Last-gasp Arda shatters Swiss dreams
Semih Senturk (No9) equalises
Ardan Turan's deflected goal deep in injury time gave Turkey a win that revived their UEFA EURO 2008 hopes but ended those of co-hosts Switzerland.
Switzerland, like Turkey beaten on the opening day, dealt better with a first-half Basel downpour and Hakan Yakin put them ahead just past the half-hour with a rain-assisted goal. Semih, however, was a prolific scorer from the bench for Fenerbahçe SK this season and 12 minutes after his half-time introduction he repeated the trick for his nation. It seemed a draw would be the outcome but Arda had other ideas and now Turkey can reach the quarter-finals by winning their final Group A game against the Czech Republic on Sunday. Switzerland will finish in fourth place.
Not only were Switzerland without Alexander Frei after his knee ligament injury in the 1-0 defeat by the Czech Republic but Marco Streller's groin problem was worse than originally thought so Eren Derdiyok and Yakin, both with Turkish heritage, were drafted in up front. Both teams had begun positively when the heavens opened after ten minutes and water quickly settled on the pitch. Gökhan Inler, the other Switzerland player with Turkish roots, tested Volkan Demirel, who then dived to stop a stinging Yakin shot. The Turkey goalkeeper was kept busy, a Tranquillo Barnetta free-kick the next effort he had to save.
Fatih Terim had reshuffled the Turkey midfield since the 2-0 loss to Portugal, with captain Emre Belözoğlu injured and Tümer Metin, Gökdeniz Karadeniz and Arda all given starts, while Emre Aşık came in for injured defender Gökhan Zan. Any tactical plans had been scuppered by the downpour, however, and it was an old-fashioned set-piece that nearly gave Turkey the lead. Nihat Kahveci's free-kick was tipped by Diego Benaglio on to the head of Arda and the ricochet hit the woodwork.
Three minutes later Switzerland scored and the weather could claim an assist. Derdiyok chased a long ball into the right channel, rounded Volkan Demirel and squared. Unexpectedly, the ball held up right in the goalmouth and the grateful Yakin reacted first to tap in. A couple of minutes later he could have had another but this time he misjudged Valon Behrami's cross. The rain eased just before the break but the surface water presented a challenge for the groundstaff at half-time.
On to the partially-drained pitch came Turkey substitutes Semih and Mehmet Topal. Semih's appearance was an understandable statement of attacking intent, and Turkey bravely continued with their short passing game in tough conditions. That enterprise was rewarded when Nihat sent in a superb looping cross from the left and Semih rose to head in. Switzerland responded well and it took a sliding block from Hakan Balta to deny Yakin.
Johan Vonlanthen was introduced by Switzerland and proved a lively presence, sliding a neat pass which Inler turned just wide, while at the other end Tuncay supplied an inviting cross which just eluded Nihat's reach. In an open finish to the game either side could have won Volkan pulled off a great double save from substitute Ricardo Cabanas and Inler, and that proved invaluable when Arda set off on a run and his strike from the edge of the box flew in off the devastated Patrick Müller.