The official website for European football

Turkey down Azerbaijan to seal play-off place

Published: Tuesday 11 October 2011, 21.47CET
Turkey 1-0 Azerbaijan
A narrow victory against an obdurate Azerbaijan side ensured Guus Hiddink's men leapfrogged Belgium into second place to qualify for the play-offs.
by Dirk Vermeiren
from Turk Telekom Arena
Turkey down Azerbaijan to seal play-off place
Burak Yılmaz wheels away in delight after breaking the deadlock against Azerbaijan ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 11 October 2011, 21.47CET

Turkey down Azerbaijan to seal play-off place

Turkey 1-0 Azerbaijan
A narrow victory against an obdurate Azerbaijan side ensured Guus Hiddink's men leapfrogged Belgium into second place to qualify for the play-offs.

A narrow victory against an obdurate Azerbaijan side secured Turkey a spot in the UEFA EURO 2012 play-offs, lifting them above Belgium into second place in qualifying Group A.

Turkey knew that only a win would suffice to give them any chance of pipping Belgium to the runners-up berth and, after a hard-fought hour of action, Burak Yılmaz scored the all-important goal to fulfil his team's half of the bargain. The rest was out of their hands, but Germany's 3-1 home defeat of the Diables Rouges answered their prayers.

The turning point of the game came on 58 minutes when Turkey coach Guus Hiddink elected to replace Kazım Kazım with Selçuk İnan. It proved to be a masterstroke as Selçuk's first touch brought a miraculous save out of goalkeeper Kamran Agayev; his second was even better, a deep pass allowing Burak to clip the ball over Agayev.

Hiddink had opted for a more attacking lineup than in Friday's 3-1 loss to Germany and his selection almost brought reward in the opening minute, Kazım Kazım fluffing his lines when presented with a chance by the equally hesitant visiting defence. Although Emre Belözoğlu was fortunate to get away with gifting a loose pass to Aleksandr Chertoganov, Turkey dominated the first half albeit without converting possession into chances against resolute opponents set up to attack on the break.

The hosts drove forward without an end product and their frustration was epitomised by Burak's disallowed goal for offside early in the second period. The striker's next effort counted, however, and Turkey successfully negotiated the remaining half-hour as news of Belgium's impending fate began to filter down from the stands.

Last updated: 12/10/11 0.23CET

Related information

Related match
  • SSI Err

http://www.uefa.com/news/newsid=1516009.html#turkey+down+azerbaijan+seal+play+place

UEFA.com features

Kardemir forge on: Europe's men of steel
  • Kardemir forge on: Europe's men of steel
  • Izmailov, Krasnodar 'want to go as far as possible'
  • The Women's U19 finals in photos
  • Serbia aim to take final step
  • Concentration key to Germany progress
  • See the pick of the pictures from matchday three
  • Nemanja Maksimović: Serbia's man of many parts
  • Drogba's greatest UEFA Champions League hits
  • Ireland's semi-final adventure: behind the scenes
  • Israel travails no problem for Peretz
1 of 10
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.