CZECH REPUBLIC 0 TURKEY 2
Turkey moved a significant step closer to securing a place in the Euro 2016 qualifying play-offs and the elimination of former champions Holland after beating the Czech Republic 2-0.
Holland briefly moved above the Turks into third place in Group A with their 2-1 win over Kazakhstan earlier on Saturday but Fatih Terim’s side responded with a potentially decisive win over the already-qualified Czechs in Prague.
Selcuk Inan, with a penalty, and Hakan Calhanoglu netted Turkey’s goals in the final half-hour as the Czechs suffered their first home loss in qualifying.
The result was a blow to the home side’s hopes of winning the group – they are now one point behind pacesetters Iceland with one game to go – but was much more of a gut-wrencher for Holland.
The Dutch, who last failed to qualify for the European Championships in 1984 and won the tournament in 1988, will now go into the last round of matches needing to not only beat the Czech Republic but also requiring Turkey – who have a better head-to-head record against Holland – to lose to Iceland.
Danny Blind’s men must have hoped the high-flying Czechs could have done them a huge favour at the Generali Arena but the home side could not find a way through during a first half devoid of many clear-cut chances, and then fell behind in the 62nd minute.
Serdar Aziz was brought down in the area by Filip Novak and Galatasaray midfielder Inan converted from 12 yards.
Volkan Sen missed a chance to double Turkey’s lead but Calhanoglu made no mistake 10 minutes from time to seal the win, the Bayer Leverkusen playmaker picking up a pass from Arda Turan across the edge of the area before drilling an angled shot low past Tomas Vaclik.