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Muhittin Çetinkaya's 79th-minute winner struck the UEFA Regions' Cup death knell for South Region Russia, though Ankara could feel somewhat lucky to have scraped three points against their ten-man Group B opponents.
Reduced in number following the dismissal of Mikhail Tiukalkin on the stroke of half-time, barely 60 seconds after the No10's penalty had cancelled out Fatih Deniz's smart 13th-minute opener, Oleg Sanko's side proved to be a real menace with ten men. However, substitute Rodion Chalov hit a 73rd-minute spot-kick against the upright, leaving Muhittin to scuff an untidy winner off the inside of the post.
After Fatih slammed in the early opener from Atila Çetin's pass, South Region offered little in reply except for a Zviadi Pertiya effort which he planted firmly into Mustafa Köseci's midriff. However, they had picked up the pace by the time Tiukalkin scored from the spot, although the goalscorer was then shown two yellow cards in quick succession and was ordered off.
Hameş Sentürk's men had clung on for a 0-0 draw with ten men on Matchday 1 against Leinster & Munster, but looked less comfortable with the boot on the other foot. Muhittin headed Chalov's dangerous chip on to the bar and Ankara's composure looked to have failed them when Fatih fired wide at the other end with his side five-on-one with the last South Region defender.
Chalov's missed penalty was a disaster for the tiring Russian side, but their footballing apocalypse came as Muhittin found the ball from nowhere in the box, and poked it into the net off the inside of the post. Ankara can now reach the final with a win against Belgrade on Sunday, while South Region will head home following their game against Leinster & Munster.
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