Koller sends Czechs into break goal ahead of Turkey

Turkey 0 Czech Republic 1

Jan Koller gave the Czech Republic a deserved half-time lead over Turkey in the winner-takes-all Euro 2008 Group A match in Geneva.

The giant striker powered home a trademark header from a Zdenek Grygera cross in the 34th minute to put his side in pole position for a second-placed finish in the pool and a last-eight meeting with Group B winners Croatia in Vienna on Friday.

With both teams having identical records going into the all-or-nothing clash at the Stade de Geneve, the prospect of a penalty shootout loomed if the match ended as a draw after 90 minutes.

Both coaches had said that would be the worst-case scenario and it was the assured Czechs, who brought Koller back into their starting line-up after he missed the 3-1 defeat to Portugal, who dominated the first 45 minutes.

Libor Sionko thrashed a shot wide after just 10 seconds and Koller headed a free-kick over when well positioned in the 10th minute.

Turkey’s Brazil-born midfielder Mehmet Aurelio had moments earlier picked up a booking which would rule him out of the quarter-final, should his team make it that far.

Marek Matejovsky drew a decent save out of goalkeeper Volkan Demirel while Servet Cetin made a great last-gasp clearance to prevent Koller scoring a simple tap-in.

The dangerous Sionko then fired just over from the diagonal in the 25th minute as the nervous Turks continued to squander possession.

The goal the Czechs deserved came nine minutes later, Juventus full-back Grygera galloping down the right and crossing for Koller to head home his 55th international goal.

The only negative point in the first half for the Czechs was the sight of Matejovsky being carried off on a stretcher in the 37th minute.

Turkey trudged off to the dressing room without having troubled opposition goalkeeper Petr Cech.

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