Turkey knock co-hosts out with injury-time goal

Switzerland 1 Turkey 2

Turkey’s Arda Turan stunned Switzerland with an injury-time goal at a rain-soaked St Jakob-Park Stadium on Wednesday to knock the Euro 2008 co-hosts out of the tournament.

Hakan Yakin opened the scoring for Switzerland in the 32nd minute but substitute Semih Senturk’s equaliser shortly before the hour mark left both teams searching for their first win in Group A and in the bottom two places of the group.

Just as the game looked to be headed for a draw, Arda struck from the edge of the area.

His right-footed effort deflected off a Swiss defender and into the goal to silence the home crowd.

The Swiss had had a chance to move in front late in the game but Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Demirel made a stunning save to deny Yakin’s close-range effort.

Turkey take on the Czech Republic in the last group game on Sunday while the Swiss face unbeaten Portugal.

Both teams struggled with the very wet conditions but it did not spoil the atmosphere for the fans packed into the stadium.

Injuries forced Turkey coach Fatih Terim to make three changes to his starting line-up and it was Mehmet Aurelio who was handed the challenging role of replacing injured Emre at the heart of midfield.

Stand-in captain Nihat Kahveci was the engine for the Turks.

Switzerland coach Jakob Kuhn brought in attacking duo Eren Derdiyok and Hakan Yakin, hoping the absence of all-time leading scorer Alexander Frei through injury would not hinder his side.

It proved a wise move by the veteran tactician as both players made life difficult for Demirel.

Nihat was first to test Diego Benaglio early on but his angled effort was saved by the goalkeeper.

With the hosts making unforced errors, Turkey surged forward more aggressively.

Switzerland had their first shot on goal in the 19th minute, with Gokhan Inler’s 30-yard strike forcing Demirel into action.

Turkey may have dominated the early part of the match but that soon changed.

Midway through the first half, Yakin warmed the hands of Demirel with a stinging left-footed drive which the goalkeeper palmed away for a corner.

Demirel’s next contribution was more spectacular with the goalkeeper making a one handed save from Tranquilo Barnetta’s curled free-kick.

The Turks were unlucky not to break the deadlock in the half-hour mark, with Nihat’s free-kick cleared by Benaglio but only as far

Arda Turan, whose header struck the far post.

It proved costly as Switzerland broke the deadlock two minutes later.

A long ball from Philippe Senderos was controlled by Eren Derdiyok who served an unmarked Yakin at the far post for an easy tap-in.

The Swiss fans celebrated wildly as Yakin ran towards them and the Turkish fans were momentarily silenced.

The goal inspired the hosts who should have extended their lead shortly after.

However, Yakin fired wide from the far post Valon Behrami’s beautiful cross in what was the last chance of the opening half.

Terim made two substitutions after the re-start, with Mehmet Topal replacing Tumer Metin in midfield and Senturk replacing Gokdeniz Karadeniz.

What a move it proved to be as Senturk scored 10 minutes later.

Senturk latched onto Nihat’s cross from the left and his powerful header beat Benaglio.

On the hour mark, Tuncay fired wide from the edge of the area as the Turks kept going forward.

Servet Cetin made a crucial tackle as Hamit Altintop threatened to break clear inside the area.

Turkey should have taken the lead in the 73rd minute as Tuncay curled in an inviting cross which Nihat was unable to connect with at the far post but they continued to battle and their efforts paid off.

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