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France victory ends Turkey challenge

Turkey 1-2 France
Goals from Adrien Hunou and Yassine Benzia took Francis Smerecki's side clear in second place in Group B and ended Turkey's semi-final ambitions.

Adrien Hunou celebrates giving France an early lead
Adrien Hunou celebrates giving France an early lead ©Sportsfile

France closed in on a place in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-finals with a victory that ended Turkey's Group B hopes.

France made the perfect start as Adrien Hunou supplied a simple finish to a sixth-minute attack, yet Turkey came back strongly with İbrahim Yılmaz passing up a gilt-edged opportunity to level early in the second period. That miss proved costly as Yassine Benzia made it two just past the hour to leave Francis Smerecki's side on four points, two behind section leaders Serbia; having lost both their matches, despite Yılmaz's late penalty here, Turkey cannot reach the last four.

Frustrated in their opening goalless draw against Georgia, France pushed forward from the outset and had already gone close twice before that early breakthrough. Adrien Rabiot and Benzia both drew routine stops from Onurcan Piri, but the goalkeeper was left helpless when Anthony Martial wriggled down the left and his low cross presented Hunou with a tap-in.

Turkey responded positively although clear chances were at a premium, Serdar Yazıcı – one of four changes from the matchday one defeat by Serbia – dragging wide the best of them. France's pace made them a counterattacking threat, and on the stroke of half-time Lenny Nangis's low shot elicited a sprawling save from Piri.

The second period could also have begun with a goal as Cenk Şahin delivered an inswinging cross that found Yılmaz unmarked in front of goal; the striker could only direct his header wide. France went close themselves from a familiar route as Martial again broke away down the left; this time a stretching Hunou diverted the low centre wide.

Four minutes past the hour it was 2-0. Rabiot was the architect, substitute Okan Aydın unable to prevent his pass reaching the lurking Benzia, who slotted a shot past Piri. Yılmaz did find the net with an 87th-minute penalty after being fouled by goalkeeper Quentin Beunardeau, but France held on.