Turkey 3-0 Slovakia
Arif Erdem took the plaudits as Turkey ran out comfortable winners in their opening Group 7 game against Slovakia. On home territory at the Ali Sami Yen stadium, the Galatasaray SK striker set up one goal and scored the other two as Senol Günes's side overwhelmed their opponents.
Slovakia made a promising start as Robert Vittek forced Rüstu Reçber to make a diving save from his angled shot in the first two minutes of the game, but it was to be a false dawn for Ladislav Jurkemik's side who were then subjected to a devastating footballing display from Turkey.
A lack of concentration in defence may have been to blame for Turkey's opener after 14 minutes, as three defenders all failed to cut out Arif's precise cross from the right, allowing Serhat Akin to surge up to the back post and beat goalkeeper Juraj Bucek with a six-metre shot.
Class and composure
However, as time went on in the first half and Turkey regained the class and composure that characterised their excellent performances in this summer's FIFA World Cup finals, there was little that Slovakia could do to prevent the home side extending their lead.
Arif on target
They duly did so in the final minute of the first half with another incisive piece of attacking football from Arif. Spotting a gap in the Slovakian defence, Arif charged through to collect an angled ball from the left before jabbing it between the legs of the gigantic Bucek and into the bottom corner of the net.
Having all but evaporated as an attacking force in the first half, Slovakia at least looked more determined in the second, with substitutes Luboš Reiter and Rastislav Michalík both forcing saves out of Rüstu and rallying their demoralised teammates.
However, it was to be Arif's evening as he confirmed Turkey's ascendancy with a killer blow after 65 minutes. Substitute Nihat Kahveci sucked in the Slovakian defence before delivering a ball from the by-line which Vratislav Gresko could only deflect into the path of Arif.
The striker was left with the simple task of beating Bucek from six metres out - a chance which in this kind of form he was never going to miss.