Three League 1 games in Turkey including the Adana derby.
Early goal decides.
19th October Ankaraspor 0 Gaziantep BB 1 League 1 c. 600 (5 away)
Ankaraspor play in Yenikent, some distance west of the capital.
The journey takes around an hour on the bus and then ten minutes or so to the stadium itself which is on the edge of town.
On a coldish night, before a small crowd, the ground is not the cosiest.
The home side have a chequered recent history being forcibly demoted from the top level a couple of seasons ago. They are currently close to the top of the second level.
Not that it was too evident from their performance in this game.
They consistently failed to deliver the ‘final ball’ and the nearest they came to scoring was from a header by sub. Erdem in the second half.
Even with the visitors reduced to ten men Ankaraspor struggled to find the right delivery.
The match was decided in the first couple of minutes when a through ball released the Gaziantep forwards and Altintepe slide in the winner.
Afterwards I eventually got the bus back to the centre of Ankara and was in my hotel by 11pm.
Honours even in Adana derby.
20th October Adanaspor 2 Adana Demirspor 2 League 1 c.14,000 (3,000 away)
The Adana derby ended all square on a mild evening near the south coast of Turkey.
An inner city stadium, in this case overlooked by apartments, usually provides
a fine atmosphere for such a clasico.
And so it was with the fans in tangerine outnumbering the opposition by about 4:1 with their ultras in a covered area behind the right hand goal.
Their counterparts in blue were in a similar section behind the left goal.
Both sets of fans produced plenty of noise although I would give the edge to the Demirspor followers for more consistent support.
We had lots of chants, some choreo but not pyro (banned I guess)
For a derby it was a watchable encounter with the ‘home’ side going ahead when Portuguese forward Thiago broke free to round the goalie and score cleverly.
Demirspor would equalise fairly soon after when Czech Jan Rajnoch headed in from a corner.
The first half had been even.
The ‘visitors’ would control more of the second period although both sides offered attacking threats.
In the case of Demirspor it was from Juninho and Cameroon striker Kouemaha.
The latter would score the second for the blue lightning after a strong run and shot.
It might have been the winner but a left wing cross was inadvertently diverted in by defender Keskin for the equaliser on 83 minutes.
And so honours were even.
I strolled back with the home fans some of whom, like me, stopped for a kebab along the way.
One is enough.
21st October Mersin Idmanyurdu 0 Denizlispor 1 League 1 3,000 (no away)
After a morning in Adana admiring the large mosque and checking out the nearby shopping centre (the museums were closed) I took the train to Mersin.
The transport was new and efficient and cost just 6 lira.
Mersin still play at the Tefik Sirri Gyur stadium, a thirty minute stroll from the station.
In pleasant sunny weather you can have a kebab (and maybe a raki), walk beside the harbour and join the locals in the park.
Further on is the ground.
It is nicely symmetric with dark red roofing covering about fifteen rows of seats that curve around at the ends.
A decent crowd turned out on this Monday night.
They would go home disappointed as Mersin failed to win and go top of the league.
After a fairly even first half, Denizli scored early in the 2nd after a fortuitous break from a corner.
It would be the winner and their prolonged celebrations proved justified.
But we had to endure a long period of ruthless time wasting and numerous bookings for the visitors. Despite six minutes of added time the home side were unable to break through.
The last train, at 22.34, was conveniently timed for my journey back to Adana.
More pictures at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/2152319194