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Early flourish floors Albania

Saturday, 26 March 2005

By Türker Tozar at the Inönü stadium

[1] Turkey scored twice in the first five minutes to defeat Albania 2-0 and remain in the hunt for a qualification place from FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 2. Necati Ates scored the first from the penalty spot after only three minutes before Elvin Beqiri's own goal effectively decided the outcome.

Altintop promoted

[2] Ersun Yanal promoted midfield player Hamit Altintop to the starting lineup, and the Turkey coach also kept faith with Besiktas JK defender Koray Avci who is quietly establishing himself as a regular in the side. The biggest cheer, however, was saved for Yildiray Bastürk, who returned after injury to provide the creative spark that had been missing in recent matches for Turkey.

Early goals

[3] Yildiray's presence had a positive effect on Turkey who got off to an excellent start. Two minutes in Emre Belözoglu burst into the penalty area and was brought down by Armend Dallku. Galatasaray SK striker Necati put Turkey ahead from the penalty spot, and a second goal followed soon after when Yildiray's weak shot from the left was deflected in by Beqiri.

Bogdani miss

[4] Igli Tare and Erjon Bogdani strove to pull Albania back into the match but the influential pair were unable to trouble the Turkish defence. On the one occasion Bogdani did catch a glimpse of goal, he missed with a clear header eight minutes before half-time.

Yildiray impresses

[5] Altintop came close to providing a third goal for Turkey after the interval, but his shot failed to match an excellent solo run and Albania escaped unpunished. With 30 minutes to play Yanal replaced Fatih Tekke with Galatasaray SK's in-form midfield player Ayhan Akman, allowing Yildiray to press forward. The midfield player's tireless running had been causing Albania problems all night, but he too shot wide when well placed.

Rüstü milestone

[6] At the other end, Turkey goalkeeper Rüstü Reçber marked his 100th international appearance with a fine save from Tare, before having the crossbar to thank for keeping out Beqiri's late header. Gökdeniz Karadeniz further tested a tiring Albanian defence, but Elion Lika kept the deficit down when he stopped the substitute's close-range shot.

Georgia test

[7] Turkey, in fourth, trail leaders Ukraine by five points and are two behind second-placed Greece who defeated Georgia 3-1 in the evening's other match. Albania, who travel to Greece on Wednesday, are fifth with six points from six matches. Turkey are away to Georgia on Wednesday.

Turkey's Necati Ates races away from Elvin Beqiri