Turkey draws 1-1 with Belgium in Euro qualifier

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.

Belgium missed Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku and Everton

midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

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


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.