Euro 2024 roundup: Turkey go top of Group D and close in on Euros after edging Croatia

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Euro 2024 roundup: Turkey go top of Group D and close in on Euros after edging Croatia

Turkey through on goal
Turkey through on goalAFP
Turkey moved to the top of Group D in European Championship qualifying after a 1-0 win over Croatia at the Opus Arena, extending the Crescent-Stars’ impressive away record in Euros qualifying to just one defeat in their last 12 matches.

Aiming for a third consecutive appearance in the European Championship finals, it was the visitors who edged a closely-fought opening 15 minutes, with Kerem Akturkoglu seeing two early efforts well saved by Dominik Livakovic in the Croatia goal.

Armed with the momentum, Turkey continued to probe for an opener as the first half progressed, and their persistence was rewarded on the half-hour mark when Barıs Yilmaz raced onto a through ball from Salih Ozcan before lifting a superb first-time effort over an advancing Livakovic.

Stunned by the visitors’ dominant start, Croatia looked to gain a foothold in the contest before half time.

However, clear-cut opportunities came at a premium for the underwhelming hosts, with Petar Musa seeing a half-chance comfortably saved by Ugurcan Cakir, as Turkey made it through to the interval with a well-deserved lead. 

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic resisted the urge to make changes at the break, however, it didn’t take long before reinforcements were called on, with the hosts struggling to find any kind of cutting edge in the final third.

Bruno Petkovic and Nikola Vlasic were among the men introduced as Croatia pushed for an equaliser with time ticking into the final 20 minutes, but Cakır stood tall in the Turkey goal to thwart Dion Drena Beljo from close range.

With full time approaching, Turkey spurned the opportunity to double their advantage when Yunus Akgun flashed a powerful drive narrowly wide of the target, but it counted for little as the visitors held firm to secure an impressive victory, moving three points clear at the top of Group D in the process. 

As for Croatia, they’ll be desperate to bounce back against Wales on Sunday after their remarkable record of never having lost a home European qualifying fixture came to an end at the 38th attempt.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Salih Ozcan (Turkey)

Check out all the match stats from the game here!

Thursday's other European Qualifier results 

Latvia 2 Armenia 0 (17:00)

Albania 3 Czech Republic 0 

Andorra 0 Kosovo 3

Belarus 0 Romania 0  

Cyprus 0 Norway 4 

Faroe Islands 0 Poland 1

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