Hakan saves Turkey from home embarrassment

Turkey 3 Macedonia 2
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The Independent Football

Turkey were forced to come from behind twice at home to Macedonia here last night as they kept up the challenge in England's Euro 2004 qualifying group. But they may face an inquiry into missile throwing after Macedonia's second goal.

The Macedonians went ahead twice, with Aco Stoikov and Artim Sakiri sandwiching Nihat Kahveci's blockbuster for a half-time advantage. But the second half belonged to the Turks, with Gokdeniz Karadeniz and Hakan Sukur turning the match on its head.

The visitors went ahead in the 23rd minute when Lazarevski found space on the left and fed in a low cross to the near post that Stoikov, slotted past the Barcelona target Rustu Recber. But Emre Belozoglu played the ball in to Nihat, who let fly with a thunderous strike past Petar Milosevski to level the scores.

The visitors restored their lead after 28 minutes when the West Bromwich target, Artim Sakiri, bundled the ball home. During the celebrations Lazarevski was hit by a missile thrown from the irate supporters and, to his credit, Rustu ran over to the stricken player to protect him from further punishment as more objects rained down.

But Turkey were level two minutes after the break when Fatih Tekke set up Gokdeniz and, in the 59th minute Nihat set up Hakan for the winner.

Turkey: Rustu Recber; Emre Belozoglu (Gokdeniz Karadeniz, 43), Bulent Korkmaz, Fatih Akyel, Alpay Ozalan (Ahmet Yildiri, 72); Ergun Penbe, Tayfun Korkut (Okan Yilmaz, h-t), Tugay Kerimoglu; Hakan Sukur (Volkan Arslan, 78), Ibrahim Uzulmez, Nihat Kahveci.

Macedonia: Milosevski; Bozinovski (Poleski, 76), Vasoski, Sedloski, Jancevski; Mitreski, Stoikov, Sumolikoski; Grozdanovski (Nuhiyi, 56), Sakiri, Lazarevski.

Referee: R Rosetti (Italy).