Greetings Kankas and Kankies.
What a turn round in the season for Ankaragucu after languishing at the bottom of the league for the most part. Two well deserved wins this week has seen Ankaragucu move off the bottom of the league to be replaced by Denizlispor.
With only 3 points separating Ankaragucu from their next opponents Gencler, Sunday’s match takes on even greater significance than just a local derby. This will be a real statement of intent if Ankaragucu can make it 3 in a row, and really put the frighteners up the teams in the bottom half of the league.
So to tonight’s match against the in-form newcomers to the league ...........
ANKARAGUCU 2 Hatayspor 0
Team – Ricardo, Sarliga, Erdi, Kitsiou, Atila, Atakan, Ender, Endri, Pinto, Saba and Emre
Substitutes – Paintsil and Cebrail
The Ankaragucu starting line-up had a different look from the past few weeks due to Covid 19 concerns and suspensions. However, most of the starting 11 have been involved in one way or another during the season so far.
Hatay made their intentions clear from the start with their attacking and determination to keep possession. However, Ricardo was not duly troubled until the half hour mark.
It was Ankaragucu who threatened first when Saba had a shot on goal, but his shot was weak and easily saved. Then after 20 minutes played Emre had a great chance when a Hatay defender made a mistake in the box, but he wasn’t quick enough to shoot and was dispossessed.
Another chance came Ankaragucu’s way 6 minutes later when Endri had a free kick about 25 yards out. He sent in a great swerving shot which the goalkeeper could only parry, but the Ankaragucu attackers were too slow to follow-up and a defender cleared the danger.
Hatay had a chance 4 minutes later when from a quick throw-in there was a shot from just inside the box which was well saved by Ricardo.
From the resulting clearance, Ankaragucu made a break down the left and played some really neat football to cross the ball in for Kitsiou, but the goalkeeper was a split second ahead and cleared.
Approaching half time, and Dioff had a header for goal, but Erdi intercepted and the ball was out for a corner.
In the last action of the half, Endri almost scored direct from a corner but the goalkeeper managed to push the ball away to safety.
The 2nd half was only 3 minutes old when we probably had the turning point in the match when the Hatay captain, Gokhan, received a straight red card. He went into a tackle with studs-up and the Ankaragucu player went down in agony, but play was waved on. Seconds later there was an Ankaragucu foul and the referee blew for a free kick. However, before the kick could be taken he obviously received a message in his earpiece and he signalled VAR. He then signalled a free kick for Ankaragucu and produced the red card for Gokhan.
This was the signal for Ankaragucu to attack with more urgency and they almost went ahead 10 minutes later when Saba was put through on goal on the right with only the goalkeeper to beat. His shot was going inside the left post, but the goalkeeper managed a slight touch on the ball to send it just outside the left post and the chance was lost.
Saba had another chance a minute later when a left wing cross was sent over but his header was well over the bar.
4 minutes later and yet another great chance was spurned when Saba made a good run down the right and crossed for Emre at the back post, but somehow he contrived to miss an easy tap-in and I was beginning to wonder if the break-through would ever come.
It did........... 5 minutes later and what a relief !! A cross came in from the left and Emre was on hand to poke to ball in at the right post. Again, the referee was urged to check the VAR for a possible offside, but the goal was quite rightly awarded.
With 15 minutes to go and Hatay was beginning to look rattled, making basic mistakes and bad temper kicking-in, but they were still looking for that equaliser.
It nearly arrived when a cross came in from the left, but Ricardo was quick off his line to take the ball off an attacker’s head and the ball was cleared for a corner. It was then a let-off for Ankaragucu when a Hatay attacker had a free shot inside the 6 yard box when well placed, but fortunately his shot was well past the left post.
Another scare was averted when Ricardo made a great save from a fierce goal bound shot from just outside the box with only 10 minutes left.
Then with only 2 minutes left, Paintsil showed some great skill on the left to beat 2 defenders and the goalkeeper to stroke the ball in for the 2nd goal.
So, as I said, all eyes focused now on Sunday, and no doubt a full-on no quarter asked and no quarter given derby, but with a difference. This is now a match for survival in the Super League and for the winner the spoils will be a boost in that direction.
For Ankaragucu, it is now one match at a time and to keep their winning roll going as long as possible. To go into the Winter Break in mid-table must be the aim and it is well within their grasp . You only had to look at the reaction from the players at the final whistle to see how important it is for them !!
Do it Ankaragucu !!!
All the best from Eski Kanka Jim