perfect ball into the far corner of the net from the left-hand side.

In the second half of the match, Diyarbakır switched their tactics to put most of their team standing in the box simply deflecting endless Ankaragücü corners. I doubt they troubled our goalkeeper a single time in the entire half. Their unwillingness to move from a solid defensive position meant lots of opportunities for Ankaragücü - maybe twenty or more shots on goal, of which just one sneaked in. In the 89th minute, Aytaç met a corner kick with a strong shot that sailed into the roof of the net.(2)

Ankaragücü will probably be pleased to have got one back and surprised to have been allowed so many attempts. Not only were we up against a strong Diyarbakır team, but a lot of the regular players were out of position, and so we didn't look as good as we have done in previous weeks.

1. Who tend to prefer calling their club Amedspor after the alternate Kurdish name for the city, from the Assyrian Amida, though this usage has been officially rejected by the Turkish Football Federation.
2. I am reliably informed that this is what happened: around fifteen seconds before, the Maraton tribune suddenly started running around and there was talk of a stabbing attempt, so I missed the goal.


  1. Thanks John, great report

    Good point for us and i would have settled for a point at start of play. We have great spirit under the new coach which was lacking under kaplan.

    We wont make the playoffs but its important to build for next season

  2. Did Diyarbakir officially apply to change their name? Nice report by the way.

  3. Agree. Great report from Johnny.

    If the children who were sitting around us in the Stadium read this Blog, then I send my apologies to them for my constant foul mouth tirades at the effin referee for some of his unbelievable decisions, and some of the Dee-aye-bay-kir players for their play-acting and time wasting tactics !!

    Having the lion's share of possession in a footie match is a good thing to frustrate the opposition and wear them down. However, Ankaragucu couldn't take advantage of their possession in the 2nd half, but had they done so, it would have been about 5-1 and that's not an exaggeration ! Thanks to Aytac we were able to breathe a sigh of relief at the end and be grateful for that ONE point.

    Agree with Nadeem that our play-off chances have now gone. After 3 consecutive draws, I think we must think the 'Gencler Way' and settle for a mid-table position.

    Next season will be the crucial one for escaping back into the PTT League !

  4. Here's the more nuanced version of the Diyarbakırspor/TFF case:

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