Turkey make it two wins on trot

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Turkey, who are England's main rivals for European Championship qualification from Group Seven, made it two victories in two matches yesterday when they beat Macedonia 2-1 in Skopje.

Turkey, who are England's main rivals for European Championship qualification from Group Seven, made it two victories in two matches yesterday when they beat Macedonia 2-1 in Skopje.

The Turks, who defeated Slovakia 3-0 in their opening game last month, were given a shock when Vlatko Grozdanoski put the home side ahead after only two minutes. They equalised in the 29th minute through Okan Buruk and secured the points nine minutes after the break when Nihat Kahveci scored the winner.

Lithuania showed Scotland how it should be done aginst obdurate opponents when they beat the Faroe Islands 2-0 at home in Kaunas. A penalty by Tomas Razanauskas midway through the first half set the Lithuanians on their way and Robertas Poskus put them 2-0 ahead eight minutes before the interval. Lithuania dominated in the first half and had several chances in the second as Deividas Cesnauskis missed from close range in the 55th minute and Razanauskas hit the post from the edge of the area in the 73rd. The Faroese had a few good chances of their own in the second half but Lithuania's goalkeeper, Gintaras Stauce, kept them out.

Sweden were unexpectedly held to a 1-1 draw by Hungary in Stockholm in Group Four. Krisztian Kenesei put Hungary ahead in the fifth minute with a low shot into the right corner and then they were put under siege by the Swedes, who created several good chances. Hungary's goalkeeper, Gabor Kiraly, was in inspired form, denying them on five occasions. When he was beaten, by a close-range Michael Svensson header, the Hungarian striker Attila Tokoli cleared off the line.

Sweden finally broke the spell in the 76th minute, but Kiraly still did not surrender his clean sheet easily. He did his utmost to stop Zlatan Ibrahimovic from putting his header on target, but it was little consolation for him that the Swedish scorer was left on the ground and out of the game after their aerial collision in competing for Mattias Jonsson's cross.

There was no Henrik Larsson for Sweden, but his Celtic team-mate, Stilian Petrov, again proved the inspiration as Bulgaria, who beat Belgium in Brussels last month, collected their second 2-0 win in Group Eight at home in Sofia against Croatia. Petrov ran on to Dimitar Berbatov's pass to shoot into the corner of the net after 21 minutes, and the roles were reversed 16 minutes later when Petrov picked out Berbatov, who chested the ball down before prodding it home.

In Group Six, Northern Ireland's section, Ukraine scored twice in the second half to beat Greece 2-0 in Kiev. Greece created first-half chances, with Demis Nikolaidis coming close twice before Giorgos Karagounis shot narrowly over.

Ukraine's coach, Leonis Buriak, whose side surrendered two late goals in their opening 2-2 draw in Armenia, made a double substitution after 24 minutes, including the introduction of Andriy Voronin. Andriy Vorobei broke the deadlock six minutes after the break, chesting the ball down and volleying home, and Voronin added the second in the last minute.

Norway produced an upset by winning in Romania in Group One, with Tottenham's Steffen Iversen scoring the only goal six minutes from time.

Comments