Greetings Kankas and Kankies.
There were a poignant few minutes prior to the kick off when the names of all the Turkish soldiers killed recently in Syria were read out over the loudspeaker system to respectful applause from both sets of supporters.
Another full house for yet another critical Ankaragucu match with even the away end full to capacity. There was also a love-in between all the Ankaragucu tribunes and the Sivas end which more-or-less continued throughout the match – a pleasant change from the normal hatred which flows back and forward, especially against the Istan....spit...bul teams.
Unfortunately, Ankaragucu couldn’t cope with the Sivas onslaught in the final 20 minutes of the match when the 10 men finally succumbed, just as we were hoping to win at least one point.
ANKARAGUCU 0 Sivasspor 3
Team – Ricardo, Kitsiou, Pazdan, Kulusic (captain), Cebrail, Michalak, Lukasik, Stanojevic, Saba, Rodrigues and Orgill
Substitutes – Orkan, Ilhan and Faty
Battle Damaged Kanka and I met at the Cay Cafe outside the Metro AVM for lunch prior to entering the Stadium, where we were joined by Murat Kaya, his son and Ismet Bey.
The first half was fairly even with both teams scorning chances to open the scoring. Even the 2nd Yellow Card for Stanojevic in the 35th minute didn’t interrupt Ankaragucu’s game plan of attacking the Sivas goal.
However, it was Sivas who were first to threaten in the 11th minute when their No8 received a pass on the left. He cut inside and sent his shot just past the right post.
6 minutes later it was Kitsiou to the rescue as he headed a dangerous free kick clear.
Ankaragucu’s first serious attempt on goal came 2 minutes later when Ankaragucu was awarded a free kick on the right. The ball broke to Rodrigues who was unmarked beyond the left post, but his shot went past the left post.
4 minutes later and the Sivas No9 should have scored, but his header near the penalty spot was well saved by Ricardo.
5 minutes later and another dangerous Sivas cross into the box was hooked over the bar by Pazdan with Sivas attackers lurking behind him.
At the other end, Rodrigues had another chance but his shot was well over the bar with his weaker left foot.
At this point on the half hour mark, it was Stanojevic, and the Referee, who changed the course of the match by firstly, Stanojevic making an aggressive and clumsy challenge on a Sivas player, which rightly received a yellow card. Then 5 minutes later he challenged another Sivas player near the touchline in front of Kapali and the referee produced another yellow followed by a RED. We couldn;t see the incident clearly from our position in Maraton, but Nadeem saw the TV replay and said the referee was conned by the theatrics of the Sivas player who went down in ‘supposed agony’ !!
I have to say that the referee seemed to reach for the card immediately. Speaking as an ex-Class 1 referee, we were always advised to take a second or two ‘thinking time’ before producing a card, if possible. Perhaps Mr Ozturk would benefit from a few words of wisdom from the Turkish Referees Association and their senior referees !!
Anyway, Ankaragucu continued to attack and Saba had the best chance of the match 4 minutes after the sending off to put Ankaragucu into the lead. He was put through on the left and with only the goalkeeper to beat, he shot straight at him when a cool head was called for.
Half time, and a chance for Mustafa Bey to rally the players and give them some belief that they could take something from this match.
All credit to the 10 men who came out with all guns blazing for the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half. Rodrigues had a chance to head in, but he miraculously missed the ball and the danger was cleared. Then Saba had another chance when he carried the ball into the box, side-stepped 2 defenders and shot just past the post.
Then came the turning point in the 68th minute and what a calamitous goal it was too. Two Sivas corners in succession, and from the 2nd one there was a scramble for a loose ball in the crowded area and the ball was bundled in. Our thoughts at this point of salvaging a point evaporated !
3 minutes later it was 2-0 after a cock-up in the defence when the ball was gifted to a Sivas attacker who was bought down in the box before he could get his shot in. Ricardo saved brilliantly from Mert’s shot, but the rebound off Ricardo was tucked away by Mert as he followed-up his shot. Rough justice for Ricardo !
Sivas was now in total control of the match for the first time and the Ankaragucu players looked knackered and shell shocked. Sivas then started to spread the ball around and run the clock down.
With the clock on 89 minutes, we decided to head for the exit and so we missed the final nail in the coffin when Yatabare added the 3rd in the 90th minute. Perhaps Nadeem can give us the details of that goal in the comments section ?!
So, what now ? With a trip to Beshiktrash coming up on Friday there is not much room for optimism, but it’s not a done deal yet.
Ankaragucu sit in 2nd bottom position, but are only 2 points behind 4th bottom Konya. Therefore, taking something from Friday’s match becomes crucial.
There is no doubting Ankaragucu’s fighting spirit, but they must put their chances away. Too many goal scoring attempts missed yesterday and too many passes going astray. Much work to be done in the Training Ground this week for sure !!
All the best from Eski Kanka Jim