it was with mixed feeling as we watched ramazan on the bench with the goalkeeping gloves handed to new signing johan dahlin. dahlin had a good match even if he wasn't severely tested.
genclerbirligi 3 - 1 rize tea men (thank you mr. steven bassey)
a miserable rainy early saturday afternoon was never going to get a huge turnout for two mid-table teams. same amongst us kankas with just spine, flying dutchman, aden, beraat and his son, and me at the beer bus.
at least it wasn't cold.
we managed to get in and to our seats right on time and then we were treated to some absolute filth. what gencler have been doing for last few weeks at their antalya camp was not clear at all. passes weren't connecting, balls were being given away for absolutely no reason and the referee was making weird decisions. nothing too dangerous from rize, although they did have one very good chance when a player got through, at an angle to goal he kicked as dahlin rushed at him. the kick went miles wide.
the masochists amongst us laughed as the referee went off with a calf injury but there was some real fear as he was replaced by deniz bitnal, a referee who has given dodgy penalty decisions against us in the past.
the first half was so exciting the refs injury was the only piece of play for the first half that lig tv included in its short highlights package.
second half and it was very different as gencler started to get things working. gosso shot a ball through to stancu who was on the left for some reason. he managed to get a great cross in to oktay who headed it in. it was a good goal and we were deservedly ahead.
a few minutes later a jimmy scored from outside the box when former ankaragucu keeper serkan let the ball, admittedly an extremely well hit ball, straight through.
we continued to play good attacking football and had a few chances denied. then came the third when jimmy sent a corner in straight onto the head of ante who was playing as captain. serkan had no chance of saving that one.
then came the decision that the gencler fans were waiting for... yep the referee gave a penalty to rize. admittedly, the decision could have gone either way. they scored but no-one cared.
and that was that. a good win.
we were in the metro station where the gencler fans were singing "melih is going, gosso is coming, the fans shall travel the metro for free".
the gencler fans then started jumping over the ticket barriers.
being good citizens, we queued up and bought tickets.