Turkey snatches last-minute winner in Montenegro friendly
AA photoA last-gasp header from Mehmet Topal gave Turkey a 1-0 victory over Montenegro on May 29, as well as a boost to the team’s morale ahead of Euro 2016.
Midfielder Arda Turan, likely to be key to Turkey’s prospects in France, set up the goal with a cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time and Topal charged into the area to head it past the diving Montenegro keeper.
Until that moment the visitors had contained the threat from Turkey well, playing in a packed stadium in Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
Hakan Çalhanoğlu, who scored Turkey’s first ever goal against England in a 2-1 defeat on May 22, went close in the seventh minute with a powerful shot from outside the area which flew over the bar.
Turkey had further chances from Volkan Şen and Oğuzhan Özyakup but both fired wide.
Montenegro continued to absorb pressure in the second half until Arda managed to cut open the defense.
Turkish manager Fatih Terim made a total of six substitutions in a generally carefully played match.
Before last week’s loss to England, Turkey had been undefeated in their previous 14 games, having qualified for the European Championship with an impressive late burst.
On June 5, Turkey will face Slovenia away in the last friendly ahead of Euro 2016.
Turkey faces holders Spain, Croatia and Czech Republic in their group in the month-long European Championship finals, which start in France on June 10.
Croatia and Turkey go head-to-head for the third time at a UEFA European Championship finals on June 12, eight years after an unforgettable knockout encounter in Basel, Switzerland, when Turkey went through on penalties after a 1-1 draw in which both sides scored late in extra time. Semih Şentürk cancelled out Ivan Klasnić’s 119th-minute strike to force the shoot-out.