Greetings Kankas and Kankies.
(Headline suggested by Battle Damaged Kanka Damon .....and so appropriate !!)
Ankaragucu progressed into the Quarter Finals of The Turkish Cup last night when they gave a disciplined and professional performance, and were more than a match for pre-match favourites, Besiktas. More performances like this and Ankaragucu will be saying goodbye to the lower reaches of the Super League !
With the match heading into Extra Time, Ankaragucu could have been excused for flagging, but amazingly they kept searching for the winning goal.
Then it was into the dreaded penalties pantomime and the tension was clear to see on the faces of the players and Coaches. Ankaragucu kept their nerve and all four penalties were despatched with precision, while Gokhan put up the shutters to deny Besiktas and send all of us long suffering Ankaragucu fans into raptures.
Without resorting to Google, it has been many years since Ankaragucu reached this stage of The Turkish Cup and they need fear no team when the draw is made for the Quarter Finals !!
ANKARAGUCU 1 Besiktas 1
(After Extra Time)
Ankaragucu win 4-3 on penalties
Team – Gokhan, Kevin, Atakan, Radakovic, Marlon, Tolga, Diack, Zahid, Emre, Tasos and Ali Sowe
Substitutes – Giorgi, Pedrinho, Firatcan and Yasin
Omer Bey started with an attacking formation and that’s exactly how Ankaragucu approached the match.
However, they were almost caught-out in the first minute of the match when a weak back-header presented a chance for Besiktas, but Gokhan was a split-second ahead of the attacker and cleared the danger.
2 minutes later and Ankaragucu had the ball in the net, but the Linesman’s flag was up for offside which was the correct decision.
10 minutes later Ankaragucu made no mistake with a superb constructed goal when Tasos crossed from the left to Emre on the right. Emre’s measured side-footed pass was straight to Ali in the centre and he stroked the ball in for the opening goal.
It was mostly all Ankaragucu until the half time whistle and they really should have put the match to bed.
Emre almost scored the 2nd on the 20th minute mark when his goal bound shot from the right was heading inside the left post, but it was well saved for a corner.
10 minutes later and another chance was passed-up when Emre with some fine footwork sent in an inviting cross to Ali in the 6 yard box, but amazingly he blasted the ball over the bar.
A few minutes later and another chance was spurned after great work by Kevin on the right. He crossed for Tasos on the left, but the ball took a slight deflection off a defender and Tasos miscued the ball and it went out of play.
On the balance of play in the 2nd half it is probably true to say that Besiktas deserved their equaliser, and Gokhan no doubt deserved my Man of the Match award !!
However, Ankaragucu had another chance to grab the 2nd goal a few minutes into the 2nd half when Atakan sent his header just past the top right.
15 minutes later and Atakan was floored by a hand or arm by a Besiktas player after the ball had moved on. The referee pulled out the RED card immediately but after strong protests by the Besiktas players, he consulted the VAR, returned to the field of play and cancelled the RED and produced a Yellow. I’m not 100% sure of exactly what happened at the incident, but it does seem to me that the referee may have been put under pressure to rescind the RED card. There is sure to be divided opinion on this incident !!!
Approaching the half way stage of the 2nd half and Gokhan made a crucial save from a goal bound shot. But ............ 5 minutes later and the equaliser, and unfortunately Cenk was not picked-up as he drifted into the far post area. The free kick from the right was only parried by Gokhan and Cenk was on hand to score an easy goal.
Some teams would have succumbed to Besiktas pressure at this point, but Ankaragucu continued to defend stoutly and attack when possible. It is quite obvious that Omer Bey has the Ankaragucu players fighting for the badge on their shirts !!!
With 10 minutes to go another weak back-pass by an Ankaragucu defender almost gifted Besiktas the winning goal, but Gokhan came to the rescue and cleared the danger.
Extra time was played with both teams obvious to the danger of conceding. Gokhan made another save from a header going inside the right post, and then Firatcan made a goal line clearance sending the ball over the bar for a corner.
End of the match and into Penalties to decide the winner !!
All 4 of Ankaragucu’s penalty takers (Tolga, Ali, Marlon and Pedrinho) kept their nerve and sent 4 excellent penalties in.
Gokhan saved Besiktas’s 2nd penalty which had to be retaken when the Linesman indicated that Gokhan had strayed off his line. Amazingly, he also saved the 2nd attempt !! Then when Gokhan saved the 5th penalty it was all over !!!
We were all leaping around The Bira Park Bar high fiving and singing. Also, the fans in the Stadium were going mental !!!
A great night to be an Ankaragucu Supporter. !!!
Onwards and upwards, and Ankaragucu travel to Konya on Monday on Super League business.
As always, watch this space for the outcome.
All the best from Eski Kanka Jim