Football: Turks' treble delight

Turkey 3 Okray 18, 58, Korkut pen 49 Northern Ireland 0 Attendance: 26,500
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The Independent Online
A VISIT to Galatasaray's inhospitable home was never going to be an easy start to Northern Ireland's European Championship campaign, in spite of Turkey's recent poor form. Their coach, Mustafa Denizli, had promised the nation a victory following heavy defeats by Israel and Albania, and his players delivered his pledge in emphatic style. Lawrie McMenemy's team lost 3-0, and it could have been more.

McMenemy was able to call upon Keith Gillespie for his first match in five months, and he deployed Iain Dowie, winning his 50th cap, as a lone striker in a 4-4-1-1 formation. The first chance fell to Dowie, who was unmarked as Michael Hughes delivered a free kick into the area in the ninth minute, but the captain headed wide.

Any plans to smother Turkey's attacking options were dashed, however, as Colin Hill and Steve Morrow were badly exposed at the back by Okray Derelioglu. The home side's first goal came from a counter-attack. Gillespie lost the ball upfield and Abdullah Ercan hit a 50-yard pass over the top for Okray to outpace Morrow and chip Alan Fettis on 18 minutes.

McMenemy brought on an extra striker, James Quinn, at halftime as he reverted to a 4-4-2 formation. But within four minutes Turkey had doubled their lead with a penalty by Tayfur Havutcu after Sergen Yalcin was brought down by Hill.

Turkey continued to pile on the pressure and on 58 minutes Oktay collected Tugay Kerimoglu's pass and turned inside Hill before placing his second goal in the far top corner.