Belgium’s Axel Witsel blazed over a penalty in the 74th minute Friday to give Turkey a fortunate 1-1 draw which kept both teams battling for second place in Euro 2012 Group A.
Substitute Dries Martens was tripped by Arda Turan in the penalty area, but the mishit by Standard Liege’s Witsel denied Belgium the three points.
The draw could be important for Turkey coach Guus Hiddink, who is at the center of speculation he could return to coach Chelsea in the Premier League.
Marvin Ogunjimi had given Belgium the lead in the 4th minute and Turkey equalized in the 22nd when Burak Yilmaz finished off a smooth attack with a low shot from close range.
Behind runaway leader Germany with 18 points, Belgium held on to second place with 11 points from seven games, with Turkey totaling 10 from six.
”We had a chance for more, and we deserved more,” Belgium and Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen said. ”We no longer control our own destiny now.”
Genk’s Ogunjimi gave Belgium the perfect start, taking a header from Twente’s Nacer Chadli and beating Volkan Demirel from close range after a first attempt was blocked.
The penalty made the difference though.
”We were lucky that is was missed,” Hiddink said. ”We can be happy with the result.”
Turkey equalized in the 22nd minute when Arda Turan cut in from the right close to the goalline, waited for Burak Yilmaz to make a timely run through the center and delivered the perfect ball for a simple tap-in.
Hiddink was missing his top two Real Madrid-bound stars, Nuri Sahin from German champion Borussia Dortmund and Hamit Altintop from Bayern Munich.
Hazard, champion with Lille and voted top player of the French league got a rare start under coach Georges Leekens but rarely had an impact on the game before replaced by Dries Martens in the 59th minute.
Belgium should have had a handsome lead at half-time had Ajax defender Jann Vertonghen not wasted two great headed opportunities. He did not come back in the second half, replaced by Vermaelen.