Austria pay heavy price

Austria 0 Turkey 1
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The Independent Football

Okan Buruk's strike on the hour earned Turkey a valuable away goal in their attempts to qualify for the World Cup finals. The two sides fought out a dour encounter here at the Ernst Happel stadium on Saturday and were only separated by the Internazionale midfielder's effort.

The first half was hard-fought with yellow cards outnumbering chances on goal. The first chance came through Austria's Mario Haas, but his diving header from a cross by the Hearts player Thomas Flögel was well saved by Turkey's goalkeeper Rustu Recber.

Turkey's Ergun Penbe then latched onto a misplaced pass from Zeljko Vukovic but could not find the target. The second half started out much the same, but Turkey scored the vital winner after 60 minutes.

After the Austrian defender Michael Bauer had missed at the Turks' end, the visitors responded with a counter- attack. Okan collected a volleyed pass from Tugay Kerimologlu and scored from close range despite the Austrian goalkeeper Franz Wohlfahrt getting a hand to the ball.

The goal spurred Austria on, but Haas could not convert Markus Weissenberger's cross and his header cannoned off the woodwork 10 minutes after the goal. If Austria could have converted either of their chances late on, the game would have taken on a different complexion.

The veteran playmaker Andreas Herzog launched a long-range shot but could not find the target and Baur's attempt from Herzog's cross also went astray. But a repeat of their late strike against Israel in their last group game which put them through to the play-offs could not be contrived.

The Austrian coach, Otto Baric, who left out a number of players who had refused to travel to Israel because of security fears, said: "I'm disappointed. Turkey played well and we just had no luck. We had the chances to make at least a draw or even a narrow win but we simply failed to score."

His Turkish counterpart Senol Gunes – attempting to steer his nation to their first World Cup finals – said: "I am pleased about the victory. Austria were tactically strong, but we fulfilled our tasks. We were the better team and we earned our win."

Goal: Okan Buruk (60) 0-1.

Austria: Wohlfahrt; Flögel, Vukovic, Winklhofer, Baur, Schopp (Lexa, 53), Strafner, Markus Hiden (Kitzbichler, 72), Wallner (Weissenberger, 62), Herzog, Haas.

Turkey: Rustu Recber; Umit Davala, Abdullah Ercan, Umit Ozat, Alpay Ozalan, Emre Asik, Okan Buruk (Tayfur Havutcu, 88), Tugay Kerimoglu, Hakan Sukur, Yildiray Basturk (Fatih Akyel, 70), Ergun Penbe (Arif Erdem, 62).

Referee: M Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain).

Attendance: 48,500.