WCQ: Turkey Stun Netherlands In Istanbul

By Ibrahim Taiwo, The Nigerian Voice Sports
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The Netherlands slumped to a dramatic 4-2 loss to Turkey in Istanbul in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier as Burak Yilmaz scored a hat-trick on Wednesday.

Turkey led 3-0 shortly after half-time through two Yilmaz goals and a Hakan Calhanoglu strike, but substitutes Davy Klaassen and Luuk de Jong gave Frank de Boer’s Dutchmen hope.

Yilmaz’s wonderful free-kick sealed Turkey a crucial win, though, in a match between the two favourites to qualify from Group G.

The defeat is a dreadful start to the campaign for the Netherlands, who failed to qualify for either Euro 2016 or the 2018 World Cup, but are one of the favourites ahead of the delayed Euro 2020 finals this year.

It was Turkey’s second straight win over the Netherlands, after a 3-0 victory in 2015 which helped them qualify for the Euros ahead of the Oranje.

The visitors started brightly but fell behind in the 15th minute. Seconds after referee Michael Oliver waved away Dutch penalty appeals, Yilmaz’s long-range strike took a big deflection and spun past Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul.

It was 35-year-old Lille striker Yilmaz’s 25th international goal, making him the second Turk to reach that mark after record goalscorer Hakan Sukur.

The home side were gifted a chance to double their lead in the 34th minute, as winger Donyell Malen clumsily brought down Okay Yokuslu.

Yilmaz hammered the spot-kick past the static Krul.

Thoughts of a comeback appeared to be snuffed out within 60 seconds of the restart, as Calhanoglu collected Umut Meras’s pass and drilled a low strike into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.(AFP)