Turkey thwarted by ten-man Belgium

Turkey 1-1 Belgium
Kemal Özdeş'team looked to have the Group B points secured through Ali Dere only for Jonas Vervaeke to head in a 90th-minute equaliser.

Turkey's Orhan Gülle in action during his side's draw against Belgium
Turkey's Orhan Gülle in action during his side's draw against Belgium ©Sportsfile

A late goal from Jonas Vervaeke kept ten-man Belgium in UEFA European Under-19 Championship contention after Ali Dere had seemingly given Turkey three vital Group B points.

Having each lost their opening games, both coaches said that three points were essentia,l but it was Kemal Özdeş' Turkey who dominated the first period without managing a breakthrough. The balance tipped their way three minutes before half-time when Belgium's Igor Vetokele was sent off and with 13 minutes remaining it looked as if they had finally broken Belgium's resolve through substitute Ali Dere. Vervaeke responded at the last, however.

With both sides needing three points to revive their campaigns the contest proved open from the outset, Ömer Ali Şahiner and Vetokele only centimetres away from applying a decisive touch at either end inside the first five minutes.

It was Turkey who built on that promising start, though, Orhan Gülle and Okan Alkan calling goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski into action before Gökay Iravul nodded Okan's pinpoint cross wide when unmarked near the penalty spot.

Kaminski kept out Kamil Çörekçi's low shot from the corner of the penalty area but Belgium's mounting problems worsened when Vetokele was sent off following a collision with Ömer Ali Şahiner. It needed another fine stop from the Belgium No1, this time from Sefa Başıbüyük's powerful effort, to keep the scores level at the break.

It was Belgium who nearly struck early in the second period, Paul-José Mpoku failing to get sufficient purchase on his far-post header. With time ticking away Gökay and Orhan Gülle brought diving stops from Kaminski with the goalkeeper also getting down smartly to deny Ömer Ali Şahiner.

This time fortune favoured Turkey, however, the ball falling kindly for Ali Dere to tap in, yet their delight was short-lived as Vervaeke beat Ömer Kahveci to Tom Pietermaat's long free-kick to head into an empty net. Both teams still therefore have hopes of progressing on Tuesday, with Turkey taking on Spain and Belgium facing Serbia.