The Gabonese scored in each half as the Star of the South secured a comeback win against the Anatolian Eagle
Aaron Boupendza was the hero for Hatayspor after scoring a brace in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat of Konyaspor in a Super Lig clash.
The Gabon international came into the game having found the net four times in the Star of the South’s 6-0 defeat of Antalyaspor.
Against the Anatolian Eagles, however, he continued with his blistering form in front of goal to hand Omer Erdogan’s side a crucial home triumph.
In the keenly contested affair at the Hatay New Stadium, Antakya, it was the visitors who took a 33rd minute lead through Artem Kravets. Profiting from a shambolic defending from the hosts, the Ukrainian forward headed past goalkeeper Munir a pass from Nejc Skubic.
While it appeared like Konyaspor would be heading into the half-time break with a goal advantage, Boupendza equalised for the hosts in the 43rd minute. Left unmarked outside the goal area, the 24-year-old curled in a beauty past goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic.
In the second-half, both teams came out stronger but their inability to convert begging chances ensured that scores remained 1-1.
Nonetheless, it was the African star who had the final say with his winner in the 68th minute courtesy of a half volley inside the opponents’ box.
Ahmet Calik levelled matters for Konyaspor with barely the last kick of the game, albeit, VAR replays ruled his goal out for being in an offside position to the anguish of the visiting side.
Two minutes to full time, Boupendza was substituted for Selim Ilgaz, while Nigeria’s Babajide David was in action from start to finish alongside Morocco international goalkeeper Munir and Senegal’s Mame Biram Diouf.
Malian midfielder Adama Traore was handed a starter’s role but he was taken off for Yusuf Abdioglu in the 90th minute. Elsewhere, Ghana’s duo of Joseph Akomadi and Isaac Sackey, Algeria’s Idir Ouali plus Senegal’s Dame Diop were not dressed for action.
For the visiting side, Uganda’s Farouk Miya did not make manager Ismail Kartal’s cut.
Thanks to this result, Hatayspor climbed to fifth in the Turkish Super Lig log with 27 points from 15 games, while occupy the 11th spot with 19 points from the same number of outings in the 2020-21 campaign.
Boupendza, who now boasts of nine goals so far will be aiming to add to his goal tally when Erdogan’s team travel to Genclerbirligi on Wednesday.