Turkey beat Switzerland 2-1 in crucial match

12th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Turkey’s victory over Switzerland Wednesday eliminates the European Championship co-hosts.

12 June 2008

BASEL - Arda Turan scored in injury time Wednesday to give Turkey a 2-1 win over Switzerland that eliminated the co-hosts from the European Championship.

Turan scored in the third minute of injury time, sending a right-footed shot from outside the area that deflected in off a Switzerland defender.

Substitute Semih Senturk also scored for Turkey, heading in a cross in the 57th minute, after Hakan Yakin had given Switzerland the lead in torrential rain in the 32nd.

"It's not easy to come back from a goal down at the European Championship, considering we hit the woodwork once," Turkey coach Fatih Terim said.

"But we fought a lot in the second half and we created many opportunities. God willing, we will win against Czech Republic and reach the next round."

Switzerland became only the second European Championship host to be eliminated before the last four. Euro 2000 co-host Belgium also failed to get through the group stage.

The result was enough to send Portugal through to the quarterfinals from group A. The Portuguese beat the Czech Republic 3-1 in Geneva. The Turks and Czechs will play for the final spot from the group on Sunday.

The game, which was played through a first-half downpour that left the field at St. Jakob Park soaked, was heading for a draw when Turan's shot hit defender Patrick Mueller and looped over goalkeeper Diego Bengalio.

Yakin scored during the heavy rain, reacting quickly after a cross from 19-year-old Eren Derdiyok got stuck in a large puddle in front of goal. Like Yakin, Derdiyok is a Swiss of Turkish origin.

Yakin should have made it 2-0 just three minutes later, when Valon Behrami's cross went straight through the Turkey defence. With an open goal, Yakin pushed his point-blank effort wide.

He had another chance in the 84th minute, but goalkeeper Volkan Demirel made a diving save, reacting fast enough to snuff out Ricardo Cabanas' effort on the rebound.

Derdiyok did not play in Switzerland's 1-0 loss to the Czech Republic last week, while Yakin came on as a substitute.

The rain started after about 10 minutes, and the play turned increasingly sloppy as both teams sloshed around the field. Switzerland, however, managed to string together passes better than their opponents.

Switzerland midfielder Gelson Fernandes moved the ball out left to Tranquillo Barnetta, who sent a shot from the corner of the box that brought out a stellar save by Demirel.

The goalkeeper made an even better save shortly after in the 25th minute, diving with his left hand to push Barnetta's curling free kick just past the post.

Turkey had its best chance of the half in the 29th, after striker Tuncay Sanli won a free kick in on the right. Nihat Kahveci placed a free kick close to Bengalio, who punched the ball straight into the head of the onrushing Turan. The ricochet bounced off the right post and out for a goal kick.

Terim sought to boost his attack after the break by bringing Senturk and Mehmet Topal. But when the rain stopped, it seemed to help Turkey the most.

Switzerland had only a couple of chances in the second half, with Behrami bursting past Hakan Balta in the 56th and nearly scoring from a tight angle. Gokhan Inler and Barnetta had shots well off target.

After Senturk's goal, Switzerland coach Koebi Kuhn brought on Johan Vonlanthen for Barnetta, who still appeared short of his best after injuring his left ankle while training in May.

The match was the first between the two teams since an ugly brawl three years ago in Istanbul that brought a rash of suspensions, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter even threatening at one point to ban Turkey from the 2010 World Cup. Blatter, a Swiss native, backed down.

Both teams downplayed the history in the run-up to the match and said they were focusing solely on football.

[AP / Expatica]

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