Croatia 0-0 Turkey (Agg 3-0): Slaven Bilic's side secure place at Euro 2012
The hard work had been done already in Friday's first leg, and Croatia comfortably held on to their three-goal aggregate advantage to advance to next summer's finals
By Enis Koylu
Slaven Bilic’s men had triumphed 3-0 in Istanbul on Friday, and their heavy first-leg lead was enough to seal their place in Ukraine and Poland next summer.
|Bet:||Returns:||Cameroon £36.00||Draw £32.50||Croatia £20.50|
|Bet:||Returns:||Cameroon £42.00||Draw £33.00||Croatia £19.10|
|Bet:||Returns:||Cameroon £42.00||Draw £32.00||Croatia £18.50|
Turkey coach Guus Hiddink had gone into the match saying that he was hoping for a miracle, and almost got a god-sent gift just minutes into the match. Selcuk Inan let fly from distance, his strike eluded everyone and bounced off the post. The sprawling Stipe Pletikosa managed to get up in time to save Colin-Kazim Richards’ follow up as the Croatian defence looked on, completely static.
The former Sheffield United man should have buried his chance, and minutes later the hosts almost made the Turks regret missing such an easy opportunity.
A tame back-header from Selcuk Sahin almost let Ivica Olic in, but Sinan Bolat charged off his line to claim the ball before the Bayern Munich man could capitalise on the error.
The visitors dominated possession, as they did on Friday, but had nothing in the way of real chances. Gokhan Tore was thrown on for a visibly unhappy Caner Erkin, but was able to swing the tie in Turkey’s favour.
As in the first leg, Turkey were vulnerable on the counter-attack, and the lead was almost extended when Olic pulled the ball back to Ivan Rakitic, but the Sevilla man skied his shot.
If the visitors were to pull off the fairy tale result, they would have to come out after the restart all guns blazing. However, the early part of the second half was characterised by more cautious approach play with little end product.
Gokhan Tore touched the ball back to Hamit Altintop, who sent in a powerful shot wide that clipped the bottom of the post and went wide.
Seconds later, Sinan Bolat’s mistimed punch almost came back to haunt him, but the Standard Liege goalkeeper got down well to save a deflected shot from Rakitic.
In truth, there was little in the way of clear-cut chances. Rakitic and Srna came close to rubbing salt into Turkish wounds with long range efforts, but 0-0 was enough for Croatia to seal qualification. Turkey, meanwhile, are left to rue another failed campaign.
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