Turkish delight as Turan ends hosts’ Euro dreams

TURKEY’S Arda Turan stunned Switzerland with an injury-time goal at a rain-soaked St Jakob-Park Stadium last night 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 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.

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

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.

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.

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 fed Yakin at the far post for an easy tap-in.

The hosts should have extended their lead shortly after. However, Yakin fired wide.

Turkey made two subs after the restart, with Mehmet Topal replacing Tumer Metin in midfield and Senturk replacing Gokdeniz Karadeniz. Senturk scored 10 minutes later, latching onto Nihat’s cross from the left and his powerful header beat Benaglio. The Swiss almost went back in front late in the game but Demirel made a stunning save to deny Yakin. And in injury time Turan stunned the hosts.

SWITZERLAND: Benaglio, Lichtsteiner, Muller, Senderos, Magnin, Behrami, Inler, Gelson (Cabanas 76), Barnetta (Vonlanthen 66), Yakin (Gygax 85), Derdiyok.

TURKEY: Demirel, Altintop, Asik, Cetin, Balta, Karadeniz (Senturk 46), Aurelio, Metin (Topal 46), Turan, Nihat (Kazim-Richards 85), Sanli.

Referee: Lubos Michel (Slovakia).


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