Burak Yilmaz scores in Turkey's victory
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.
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.