Euro 2024: Turkiye edges into last 16 with tense 2-1 win over Czechia

Turkiye overcame stiff resistance from 10-man Czechia in a 2-1 win on Wednesday with goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Cenk Tosun to set up a Euro 2024 last-16 clash with Austria and send its opponents home.

The Czechs, quarter-finalist at the last tournament, needed victory to stand any chance of advancing, but the 20th-minute dismissal of midfielder Antonin Barak for a harsh second yellow card hit them hard.

In a chaotic end to the game, Czechia’s Tomas Chory was also given a red card in a melee at the final whistle.

The referee showed 18 cards in total, two red and 16 yellow, to set a new Euros record.

Both teams pressed hard from the start in a raucous atmosphere on a hot night, Turkish fans marching to the game and outnumbering the Czechs thanks to their huge diaspora in Germany.

Thirty-year-old playmaker Calhanoglu’s 50th-minute goal was a first at his third Euros, triggering flares and delirium from fans. He scored with a low shot across goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek who appeared to hurt his shoulder with a save just before and went off injured after the goal.

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Teenager Arda Guler inexplicably missed a close-range sitter to put Turkiye two ahead and the Czechs immediately equalised, Tomas Soucek prodding home in the 66th minute after a long throw caused chaos to set up a thrilling finale.

Tosun struck Turkiye’s winner in stoppage time, sparking wild scenes on his bench and among Turkish fans. The result banished the Turks’ dark memories of Euro 2020 where they went home after conceding eight goals in three defeats.

Turkiye finished second behind Portugal in Group F and will play Austria in the last 16 on July 2 in Leipzig.

Portugal was already guaranteed top place in the group but lost to Georgia, who went through as one of the best third-placed finishers.

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