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Joyful Latvia make history

Published: Thursday 20 November 2003
Turkey 2-2 Latvia (agg: 2-3) The visitors fight back to qualify for the first time for a major finals.

Match statistics

TurkeyLatvia

Goals scored2
 
2
Yellow cards1
 
2
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 20 November 2003

Joyful Latvia make history

Turkey 2-2 Latvia (agg: 2-3) The visitors fight back to qualify for the first time for a major finals.

Latvia qualified for a major international football tournament for the first time as goals from Jurijs Laizans and Maris Verpakovskis enabled the visitors to come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Turkey in Istanbul, progressing to the finals of UEFA EURO 2004™ 3-2 on aggregate.

Disciplined and determined
Strikes from Ilhan Mansiz and Hakan Sükür had seemed to put Senol Günes's side on their way to Portugal, but the home team rarely looked comfortable against determined and disciplined opponents, and never came close to scoring the two goals they needed in the closing stages.

Narrow lead
The visitors came to defend a 1-0 lead from the first leg in Riga, given to them by Verpakovskis's 29th-minute goal, and welcomed back key defenders Dzintars Zirnis and Mihails Zemlinskis after suspension, although Olegs Blagonadezdins and Valentins Lobanovs were missing through injury and suspension respectively. They were further boosted by the inclusion of Marians Pahars, a year after his last competitive match, on the substitute's bench.

Key suspensions
In contrast, the home side were depleted by suspensions, with first-choice goalkeeper Rüstü Reçber and defenders Fatih Akyel and Emre Asik all sidelined. Ömer Çatkiç deputised for Rüstü, with Ümit Davala and Deniz Barisalso coming into the back-line, while Hakan Sükür was recalled up front.

Volleyed opener
The home side began the game in positive fashion, pressing the visitors back as they sought an early goal. Tümer Metin twice had low shots easily saved by goalkeeper Aleksandrs Kolinko, but either side of his efforts, the home side took the lead in the 20th minute. Nihat Kahveci regained possession on the left of the Latvian penalty area before turning and hitting a cross towards Ilhan, whose unstoppable left-foot volley from the edge of the area gave Kolinko no chance.

Latvia bounce back
Buoyed by the goal, the home side pressed forward, but it was Latvia who looked the more likely scorers in the remainder of the second half. Four minutes after Ilhan's strike, Laizans linked well with Verpakovskis and his prodded effort from the edge of the area forced a sprawling Omer to turn the ball behind. Andrejs Rubins also came close, running from inside his own half before seeing his shot deflected behind.

Defensive solidity
The second half started in similar fashion to the first, with Turkey seeing more of the ball but struggling to break down a stubborn and well-organised Latvian defence, although Nihat sliced a shot high over the crossbar from 25 metres.

Well-worked goal
As in the first half, Latvia weathered the early storm and gradually came more into the match, as first Laizans then Rubins both shot wide. Just as it seemed the visitors were beginning to threaten, however, Turkey made it 2-0. A fine crossfield pass found Gökdeniz Karadeniz and the substitute broke down the right before crossing low for Hakan Sükür to turn into the net.

Bizarre strike
The Turkish celebrations had not died down when Latvia drew level on aggregate but, crucially, ahead on away goals. The visitors won a free-kick down the left and Laizans swung the ball in low. A succession of attackers missed the ball and, unsighted, Omer was unable to prevent it from nestling in the corner of the net.

Decisive second
The home side nearly responded immediately, as Hakan Sükür's thumping shot hit the crossbar, but 12 minutes from time their hopes suffered what proved to be a critical blow. A long ball over the top of the defence set Verpakovskis clear, and the striker held off Bülent to lift the ball over Omer and cap an extraordinary night for the away side.

Last updated: 20/11/03 11.59CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2004/matches/round=1580/match=73608/postmatch/report/index.html#joyful+latvia+make+history

Lineups

Turkey

Turkey

Latvia

Latvia

1
Ömer ÇatkıçÖmer Çatkıç (GK)
1
KoļinkoAleksandrs Koļinko (GK)
2
Ümit DavalaÜmit Davala
Yellow Card10
Substitution77
2
StepanovsIgors Stepanovs
3
KorkmazBülent Korkmaz (C)
3
AstafjevsVitālijs Astafjevs (C)
4
Deniz BarışDeniz Barış
4
ZemļinskisMihails Zemļinskis
5
Emre BelözoğluEmre Belözoğlu
5
LaizānsJuris Laizāns
Goal65
6
Tümer MetinTümer Metin
Substitution60
6
ZirnisDzintars Zirnis
7
Nihat KahveciNihat Kahveci
7
IsakovsAleksandrs Isakovs
8
Tugay KerimoğluTugay Kerimoğlu
Substitution79
8
BleidelisImants Bleidelis
Yellow Card35
9
Hakan ŞükürHakan Şükür
Goal64
9
VerpakovskisMāris Verpakovskis
Goal76
Substitution90+1
10
Ilhan MansizIlhan Mansiz
Goal20
10
RubinsAndrejs Rubins
11
İbrahim Üzülmezİbrahim Üzülmez
11
RimkusVīts Rimkus
Yellow Card45+2
Substitution79

Substitutes

12
ZaferZafer (GK)
12
PiedelsAndrejs Piedels (GK)
14
Gökdeniz KaradenizGökdeniz Karadeniz
Substitution60
14
PaharsMarians Pahars
Substitution90+1
17
Tuncay ŞanlıTuncay Şanlı
Substitution79
17
ŠtolcersAndrejs Štolcers
Substitution79
18
Hasan ŞaşHasan Şaş
Substitution77
13
KorabļovsIgors Korabļovs
13
PenbeErgün Penbe
15
MiholapsMihails Miholaps
15
Okan BurukOkan Buruk
16
PučinskisJurgis Pučinskis
16
İbrahim Toramanİbrahim Toraman
18
SmirnovsMāris Smirnovs

Coach

Şenol Güneş (TUR) Aleksandrs Starkovs (LVA)

Referee

Anders Frisk (SWE)

Assistant referees

Kenneth Petersson (SWE), Peter Ekström (SWE)

Fourth official

Peter Fröjdfeldt (SWE)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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