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Demiral brace pushes Turkiye past Austria into quarters


A goal in each half from Merih Demiral gave Turkiye a nervy 2-1 over Austria in the Round of 16 at UEFA Euro 2024 from Leipzig.

Michael Gregoritsch scored for Austria.

Turkiye goalkeeper Mert Gunok made an incredible save on Christoph Baumgartner to preserve the victory on almost the last kick of the match.

Turkiye moves on to meet the Netherlands, 3-0 winners over Romania earlier in the day, on Saturday in the quarter-finals.

Turkiye was ahead almost from the jump. Stephan Posch and Baumgartner made a complete hash of an Arda Guler corner with the ball falling to Demiral to hammer into the roof of the goal just 58 seconds into the match.

Demiral's goal was the second-fastest ever scored at a Euro and the fastest goal ever scored in a Euro knockout match.

As fast as Turkiye scored, Austria was almost level just as quickly. Marcel Sabitzer's corner found Baumgartner at the far post and the RB Leipzig man, playing in his home stadium, somehow couldn't put it over the line.

After a frantic few minutes to start the match, it settled into a steady rhythm of free-flowing football with both sides coming in waves, but with little to show from it in terms of big chances.

The match headed to the half with a 1-0 scoreline.

Austria was the brighter of the two sides to start the second half, but Turkiye found some breathing room in the 59th from another Guler corner. Some lax defending from Austria allowed to get highest to meet the delivery with a thumping header to make it 2-0.

Heading into Tuesday's game, the former Juventus and Atalanta defender had only two international goals in 47 appearances.

The goal didn't deter the Austrian attack, as it continued to press for a goal to get back into the match. They got it from Freiburg's Gregoritsch in the 66th, also from a corner. With Salih Ozcan near the goal line and playing everybody onside, the ball came to Gregoritsch to head home and pull Austria within one.

On the scoresheet, Austria continued to turn up the pressure, but Turkiye did well to drop back and ensure that chances were kept to a minimum until perhaps the final kick of the match when Gunok made his 10-bell save.

With the victory, Turkiye advances to the quarters for a third time and first since 2008 where they finished in third place.

Turkiye and the Netherlands have never met at a major tournament before.

The Oranje hold a 6-4-4 edge over Turkiye all-time, winning their last meeting - a 2022 World Cup qualifier - in the fall of 2021 by a score of 6-1 in Amsterdam on a Memphis Depay hat-trick.