Türkiye comes from behind to beat Armenia

Türkiye comes from behind to beat Armenia

Türkiye comes from behind to beat Armenia

Türkiye’s Orkun Kökçü and Kerem Aktürkoğlu secured a 2-1 comeback victory against Armenia on March 25 night, giving the visiting side a winning start to its Euro 2024 Group D qualifying campaign.

Türkiye went behind to an own goal in the 10th minute when Armenia’s Kamo Hovhannisyan fired in a cross from the edge of the penalty area and Ozan Kabak’s outstretched leg knocked the ball past his goalkeeper Mert Günok in the 10th minute.

Kökçü equalized in the 35th with a long-range shot into the corner of the goal just beyond Armenia keeper Arsen Beglaryan.

Aktürkoğlu put the visitors ahead in the 64th minute when Enes Ünal took a quick free kick in his own half, putting the winger through to fire the ball into the corner of the net.

Tüekiye, which reached the Euro 2008 semifinals, is looking to make up for a disappointing performance at Euro 2020 when it lost all three games and scored one goal.

“We knew Armenia would play very emotionally and very hard,” Türkiye coach Stefan Kuntz told reporters after the match.

“Every time a new coach comes in, it always reflects on the field. We didn’t win enough tackles and made a lot of individual mistakes. In the second half we changed the system to control the game a bit more. It wasn’t an easy game, but I still think it was a deserved win. It was a tough away game, we are happy about it.”

In Group D’s other match, Croatia, finalist and semifinalist at the past two World Cups, conceded a last-gasp equalizer as Wales debutant Nathan Broadhead tapped home a flick-on from a long throw.

“I got a bit overwhelmed to be honest, a bit emotional,” Broadhead, who plays for third-tier Ipswich, told S4C.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. We needed a point, we came here to try and win but to get a point is good as well.”

Andrej Kramaric’s low shot from just outside the area had given Croatia the lead in Split against a Wales team beginning life after the retirement of their record goalscorer and captain Gareth Bale.

Luka Modric won his 163rd cap for Croatia, which has never lost a home European Championship qualifier, a run now spanning 36 matches dating back to 1994.

In Malaga, Spain won 3-0 against a Norway side missing the injured Erling Haaland.

Dani Olmo turned in Alejandro Balde’s driven low cross on 13 minutes in Malaga and Joselu scored twice on his Spain debut to give new coach Luis de la Fuente a victory in his first match in charge.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga pulled off a brilliant reflex stop to deny Fredrik Aursnes and clawed another effort off the line on his first start for Spain since October 2020.

Alexander Sorloth then volleyed wide before Espanyol striker Joselu came off the bench and bagged a quick-fire double, heading in his first and sweeping home a rebound for the second.

“I still can’t believe it,” said the 32-year-old Joselu, the first Spain player to net twice on his international debut since Fernando Morientes in 1998.

“For any player this is just the best thing that can happen. It’s the reward for all the daily work.”