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Turkey 2-0 Wales: Visitors' Euro qualification hopes hit by defeat
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Phil Blanche
Press Association
Turkey’s Umut Nayir celebrates opening the scoring against Wales (Murat Akbas/Dia Images via AP)
Turkey’s Umut Nayir celebrates opening the scoring against Wales (Murat Akbas/Dia Images via AP)

Wales’ Euro 2024 qualification hopes suffered another blow with a 2-0 defeat to Turkey as they once again finished with 10 men.

Substitutes Umut Nayir and Arda Guler scored in the final 18 minutes on a chaotic night in Samsun when Turkey had two goals disallowed, a penalty saved and Wales midfielder Joe Morrell was sent off before half-time.

Wales were reduced to 10 for the second successive game – and for the third time in six matches – four minutes before the break when Morrell caught Ferdi Kadioglu with his studs.

It was a stupid challenge and from that moment Wales, despite no lack of effort or brave defending, were heading for a second crushing loss in four days.

The pressure on manager Rob Page had been ramped up by Friday’s shock 4-2 home defeat to Armenia – opponents ranked 97 in the world.

There was more bad news before kick-off as Armenia’s stoppage-time penalty secured a 2-1 win over Latvia and took them above Wales, who dropped to fourth in Group D.

After a poor World Cup when Wales finished bottom of their group and scored a solitary penalty, some fans voiced their frustration as Page attempted to explain the reasons behind a terrible run of one win in 11 games.

Page said Wales were a team in transition after the departures of Gareth Bale, Joe Allen and others, and two more senior players were also absent at a noisy Samsun 19 Mayis Stadium.

Vice-captain Ben Davies had stayed at home for the birth of his first child and Kieffer Moore was suspended after being sent off against Armenia.

Neco Williams and Morrell filled the gap as Page began by using Brennan Johnson as a lone striker.

Turkey were buoyed by Friday’s last-gasp 3-2 win in Latvia that had taken them top and were seeking to avenge their defeat to Wales at the Euro 2020 finals in Baku.

Johnson showed his pace early on to fire into the side-netting, but there was a worrying moment for Wales as the Nottingham Forest forward gingerly got back on his feet.

Turkey thought they had taken the lead after nine minutes when Chris Mepham turned Zeki Celik’s cross into his own net.

But after a VAR glitch where the usual on-screen lines to determine offside could not be used, referee Fabio Maresca went to the pitchside monitor himself to judge whether the goal should stand.

Much to Wales’ relief, the Italian official ruled that Celik was in an offside position when he received the ball and the goal was disallowed.

Kerem Akturkoglu sent the first shot in anger over the crossbar and Harry Wilson’s free-kick was deflected for a corner.

But the contest tilted Turkey’s way near half-time as Morrell left Kadioglu in a heap with a tender thigh – a challenge that Maresca correctly ruled as serious foul play.

Danny Ward held Orkun Koku’s stinging effort but Turkey goalkeeper Mert Gunok was stretched even further just after the restart by Wilson’s 25-yard free-kick, with Dan James unable to make the most of the rebound.

The match was being played almost entirely in the Wales half and Turkey were presented with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock after 64 minutes when skipper Aaron Ramsey handled Kadioglu’s cross.

Calhanoglu smashed his penalty to Ward’s right but the goalkeeper guessed correctly and pushed the ball away.

Turkey did have the ball in the Wales net moments later, only for Umut’s effort to be ruled out for handball.

But Nayir was not to be denied a second time after 72 minutes, the substitute’s header crossing the line despite the best efforts of Ward to keep it out.

Guler ended the contest 10 minutes from time with a spectacular effort, leaving Wales with much to do in the second half of the campaign to book an automatic qualifying place for next summer’s finals in Germany and not rely on the play-offs route.


TurkeyWalesEuropean Championship
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