Turkey beats Kazakhstan 2-1 with late strike
03 September 2011, Saturday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM WITH AP, ?STANBUL
Arda Turan scored with a free kick in the sixth minute of stoppage time to give Turkey a dramatic 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan in their Euro 2012 qualifier in Group A on Friday.
Turkey dominated the game in the opening minutes but was unable to find a way through the Kazakh defense. Early chances for Turkey included a deflected shot in the box by Emre Bel?zo?lu in the 11th minute and several headers by Turkey forward Burak Y?lmaz.
Burak broke the deadlock in the 31st minute with a deft flick after a clinical pass by Sel?uk ?nan.
Turkey missed a clear chance to make it 2-0 when Kaz?m Kaz?m’s shot was turned away by the goalkeeper in 53rd minute.
Kazakhstan equalized in the 55th when Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Demirel misjudged a lob by Oulan Konysbayev from the right wing.
Burak missed a penalty in the 62nd minute, hitting the right post, while his header in the 69th following Arda’s right wing cross was saved by Alexander Mokine.
In the 78th, Burak found the net with a header amid a goalmouth melee but the strike was flagged offside by the linesman – after the referee had initially awarded a goal.
But the real drama followed in stoppage time with Sel?uk being sent off after two minutes and Arda’s deflected free-kick gave Turkey a crucial win before its game in Austria on Sept. 6.
Turkey moved up to second place in the group – which has been won by Germany – with 13 points from seven games while Kazakhstan is sixth with three points. Belgium is third with 12.
“The team was not good – we played poor – but we played until the end to get a good result,” said Turkey’s Dutch coach Guus Hiddink.
“We were not in good shape, many players were not in good shape. We know the problems in the Turkish league,” he said in reference to a match-fixing scandal involving 19 league games last season that has marred Turkish football.