Knock-outs beckon for Wales after a famous win over Turkey

Gareth Bale misses a penalty but creates two as Welsh Dragon roars in the Land of Fire

Connor Roberts wheels away afetr soring Wales’s second against Turkey. Photograph: olga Bozoglu/Getty

Connor Roberts wheels away afetr soring Wales’s second against Turkey. Photograph: olga Bozoglu/Getty

 

Turkey 0 Wales 2

The defining moment of an absorbing contest belonged to Aaron Ramsey, whose sumptuous finish from a delicious, tailor-made Gareth Bale pass that gave Wales the initiative for a victory that should go some way to cementing their place in the knock-out stages of the European Championship. Ramsey rolled back the years with a majestic performance and even Bale’s wild second-half penalty miss could not dampen the mood on another memorable night for Wales, with Connor Roberts adding a second in stoppage time.

The weight of a partisan crowd seemed to act as a burden for a Turkey team who remain pointless. Wales, in their yellow away kit, seemed to thrive despite the oppressive heat. Danny Ward made a fine save from a late Turkey corner and Ramsey made a vital interception as the substitute Mert Mulder was located in space inside the box but, suddenly, Wales’ final Group A game against Italy on Sunday does not feel quite so pivotal.

Aaron Ramsey opens the scoring for Wales against Turkey in Bauku. Photograph: PA
Aaron Ramsey opens the scoring for Wales against Turkey in Bauku. Photograph: PA

Ramsey applied a glorious finish but Bale, inevitably, was the architect. It was the third time in an oscillating first half that they had combined but on this occasion, three minutes before the interval, it was to devastating effect. Bale dropped deep into a pocket of space close to halfway and spied Ramsey’s angled run and, while Okay Yokuslu pointed at the No 10, alerting his teammates, no Turkey player tracked him and Ramsey roamed into the box unmarked. What happened next was a thing of beauty. Ramsey chested Bale’s flighted pass with his first touch and side-footed in with his second.

Azerbaijani locals turned out in force to support their closest ally. Turkey were the first country to recognise Azerbaijan’s independence in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and their military might helped Azerbaijan overpower Armenia during last year’s conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. During the Turkish anthem, a banner that read “Tek millet iki devlet” – one nation, two states – bookended by flags of both Azerbaijan and Turkey was unfurled in the main stand.

But for the three minutes that followed Ramsey’s effortless take and finish, only a couple of hundred of delirious Wales supporters, spilled across two blocks in the corner of this stadium, could be heard.

Bale would have raced through on Ugurcan Cakir’s goal on 36 minutes but for a superbly timed tackle by Caglar Soyuncu. At the other end, Joe Rodon put in a boisterous and business-like display in the centre of the Wales defence.

The last time these countries met, in 1997, the game ended with the countries sharing 10 goals and, at one point, a repeat did not seem so daft. Ramsey passed up two divine opportunities, with the midfielder forcing Cakir into a fine stop, the goalkeeper repelling his effort with his right foot, before later blazing over from an almost identical move to the one he later scored from. Ramsey clasped both hands together as if to pray. It seemed to do the trick.

Gareth Bale sends a penalty over the bar during Wales’s win over Turkey. Photograph: Dan Mullan/EPA
Gareth Bale sends a penalty over the bar during Wales’s win over Turkey. Photograph: Dan Mullan/EPA

Ramsey wheeled away towards the tunnel, running to embrace the substitute Chris Gunter, his best friend and best man at his wedding. Ramsey moved gracefully and effortlessly, causing havoc on the half-turn.

At half-time Senol Gunes made a double substitution and reintroduced Merih Demiral, having dropped the Juventus defender in favour of Kaan Ayhan, whose first-half header was the catalyst for a swell of Turkey pressure. In the second half, it was Ayhan’s flick from the remnants of a corner that presented the captain, Burak Yilmaz, with a glorious opening, which he somehow failed to capitalise on. The ball dropped on the edge of the six-yard box but he spooned over.

Then it was Bale’s turn. With an hour gone, Bale skipped towards the Turkey box and lured the right-back Zeki Celik into conceding a penalty, via a cheap foul on the perimeter of the area. The throng of Wales supporters bobbed with joy and up stepped Bale to take the spot-kick. Bale stuttered once, and then again, but sent his effort ballooning over. Not that it mattered, with Roberts poking home from close range after Bale chose to dribble towards goal following a late corner to send the Wales supporters wild. - Guardian

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.