Turkey come through Slovakia test
Turkey 1-0 Slovakia
A second-half goal from Hakan Balta earned Turkey victory over Slovakia in the first of three UEFA EURO 2008 warm-up matches they will play in Germany before departing for Switzerland on 1 June.
Fatih Terim's team enjoyed good support at the Schüco Arena in Bielefeld, close to their temporary base of Marienfeld, and they got their reward for an improved second-half display after 63 minutes when Galatasaray AS defender Balta netted with a powerful left-footed strike following substitute Sabri Sarıoğlu's right-wing cross.
Staking a claim
Sabri was one of three players introduced by Terim at half-time, together with Emre Belözoğlu and Gökdeniz Karadeniz, as the coach looked to inject some energy into proceedings. Gökdeniz, in particular, who has been in fine form for Russian side FC Rubin Kazan, made an eye-catching contribution and finished the match alongside FC Schalke 04's Halil Altıntop, who staked a claim in attack as a 66th-minute replacement for Semih Şentürk.
Turkey had created the game's first opportunity when Semih Şentürk's header was turned behind by Slovakia goalkeeper Stefan Senecky in the ninth minute, yet that proved the sum total of their striking endeavour in an opening period notable otherwise for Rüştü Reçber's save from a Robert Vittek header at the other end. In the closing stages, Slovakia coach Jan Kocian sent on Beşiktaş JK forward Filip Holosko but Turkey held on to their lead comfortably to earn a morale-boosting win ahead of further friendlies against Uruguay in Bochum on 25 May and Finland in Duisburg four days later.