Republic of Ireland 0-1 Turkey Substitute Oğuzhan Özyakup's goal sealed the points for ten-man Turkey in their final Group 7 qualifier, leaving Ireland's hopes in the balance.
Article top media content
A late goal by substitute Oğuzhan Özyakup earned ten-man Turkey a 1-0 win against the Republic of Ireland in their final UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group 7 qualifier.
Though Muhammet Demir was shown a straight red card with 17 minutes remaining, it was Turkey who felt impelled to attack and ultimately left Sligo with the three points thanks to Oğuzhan's neat winner.
The visitors would have scored after 16 minutes if the perfectly positioned Shane Duffy had not deflected wide Serdar Aziz's near-post header from Soner Aydoğdu's corner. Home goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin was forced into action later in the half, saving brilliantly from Sefa Yilmaz's long-range drive.
A quiet second period exploded into life when Demir was dismissed after reacting to a Greg Cunningham challenge. However, it was Turkey that seized the initiative, grabbing the lead 11 minutes later. Excellent footwork inside the box from Oğuzhan opened up the Ireland defence, allowing him to slot under the onrushing McLoughlin.
Ireland could have levelled in the dying minutes. The ball fell kindly for John Egan after the right-back had bundled his way through the Turkey rearguard, but his side-footed effort was parried by Özkan Karabulut.
Tolunay Kafkas's side sit in second position, hoping their final haul of 15 points will be enough to secure them a place in the play-offs as one of the four best runners-up. The defeat has dealt a blow to third-placed Ireland's automatic play-off chances; with two games left Noel King's men are six points behind leaders Italy – and five short of Turkey – though they face the Azzurrini in their last fixture.