Turkey face Austria in Euro last-16 clash after Czechs defeat

Turkey on Wednesday night overcame tough resistance from 10-man Czech Republic in a 2-1 victory at the ongoing Euro 2024 tournament.

Goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Cenk Tosun were enough for them to set up a last-16 clash with Austria and send their opponents home.

The Czechs, quarter-finalists at the last European Championship, needed victory to stand any chance of advancing, but the 20th-minute dismissal of midfielder Antonin Barak for a harsh second yellow card was a blow to their attacking intent.

In a chaotic and heated end to the game, Czech Republic’s Tomas Chory was also given a red card in a melee seconds before the final whistle.

As well as the two reds, the referee also showed 16 yellow cards to set a new Euros disciplinary record.

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Both teams pressed hard from the start in a raucous atmosphere on a hot night with Turkish fans marching to the game and outnumbering the Czechs thanks to their huge diaspora in Germany.

Thirty-year-old playmaker Calhanoglu’s 50th-minute goal was a first at his third Euros, triggering flares and delirium from fans.

He scored with a low shot across goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek who had appeared to hurt his shoulder with a save just before and went off injured after the goal.

Teenager Arda Guler inexplicably missed a close-range sitter to put Turkey two ahead and the Czechs immediately equalised, Tomas Soucek prodding home in the 66th minute after a long throw caused chaos to set up a thrilling finale.

Tosun struck Turkey’s winner in stoppage time, sparking wild scenes on his bench and among Turkish fans.

The result banished the Turks’ dark memories of Euro 2020 where they went home after conceding eight goals in three defeats.

“We all fought very well together,” said defender Mert Muldur. “We had a hard time against such teams in the past. I think we have improved ourselves.”

After two wins in three games, Turkey finished second behind Portugal in Group F on goal difference and will play Austria in the last 16 on July 2 in Leipzig.

“When we talked with our friends before the camp, our only target was to get out of the group.

We kept our promise and left the group. Now we will proceed step by step; we are very happy,” said Turkey winger Baris Alper Yilmaz.

The Czechs finished bottom of the group with one point.

“It is a disappointment because we all wanted to advance,” captain Soucek said, lamenting how the “disrespectful” soft red card had affected the game.

“We were happy to get the equaliser,” he added. “Everyone did the maximum. The morale was huge. Just a sad end. But that is football.”

Portugal, already guaranteed top place in the group but lost to Georgia who went through as one of the best third-placed finishers.

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