Turkey moved top of Euro 2024 qualifying Group D with a hard-earned 2-0 home victory against 10-man Wales on Monday despite missing a penalty and having two goals ruled out by VAR.
A late header by Mehmet Umut Nayir and a superb curled effort by fellow substitute Arda Guler finally cracked Welsh resistance in Samsun to put Turkey top with nine points from four games.
Wales, who was surprisingly beaten at home by Armenia last week, is fourth with four points.
Turkey was denied an early opener when Zeki Celik’s low cross was put into his own goal by Chris Mepham but VAR came to the rescue of the visitors.
Wales was reduced to 10 men in the 41st minute when Joe Morrell lunged in on Ferdi Kadioglu with his studs showing.
Turkey was frustrated again when Inter Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu had a 64th-minute penalty kept out by Wales keeper Danny Ward and minutes later Nayir scored from a rebound but had his effort ruled out for offside.
Turkey persisted and Nayir rose high in the 72nd minute and although Ward got a hand to his header he could not prevent the ball from going into the net.
Fellow substitute Guler then made sure with a superb left-footed shot into the top corner.
Hojlund the hero as Danes draw 1-1 with Slovenia
Denmark’s Rasmus Hojlund netted his sixth goal in six internationals as they recovered to grab a 1-1 draw away to Slovenia in their Group H Euro 2024 qualifier.
Finland, who earlier hammered bottom side San Marino 6-0, tops the group level on nine points with Kazakhstan in second ahead of Denmark and Slovenia in third and fourth respectively, both on seven. Northern Ireland is fifth with three points.
It was a much-needed point for the Danes, who threw away a two-goal lead and lost 3-2 to Kazakhstan earlier in the campaign, but they were still far short of their best in an entertaining game that saw the home side frustrate them.
After a tight, tense opening, the Slovenians broke the deadlock in the 25th minute with a brilliantly-executed corner that saw Adam Cerin pull the ball back for Andraz Sporar to drive it past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
In a repeat of the kind of lapse in concentration that saw Denmark go home after the group stage at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, a loose pass by Schmeichel almost let Slovenia in for a second nine minutes later but the keeper recovered to pluck the ball out of the air with a Slovenian forward lurking.
The 20-year-old Hojlund, who has been linked with a move from Italian Serie A side Atalanta to a host of top European clubs, brought the Danes level just before the break with the kind of goal that will only add to his list of suitors.
Frustrated by the lack of service, he went foraging outside the box before stealing back into the middle to rifle home Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s low pass for his sixth international goal, all of which have come in this qualifying campaign.
In the second half, an ill-advised backheel from captain Simon Kjaer almost gifted the home side a goal on the hour mark but Schmeichel got down smartly to save from Benjamin Sesko.
Both sides struck the woodwork in the second half, with Denmark’s Christian Eriksen hitting the post in the 64th minute and Slovenia’s Jan Mlakar sending a shot cannoning off the crossbar four minutes later as the defence were caught napping.
Denmark continued to fire crosses into the box but they came no closer to scoring as the game ended in stalemate, and Danish captain Simon Kjaer, sporting a black eye, was left frustrated that his side could not get a winner.
“We have lots of quality, but we are in the process of finding ourselves again and finding our way back to the way we should play,” he told Denmark’s TV2.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had this much quality on the ball in all the time I’ve been in the national team. We have to make sure to take advantage of that,” he added.
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