Turkey dismisses Andorra 5-0 to offer slightest glimmer of hope in World Cup qualifying
Umut Bulut, author of a hat-trick, celebrates Turkey's first goal against Andorra in Kayseri. DHA photoTurkey did the easy part in its difficult quest to bring itself back into contention for qualification to the 2014 World Cup by defeating minnows Andorra 5-0 in Kayseri, but the team’s struggle remains an uphill one ahead of a crucial Tuesday clash against Romania.
The match, the first for Fatih Terim in the Turkey dugout since he agreed to coach the “Milli Takım” for the third time, proceeded largely according to predictions, with the home team initially struggling to break down a dogged Andorran side whose main concern was maintaining a respectable score line.
Devoid of the ability to offer much in the way of attack, Andorra’s part-timers, who have yet to hit the back of the net in the current round of qualifiers, were restricted to the occasional foray over the half-way line as Turkey enjoyed the rare opportunity to retain the ball with Barcelona-like ball possession statistics. The team from the Pyrenees, however, did create a spot of bother for Turkey on the half-hour mark by winning a corner that briefly raised worries in the Turkish box.
Turkey eventually found a breakthrough through Umut Bulut in the 35th minute following a cross from Gökhan Töre. Umut doubled the advantage four minutes later when he beat Andorran goalkeeper Ferran Pol from distance.
Galatasaray’s Burak Yılmaz struck again in the second half to make 3-0 for the hosts.
With the floodgates well and truly opened, Umut completed his hat-trick on 68 minutes with a deft chip over the onrushing Pol – who ultimately did sterling work in restricting Turkey to five – following a through pass by Gökhan.
Atlético Madrid midfielder Arda Turan rounded out the scoring with a goal in second-half injury time.
Turkey now has 10 points in qualifying, six of which have come against Andorra – whose entire population of 85,000 could fit into many world football stadiums. Previous trainer Abdullah Avcı stepped down over the summer after the team turned in disastrous performances to merely collect seven points from its first six games, which included deflating losses at home to Romania and away to Hungary.
With the Netherlands runaway winners to win the group – despite suprisingly being held to a 2-2 draw tonight by Estonia – Turkey is desperately hoping to overtake Romania, 3-0 winners on the night at home to Hungary, on 13 points for second spot in the section, although sandwiched between them are the Magyars on 11 points.
Turkey will travel to play to the Carpathians on Sept. 10, knowing that nothing less than a victory will do if it entertains any illusions of improbably grabbing second spot and a berth in November’s playoffs.