Turkey beats Azerbaijan 1-0 to make Euro playoff

Turkey secured a playoff spot for next year’s European

Championship after Burak Yilmaz scored the only goal in a 1-0 win

over Azerbaijan in their final qualifier on Tuesday.

Turkey took advantage of Belgium’s 3-1 loss against group winner

Germany to finish second in Group A with 17 points, two ahead of

the Belgians.

”It was not a very difficult game. I think we started the game

very well, made a good press with very good possession play but the

team got a little overexcited when the goal did not come. In the

second half we were more in control,” Turkey coach Guus Hiddink

said.

Turkey dominated the first half but rarely threatened to score,

except for a couple of efforts by Real Madrid midfielder Hamit

Altintop and a drive by Kazim Kazim that went narrowly wide in the

14th minute. The Galatasaray midfielder could convert after Hamit’s

cross was headed back by Burak from inside the six-yard box.

The home side began the second half at a lower tempo but shifted

gears approaching the hour mark, with Arda Turan appealing

unsuccessfully for a penalty in the 56th.

Burak finally gave Turkey the goal it needed in the 60th,

converting a perfect through ball by Galatasaray midfielder Selcuk

Inan, who came on as a substitute just two minutes earlier.

Turkey looked for a second, with a lob by Atletico Madrid winger

Arda saved by Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Agayev in the 71st.

Agayev parried another effort in the 84th minute when Burak shot

from the edge of the box. The goalscorer received a standing

ovation from the home fans when he was substituted in the 88th.

The playoff lots will be drawn on Oct 13. and will be played on

Nov. 11-12 and 15.

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Lineups:

Turkey: Sinan Bolat, Sabri Sarioglu, Gokhan Zan, Egemen Korkmaz,

Hakan Balta, Kazim Kazim (Selcuk Inan 58), Mehmet Topal, Emre

Belozoglu (Gokhan Tore 78), Hamit Altintop, Arda Turan, Burak

Yilmaz (Umut Bulut 88).

Azerbaijan: Kamran Agayev, Ruslan Abishov, Vurghun Huseynov,

Rashad F. Sadigov, Ufuk Budak (Rahid Amirguliyev 90), Mahir

Shukurov, Afran Ismayilov (Elshan Mammadov 46 , Rahid Amirguliyev

85), Aleksandr Chertoganov, Vladimir Levin, Vugar Nadirov, Branimir

Subasic.