Turkey ends Euro tour with Ukraine game
INGOLSTADT, Germany - Hürriyet Daily News
AP photoThe Turkish national football team aims to continue its European tour on a high note when it takes on Ukraine tonight.
Turkey will face Ukraine in the last game of its tour of friendly games at Audi Sportpark in Ingolstadt, Germany tonight. The game will also be a key preparation for the European Football Championship co-host before the top competition starts June 8.
Coach Abdullah Avcı, who has just begun rebuilding the team in the wake of Turkey’s failure to qualify for Euro 2012, has led the team to a successful showing in the European tour.
Turkey grabbed three wins in four of the games it has played in the last 10 days.
After a 3-1 win over Georgia on May 24, Turkey had a choke on May 26, failing to hold on to its lead over Finland and losing 3-2. The game was called off in the dying minutes due to fans invading the pitch.
An improvement came three days after, when Turkey beat Bulgaria 2-0 on May 29.
Surprising victory at La Luz Stadium
However, the most successful performance came toward the end of the tour, when Turkey shocked Portugal by winning 3-1 in a friendly on June 2, a week before the Portuguese start their campaign at the European Championship against Germany.
Two goals from Umut Bulut gave Turkey a 2-0 lead at La Luz Stadium in Lisbon, and goalkeeper Volkan Demirel saved a penalty kick from Cristiano Ronaldo, denying the Portuguese a chance to equalize after Nani’s strike gave them some hope.
Toulouse forward Bulut shot another goal in the dying minutes of the game, and although Ricardo Costa cleared the ball off the line, it hit Pepe and rebounded into the net, giving Turkey a memorable 3-1 win. Tonight, Turkey will be hoping to end its successful European tour on a high note, while Ukraine will try to take some momentum from the game going into Euro 2012.