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Euro 2024: Turkiye defeats Czechs 2-1; edges into last 16

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Euro 2024: Turkiye defeats Czechs 2-1; edges into last 16
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Photo: AFP 

Hamburg, Germany: Turkey defeated the 10-man Czech Republic 2-1 on Wednesday to advance to the European Championship knockout stage. Cenk Tosun's goal in stoppage time put an end to the suspense. As Turkey would have lost the match if the Czechs had won, Tosun, a replacement, darted past two worn-out defenders on the left and sent a powerful effort inside the far post.

“This is just the start,” Tosun said. “I’m delighted with my goal. We spoke about it beforehand, how this is exactly the time for it.”

Most of the spectators at Hamburg's Volksparkstadion celebrated, but it also sparked a confrontation between players and substitutes who had onto the pitch. Following the chaos, Tomas Chory, the Czech forward, received a red card; Arda Guler, the Turkish forward, and team captain Tomas Soucek received yellow cards.

Istvan Kovacs, a Romanian referee, had a busy night. He had shown 18 yellow cards in all and had sent off Czech midfielder Antonin Barak in the 20th minute. Barak received the first for a tactical foul in the eleventh, and the second for stamping Salih Ozcan's foot, AP reported.

“I only saw him in the break,” Czech coach Ivan Hasek said of Barak. “He was sad, with his head in his hands. He really punished himself by beating himself up about it.”

The sending-off prompted waves of attacks from Turkey. Guler, Hakan Calhanoglu, and Kenan Yildiz were posing a significant threat to the Czech defence. Star player Patrik Schick was absent from the Czech attack as he failed to recover from a calf muscle injury. Schick's protest on the bench resulted in a booking. That was to be his sole contribution.

After being booked for a stamp on Robin Hranac in the 37th, Yildiz managed to avoid another yellow card by elbowing Vladimir Coufal in the face. The second incident went unnoticed by the referee. In the 51st, Calhanoglu broke the tie with a low shot inside the far post. Despite making an incredible save to stop Mert Muldur, Czech goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek was unable to reach Calhanoglu's powerful effort.

Stanek's apparent shoulder injury following his first save prevented him from playing further. Matej Kovar, a reserve goalkeeper for Bayer Leverkusen, replaced him.

After a goalmouth scramble in which the ball was cleared off the line, Soucek equalised in the 66th minute. Goalkeeper Mert Gunok was not unfairly hindered, according to a VAR check. Tosun's late goal put an end to the Czechs' hopes of moving forward, as they needed another goal.

“It’s disappointment. We all wanted to advance. We had a goal to beat them from the start but we didn’t make it, that’s disappointing,” Soucek told the Czech public broadcaster.

The Czech Republic finished last in Group F, trailing Georgia, who upset group winner Portugal with a 2-0 win to advance as one of the best third-place teams. Turkey finished second with six points and will face Austria in Leipzig on Tuesday.

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TAGS:Euro 2024
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