Italy got their UEFA EURO 2000 campaign off to a winning start in Group B, but required a second-half penalty by Filippo Inzaghi to eke out victory after Okan Buruk had cancelled out Antonio Conte's strike.
Commanding Turkey captain Alpay Özalan had defended impeccably but was penalised for bringing down Inzaghi 20 minutes from time – the 26-year-old picked himself up and duly tucked away the spot kick. An equaliser was never on the cards, and Alessandro Del Piero rattled the crossbar with a free-kick. Yet Turkey had shown enough to suggest they had not come to make up the numbers.
Roared on by an enormous bank of supporters, Turkey began brightly and served notice of their threat as early as the first minute when Ogün Temizkanoğlu's free-kick evaded everyone bar the sprawling Francesco Toldo.
Though Conte struck the foot of the post with a fierce shot from a tight angle after five minutes, it was Mustafa Denizli's charges who dominated the early stages. Italy's three-man defence looked uncertain and almost conceded as Sergen Yalçin's effort curled wide.
The Azzurri recovered their poise and should have taken a 17th-minute lead when Inzaghi met Stefano Fiore's cross. The Juventus striker was unopposed but directed a header well wide with only Rüstü Reçber to beat. Thereafter the match became a more tactical affair, but roared back to life within six minutes of the restart when Fiore broke away down the left and found Inzaghi at the far post. The striker's cross-shot was intercepted by Alpay, but only as far as Conte who improvised a wonderful overhead kick.
Minutes later it might have been two as first Francesco Totti headed against the bar and then Inzaghi's effort was blocked on the line by Ogün. Before long, however, Turkey were level as Sergen's free-kick was headed in by the unmarked Okan. Italy dusted themselves off and back they came back. The colossal Alpay cleared off the line from substitute Del Piero but Inzaghi got the better of him.
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