Friday, April 09, 2021

The Ankara Derby - Match Preview


 

The Ankara Derby has been historically a different type of Derby to most others across the Football world. Derby day tends to start on the Monday at work where colleagues of rival teams will start to discuss the coming weekends match between two bitter rivals. For 90 minutes those friends and colleagues on opposing sides become the enemy. Hostile atmospheres, pyro displays and violence are all usually on show. 

In Turkey we have Fenerbahce vs Galatasaray, Goztepe vs Izmir, the Adana Derby and a few others that reach those levels of intensity and hatred. Across Europe you have Rangers vs Celtic, Red Star Belgrade, vs Partizan, Dortmund vs Schalke and in South America there is the famous Boca vs River, Newells vs Rosario Central and finally in Africa you have the Cairo and Casablanca Derby's. 

When Ankaragucu and Genclerbirlig meet its more about bragging rights than any of the above. The Derby still means a lot to the fans of two struggling sides but you don't tend to get the violence or heated atmosphere to most other Derby matches. 

This Sunday will the stakes are even higher with both clubs fighting against relegation to Lig 1 this is arguably one of the biggest Ankara Derby's in history. There will be no fans at the match due to Covid restrictions but the fans of both sides will be cheering on every move from their homes hoping that their team deliver the 3 points. 

Back in February both Ankaragucu and Gencler were almost certainties to be relegated as they were rooted to the bottom of the table. Fast forward to April and we have two in form sides looking to fight their way out of the relegation zone. Ankaragucu have managed that but its still too close for comfort. 

Another good result on Wednesday against Konyaspor puts Ankaragucu in a good position going into Sundays game and Hikmet Karaman will have a tough decision with his starting line up. Zvonomir Sarlija replaced the suspended Pazdan and played very well so it will be interesting to see who partners Kulusic in the starting line up. 

Aliou Badji got himself on the scoresheet and both him and Borven worked their socks off for the team. Borven isn't as effective playing out wide but his work rate is invaluable and will likely start in that position again. That leaves the final attacking position down to Geraldo, Saba or Paintsil. They have all played their part but suffer from inconsistency, but i believe Karaman will go with Saba who has the most amount of assists and goals for the team in that position over the season. 

Alper Potuk has shown why Ankaragucu were so keen to sign him in the summer with excellent performances under Hikmet Karaman. He looks fitter and like he enjoys playing football again. He will again be key to any positive outcome for Ankaragucu on Sunday with his attacking runs and creativity form midfield. 

When Ibrahim Akdag signed for Ankaragucu there were a lot of raised eyebrows, and his first month we saw a lot of indiscipline and stupid yellow cards. Since Karaman has come in he has played a vital role for the team. Ibrahim does all the dirty work, tackling, tracking back, covers every blade of grass which allows Alper and Endri to go forward and create. 

Gencler have won 3 out of their last 4 games including impressive wins against Fenerbahce and Alanyaspor. Under former Ankaragucu coach Ozcan Bizati they have seen a bit of a resurgence and will be looking to carry that into Sundays match. 

Sefa Yilmaz and Daniel Candeias will be important players for Gencler on Sunday as they both have the quality to punish Ankaragucu in the wide areas. Candeias is also very hard working and will chase back to help his team on defence. Sefa has scored a few good goals of late and cant be given any space near the box to shoot. 

That said if Ankaragucu turn up and play to their best there is nothing to fear on Sunday. Gencler although on a good run are a poor side and the 3 points will go a long way to survival for Ankaragucu. 

It was 1-1 in December the last time the two sides met but Ankaragucu will have to play at a lot higher standard than that day if they do want to take all 3 points. Haydi Baskent!!!

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Konyaspor 1-1 Ankaragucu match report!


 

Ankaragucu took a share of the points in Konya yesterday with another good performance and 1-1 draw against an in form Konyaspor side. Aliou Badji repaid the faith shown by Hikmet Karaman by scoring the opening goal and delivering an all round impressive performance. 

Team - Korcan, Kitsiou, Kulusic, Sarlija, Pinto, Ibrahim, Endri, Alper, Paintsil, Borven, Badji

Subs - Furkan, Erdi, Atilla, Ali Kaan, Voca, Assane, Gerlado, Orkan, Saba, Emre

Hikemt Karaman made a few changes with Sarlija coming in for the suspended Pazdan, while both Badji and Paintsil replaced Saba and Gerlado. It meant Borven took up a position on the right hand side and again showed what a great attitude he has with another hard working performance. 

Konyaspor started the brighter of the two sides and both Cikaleshi and Milosevic tried their luck from distance but both efforts wend wide in the opening stages. Korcan also made a good save to keep the scores level after 10 minutes. 

It took 26 minutes for Ankaragucu to register their first shot on goal after nice play from Endri and Paintsil but the later saw his curling effort easily saved by Sehic.

Petr Skubic had a good chance at the back post after a good ball from the impressive Jevtovic but he hit the side netting at full stretch.

Just before half time Ankaragucu had a great chance to take the lead. Brilliant skill from Alper Potuk down the left side before a nice ball into Paintsil who in turn put in a great cross for Borven who had an empty goal and tap in but somehow hit the post. An unbelievable miss and chance for Ankaragucu to take the lead. 

Half Time - 0-0

Ankaragucu started the second half well as Borven went on a good run before setting up Paintsil who shot over the bar. Two minutes later Kitsiou set up Badji in the box but his shot was straight at Sehic. 

Alper Potuk was having another good game and all of the good attacking moves involved the former Turkish International. He played a nice ball in for Paintsil but he headed the ball straight at Sehic. 

A few minutes later Ankaragucu took the lead, and what a goal it was. Some brilliant build up play involving Kitsiou, Paintsil and Endri with the ball finally finding its way to Pinto who played a lovely 1-2 with Badji, the ball then fell perfectly for Badji who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0 Ankaragucu. 

Four minutes later Jevtovic shot from 25 yards and the ball came back off the post with Korcan beaten. Ankaragucu got lucky but that only lasted 6 minutes as Shengelia equalised. A nice ball through caught both Pinto and Kulusic out and the Georgian International took a nice touch before firing past  Korcan to make it 1-1. 

Ankaragucu went up the other end looking for the winner and Alper had another nice bit of skill on the touchline and beat the keeper but the Konya defence got back to clear. 

Konyaspor almost won it at the end but for a great save from Korcan from a Jevtovic header. In the end both teams settled for the point. Two sides on form and we would have settled for that result before the game started. Now Ankaragucu can look forward to an Ankara Derby on Sunday in what will be the biggest game between the two sides in recent history. 

Special mention must go to Alper for his Man of the Match performance and Aliou Badji who worked his socks off and got his reward in the end. Bring on Gencler!!!


GENCLERBIRLIGI – ALMOST, BUT NOT QUITE !!

 



 

Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

 

Gencler almost escaped from the relegation zone yesterday, but in almost the last kick of the ball, they lost 2 valuable points.

 

Erzurum left it late until 90 plus 3 to share the spoils after having 73% possession and 5 shots on target.    Gencler on the other hand had 27% possession and only 2 shots on target.

 

GENCLERBIRLIGI             1                          BBS Erzurum              1

 

Team – Nordfeldt, Johansson, Arda, Mustafa, Pehlivan, Piris, Soner, Candeias, Yildirim, Yilmaz and Lima

 

Substitutes – Diego, Stancu, Mugni Ayite and Polomat

 

Again, I was unable to watch the match due to the Ankaragucu match being on at the same time, but with all due respect to both teams, according to reports I don’t think I missed much  !!

 

Lima opened the scoring on the half hour mark and it looked like Gencler was going to sneak all 3 points until Da Costa scored the equaliser just before the full time whistle.

 

So, Gencler’s 3 match winning run comes to an end and it may not look too rosy for them with some difficult matches on the horizon, eg, their final match is away to Trabzonspor where they will face a formidable opponent still fighting it out for either Champions League or Europa League qualification.

 

There are only 6 matches left before the end of the season, but this Sunday’s Derby match will have a huge bearing on the run-in.     Yes, it’s a Derby but Ankaragucu look the likelier team to emerge on top after their successful results under their new Coach, Hikmet Karaman, who has turned the team’s fortunes around.    

 

An intriguing match is in prospect, so as always, watch this space for the outcome.

 

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Konyaspor vs Ankaragucu match preview!


 

Ankaragucu enter the most important week of the season so far with games against Konyaspor and then the Ankara derby on Sunday. All 3 clubs are fighting relegation and the outcomes will go a long way in determining the clubs fate come the end of the season. 

Another fantastic result at the weekend for Ankaragucu as they kept another clean sheet and won 1-0 against Antalyaspor. The 3 points take the team out of the relegation zone and gives them confidence going into tomorrows game with Konyaspor. 

One of the first things Hikmet Karaman did when he came back to the club, was tighten up the defence. The team have kept 4 clean sheets since his return with only Hatayspor and Trabzon scoring more than 1 goal against Ankaragucu. 

Michael Pazdan came back into the side at the weekend in place of Sarlija who had to make do with a place on the bench. The Pole has came in for criticism this season with some of his performances and the sending off at Kayserispor. Against Antalyaspor he was back to his best and played a big in the 3 points alongside Thiago Pinto, Ante Kulusic and Stelios Kitsiou.

Thiago Pinto also returned to the starting line up and arguably put in his best performance of the season. Defensively he made 2-3 last minute blocks to stop clear goals, and he again put in a beautiful cross for Borven who scored the only goal of the game. 

When Ankaragucu signed Torgeir Borven back in the summer, it was seen as something of a coup for the club. He had an excellent scoring record in the Norwegian Premier League. Both Fuat Capa and Mustafa Dalci for some reason decided Jonathan Bolingi and Emre Gural were better options in attack. Hikmet Karaman has again shown his man management by putting trust in Borven and he has repaid his manager with his 10th goal of the season and is now a key player. 

The home side Konyaspor will be difficult opponents and are on good form under Ilhan Palut with only 1 defeat in their last 8 games including winning their last 2. On paper they have too good a team to go down with the likes of Deni Milosevic, Petr Skubic, Jesse Sekedika and can even call on Farouk Miya from the bench. They will likely play a 4-2-3-1 formation which Ankaragucu can match up to.

The last time the two sides met Ankaragucu ran out 4-3 winners in a 7 goal thriller. Hikmet Karaman will be hoping for a better defensive performance this time round but a similar outcome taking all 3 points. If Ankaragucu can finish this week of with 4 points from the two games it will be a great week for the club. 

Monday, April 05, 2021

GENCLERBIRLIGI MAINTAIN WINNING RUN !

 



 

Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

 

Gencler produced another surprise yesterday when they returned from Alanya with all 3 points.     

 

Alanya started the season extremely well and was looking like a team who was destined for a Champions League slot.    However, they have fallen away in the 2nd half of the season, but before the match yesterday was looking likely to win a place in the Europa League.    That may be a dream if they keep losing home matches against the bottom of the league clubs.

 

Having disposed of Fenerbahce and Kasimpasa in recent weeks, this was another big scalp taken by Gencler and keeps them in the fight to avoid relegation.

 

Alanyaspor                1                      GENCLERBIRLIGI             2

 

Team – Nordfeldt, Johansson, Mustafa, Arda, Pehlivan, Soner, Piris, Yilmaz, Yildirim, Candeias and Lima

 

Substitutes – Diego, Stancu, Mugni, Drdan and Onurcan

 

The Ankaragucu v Antalya match was on at the same time, so I was unable to watch the match.    But from the statistics of the match it seems that Gencler snatched the 3 points by taking the few chances offered.

 

Alanya had 72% possession, 90% pass accuracy and 8 shots on target.

 

Gencler 28% possession, 68% pass accuracy and only 3 shots on target

 

No doubt there will be serious words and repercussions from the Alanya Coach today   !!!

 

Johansson opened the scoring in the 8th minute and Alanya equalised approaching half time.    The winner was scored near the end of the match by substitute Stancu who returned to the squad after a lengthy absence.

 

Having looked like a doomed team last month, there will be another chance for Gencler (in 3rd bottom position) to perhaps move out of the relegation zone on Wednesday when they host 2nd bottom Erzurum.

 

The situation in the bottom half of the league is becoming tense with only Denizli looking likely to take the drop as things stand at the moment.     The other 3 positions are still being fought out and should provide some interesting matches in the last few matches of the league  !!!

 

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim

Sunday, April 04, 2021

ANKARAGUCU RETURN TO WINNING WAYS !!

 



 

Greetings Kankas and Kankies.

 

A fortuitous, but crucial 3 points won by Ankaragucu today, but they rode their luck, especially in the 1st half when it was Antalya who created all of the few chances on offer.

 

Ankaragucu had to wait until the 70th minute of the match to have their first shot on target  !!!

 

In hindsight, Antalya have only themselves to blame for losing after playing the boring game of pass-back to the goalkeeper for long periods, which probably accounted for their 60% possession.    Also, their shooting in good positions was wayward which probably gave Ankaragucu some measure of encouragement as the match progressed in the 2nd half.

 

ANKARAGUCU           1                       Antalyaspor            0

 

Team – Korcan, Kitsiou, Kulusic, Pazdan, Pinto, Ibrahim, Alper, Endri, Saba, Geraldo and Borven

 

Substitutes – Paintsil, Badji and Voca

 

It took until the 14th minute of the match for the first real action when Pinto cleared a dangerous attack.

 

9 minutes later and Antalya had another chance when a cross came in from the right, but the Antalya attacker had a downward header which Korcan easily saved.

 

5 minutes later and it was Pazdan to the rescue when he broke up an Antalya attack and cleared the danger when the attacker was about to shoot.

 

Ankaragucu had their first chance 5 minutes later when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box, but Alper sent his shot around the wall and just past the post.

 

5 minutes later and Podolski almost scored for Antalya, but his goal bound shot was deflected for a corner.     Then 2 minutes later an Antalya attacker was well placed to score and scuffed his shot past.

 

In the last action of the 1st half Saba missed a great chance to score when he received a pass from the left inside the 6 yard box, but he tried to control the ball instead of connecting first time and the ball was cleared.

 

So, Ankaragucu was perhaps fortunate to go in at half time all square, thanks to the efforts of the defence and some slow and sloppy play from Antalya.

 

On the resumption, Antalya had two good chances to open the scoring.    Firstly, an attacker missed an open goal after a quick breakaway when he sent his shot high and wide.   Then, Korcan saved a shot in the 6 yard box.

 

It took until the 70th minute for Ankaragucu to have their first shot on target and it was almost the opening goal.    From a free kick just outside the box, Endri’s shot was going in just under the bar but the goalkeeper made a great save to tip the ball over.

 

12 minutes later and the break through  !      Pazdan set the move up on the half way line with a pass to the left.    The cross came in and Borven ghosted in between 2 defenders to bullet a header in with the goalkeeper helpless.    A fantastic striker’s goal   !!!

 

There was just time for one more Ankaragucu goal attempt when Paintsil was put through on goal.    He saw the goalkeeper well off his line and tried to take advantage, but although the idea was excellent, the shot was weak and the goalkeeper was able to collect.

 

So, an excellent end result which takes Ankaragucu out of the relegation zone, but it is still very tight down there with teams scrapping for points.    

 

Yet another crucial match coming up on Wednesday when Ankaragucu travel to Konya.     There is no love lost between those 2 teams so we can expect a very close match, but with Hikmet Bey’s tactical genius there is every hope that Ankaragucu can bring at least one point back to Ankara.

 

It is quite obvious that Ankaragucu is not for quitting.    So, as always, watch this space for the outcome.

 

All the best from Eski Kanka Jim