By Timur Kamashev
Kazakhstan have recorded their best national-team result since joining UEFA in April 2002 with a UEFA European Under-21 Championship victory against Turkey.
The Kazakhs had lost their previous six U21 qualifiers in Group 2, having also never won a full international since entering qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Before today, their only victory at any level of men's football was a 1-0 success against Bosnia-Herzegovina last October in the U19 championship first qualifying round.
Today's win was also revenge for the U21 side's 1-0 defeat in Istanbul last year and came under new coach Anton Shokh, who has just taken over from Oyrat Saduov. Shokh's first match in charge was a 5-1 loss in Denmark in March before Saturday's 2-1 reverse in Ukraine.
Turkey were behind after 12 minutes this afternoon thanks to a goal from FC Vostok midfielder Alexey Shakin. However, the visitors' Akin Ibragim was brought down by Alexandr Grigorenko in the penalty area on the half-hour, and Turkish captain Fahri Tatan made no mistake from the spot.
Leading by example
After the break, the hosts poured forward in search of victory, and in the final minute their charge finally yielded fruit. A mistake in the Turkish defence enabled Kazakhstan captain Vladimir Yakovlev to shoot from the edge of the area, and the ball flew into the net via a deflection.
"Our will and our huge desire to make the fans happy helped us to win," said Shokh after claiming a historic three points that will have done much for his team's confidence, though they remain rooted to the bottom of Group 2. Turkey stay on 14 points from nine games, with their coach Rashit Ketiner claiming "despite this defeat, we will continue to battle for first place in the group". Ukraine are now two points ahead in second after their victory in Greece, who remain above Turkey on goal difference.
Turkey welcome runaway leaders Denmark on 2 September, while Kazakhstan hope to move off the bottom by defeating Georgia on 16 August.