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Five-star triumph thrills Turkey

Wednesday, 30 March 2005

[1] Turkey kept alive their hopes of finding their way out of a difficult FIFA World Cup Group 2 as Fatih Tekke scored twice in an impressive away win against a spirited ten-man Georgia.

Late goals

[2] Turkey struggled to break down the home side for much of the match but after Fatih scored twice midway through the first half to give his side a 3-1 advantage, the visitors never relinquished the lead. Alexander Iashvili reduced the deficit four minutes before the interval but two goals in the final 16 minutes from Koray Avci and substitute Tuncay Sanli gave the scoreline a distinctly one-sided look.

Wholesale changes

[3] Georgia came into the encounter on the back of a 3-1 defeat by Greece on Saturday and French coach Alain Giresse made wholesale changes to his starting lineup with no less than five new faces. Turkey, meanwhile, made two changes from the side that defeated Albania 2-0 at the weekend, Gökdeniz Karadeniz lining up alongside his Trabzonspor teammate Fatih in attack, while Tolga Seyhan replaced Serkan Balci.

Rapid equaliser

[4] Surprisingly, it was the defender that gave the visitors the lead with less than 12 minutes on the clock when he struck a free-kick past Devadze. Ersun Yanal's side virtually killed the game with two early goals on Saturday but any hopes of repeating the feat vanished almost immediately when Alexander Amisulashvili headed the home team level within a minute.

Fraught second half

[5] Fatih edged his side back into the lead on 19 minutes and when he made it 3-1 ten minutes before the interval it looked like Turkey, who were lying fourth in the section before the match, were on course for three vital points. But Iashvili reduced the deficit before the interval and Georgia remained a threat until the 74th minute when Avci restored the two-goal cushion.

Gogua dismissal

[6] Georgia's disappointing evening got worse when Gogita Gogua received a second yellow card on 83 minutes and Turkey capitalised on the numerical advantage to make it 5-2 through Tuncay with a minute remaining. The victory lifted the side to third behind Ukraine - 1-0 winners against Denmark today - and Greece, who defeated Albania tonight.

Greece showdown

[7] Meanwhile Georgia's slim hopes of qualifying look over as they now lie 12 points behind Ukraine. They travel to Albania on 4 June on the same day that Turkey face Greece in a potentially crucial showdown.

Turkey's Tolga Seyhan celebrates his goal against Georgia