Injured Gökhan Gönül cut out of national squad
Turkish players react after losing 1-0 at home in Istanbul to Romania in a 2016 World Cup qualifying stage match. AA photoFenerbahçe midfielder Gökhan Gönül was left out of the Turkish national squad yesterday due to injury, adding to coach Abdullah Avcı’s woes ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier against Hungary tomorrow.
Gönül was added to a long list of injured Turkish internationals, including Mehmet Topal, Selçuk İnan and Burak Yılmaz, who were all sidelined when Turkey lost 1-0 to Romania on Oct. 12 at home.
Gaziantepspor’s Serdar Kurtuluş and Jem Paul Karacan of Reading FC were the latest additions to the squad over the weekend. It is the first national call-up for Reading’s Karacan, who was born in England to a Turkish Cypriot father and English mother.
Turkey has lost two of its first three games in Group D of the 2016 World Cup qualifiers and trails the Netherlands and Romania by six points.
Gheorghe Grozav scored into an empty goal from outside the penalty area to put Romania ahead in the 45th minute at Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium, capitalizing on poor judgment by Turkish goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, who was late in coming out to challenge for the ball against the Romanian. Turkey failed to find an equalizer in the second half.
Avcı said after the game that it was a tough match. The pressure on the coach, who replaced Guus Hiddink at the beginning of the year, has increased after the team suffered its seventh loss in 10 games under the ex-Istanbul BB coach.
Avcı was defiant about his player and system choices. “I believe that I was not wrong in my player choices, the choice belongs to me and my team,” Avcı told reporters at a post-game press conference. “Losing is a part of the game and today we lost.”
When asked why Liverpool’s in-form player Nuri Şahin did not start against Romania, Avcı avoided giving a direct answer, only saying he had known Nuri since the player was 17.
“Nuri is one of the most valuable players in this country and the national team. He has been taking more time since his transfer to Liverpool, and that is an advantage for us. Nuri is one of the players who will wear this team’s jersey,” Avcı said.
Also on Oct. 12 , the Netherlands made it three wins from three games as it coasted to an expected 3-0 victory over an outclassed Andorra at De Kuip Stadion in Rotterdam.
The Oranje were off and running in the seventh minute when Rafael van der Vaart hammered home from long range and there were further goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and debutant Ruben Schaken, while Ron Vlaar and Jeremain Lens both hit the woodwork.