schools may be back but for me this still seems like the cricket season. we should be listening to the sound of leather on wood, shouts of "howzat" and then taking a break for tea. instead we are not just back onto the football treadmill but a good four matches in. i think i need a lie down.
genclerbirligi 1 - 1 kayseri
i missed genclerbirligi's first three matches for a variety of reasons, one of which was a few of us having to attend @ertankeskinsoy 's wedding. so it was with good cheer and absolutely no idea what the genclerbirligi team looked like that i headed off to kizilay with little oz kanka.
no small crowd of kankas down at the beer bus for a beautiful sunny sunday. we had lanky kanka jorg - who is in town for a week. we had ankaragucu fan cider kanka john - who was up for a beer. we had spine - who was one of the few of us to have any idea what sort of team gencler are this season. we had robin - who finally decided to get himself a gencler jersey. we had carlo, who is back from his self-imposed exile. we had carl - who is a new recruit. we had dan the man, another returnee from exile. we had efe, dan the man's 6-year-old son who needs a team to support after liverpool. we had little oz kanka, who has never had a choice as to what team he supports. and you had me.
i can report that the beer and kofte at the beer bus is still cheap and still good. six tl for a draft efes ain't that bad really.
entering the stadium was a bit different to last year. the cops giving us a pat down outside the stadium weren't the riot cops of norm but instead some of them were even plain clothes cops... or maybe just blokes who wanted to pat down some people. the riot cops themselves were at the match but instead of lining up facing us supporters in the sort of macho stance that almost invites people to have a go, they all sat on the the other side of the stadium and did nothing all match.
i guess they must all be exhausted from night after night of beating up protesters and today they just couldn't be bothered. without the cops in your face the atmosphere at the match did seem much calmer than usual. they still had the goons filming the crowd but well, they looked pretty lonely.
as the match kicked off the gencler crowds started chanting in remembrance of ahmet atakan who was died in protests in antakya last week. i have a feeling this could go on and on.
similar to what spine reported a few weeks ago, there were chants calling on the police to gas us and as the clock ticked over to 34:00 the "her yer taksim, her yer direnis" chant went up. spine pointed out pedantically that we were actually in the 35th minute and therefore blah blah blah ... arrrgggghhhhh.
football and we were all over kayseri and we could have been a couple up by half time except for some absolutely woeful shots. let me give you a brief abbreviation of what the official genclerbirligi twitter feed @kirmizikara gave for the first half:
6th minute: oktay shoots hard. goalkeeper saves.
8th minute: serkan sends it is. defense clears
10th minute: gosso shoots. out
22 minute: ozgur shoots. out
25th minute: serkan shoots. out. but it was sort of close to the post
26 minute: jimmy shoots. out
30 ozgur shoots. similiar to before. out
40 jimmy shoots. corner
yep. that is as good a round up of the first half you will get. i don't think the kayseri keeper had to make a save. same with ramazan for us. we were all over kayseri, playing nice football and the philosopher was playing a bit more forward than he had been in the last few weeks. jimmy was in particular looking good and i'm starting to enjoy his style. playing mainly on the right, where we have been so used to seeing hursut, he was getting past his defenders and laying off nice passes.
ultimately though we have to start getting shots on goal. every one of those misses mentioned in the tweets above was a genuine goal chance.
second half and .... arrggghh kayseri went ahead after a terrible bit of laziness form our defence. our lot still seemed to be enjoying the half-time meat pie but kayseri had lunched on souped-up red bull.
then came one of the longer second halves i've had to endure. gencler just couldn't get their act together for ages. all the good work of the first half seemed to have been an eon ago.
at about the 60th minute the god of electricity said "this is enough!" and the lights went out.
this was possibly the best thing to happen for genclerbirligi. the coach had them all around, kicked each and every one of them up the bum and told them that the aim of the game is to put the pig bladder into the net.
a few substitutions and we started to look good again. mervan celik, a new signing from sweden, came on for ermin zec, and he seemed to have the goods. the crowd was up for it and the team started lifting. urgency had set in and when the clock hit 90 minutes and the bikini girl with the round number held up the numeral "6", we all new that a draw was on the cards, if only we could get a shot on goal!
deep, deep into extra time, celik sent a lovely ball in for stancu to head it and the kayseri keeper made a brilliant save. it was still on though and a bit later, jimmy to serkan and then to tomic and gooooaaaal!
and that was that. from a fan's perspective it is much better to get a draw having scored at the very death than having gone ahead so much earlier. for the team, they must just be bloody glad to have got a point.
not a bad result but it is clear that the new team is still not settled. too many passes went to absolutely no-one and some players aren't clear of exactly where they should be. that can all be worked on though.