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Turkiye pulls out late win over 10-man Czechia to move on


HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Cenk Tosun finally ended the tension when he scored in stoppage time to send Turkey into the knockout stage of the European Championship with a 2-1 win over 10-man Czech Republic on Wednesday.

With the Czechs chasing a goal that would have put them through at Turkey’s expense, Tosun, a substitute, eluded two exhausted defenders on the left and fired a fierce shot inside the far post.

“This is just the start," Tosun said. “I'm delighted with my goal. We spoke about it beforehand, how this is exactly the time for it.”

It set off a wave of celebrations among most of the fans in Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion, though it also led to a flare-up between players and substitutes who had run onto the field. Czech forward Tomas Chory was shown a red card after the tumult, and team captain Tomas Soucek and Turkey’s Arda Guler were both shown yellow.

It had been a busy night for Romanian referee Istvan Kovacs, who sent off Czech midfielder Antonin Barak in the 20th minute and showed 18 yellow cards altogether. Barak earned the first for a tactical foul in the 11th, then the next for a stamp on Salih Ozcan’s foot.

“I only saw him in the break,” Czech coach Ivan Hasek said of Barak. “He was sad, with his head in his hands. He really punished himself by beating himself up about it.”

The sending off encouraged Turkey to attack in waves. Kenan Yildiz, Hakan Calhanoglu and Guler were causing serious problems for the Czech defense.

The Czech attack was without star player Patrik Schick, who failed to recover from a calf muscle injury. Schick was booked for protesting on the bench. It was to be his only contribution.

Yildiz was booked for a stamp on Robin Hranac in the 37th, then escaped another yellow after catching Vladimir Coufal in the face with his elbow. The referee missed the second incident.

Calhanoglu broke the deadlock with a low shot inside the far post in the 51st. Czech goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek had made a brilliant save to deny Mert Muldur but wasn’t able to stretch for Calhanoglu’s powerful strike.

Stanek was unable to continue with an apparent shoulder injury from his initial save. Bayer Leverkusen reserve goalkeeper Matej Kovar went on in his place.

Soucek equalized in the 66th after a goalmouth scramble in which the ball was cleared off the line. A VAR check found goalkeeper Mert Gunok was not unfairly hindered.

The Czechs needed another goal to progress, but Tosun’s late strike ended their hopes.

“It’s disappointment. We all wanted to advance. We had a goal to beat them from the start but we didn’t make it, that’s disappointing,” Soucek told the Czech public broadcaster.

Soucek said it was “very tough” to play with a player less and he rued the goals his team conceded.

“We all did the maximum,” he added. “I have to thank all my teammates. It's just a sad end.”

The Czech Republic finished bottom of Group F behind Georgia, which surprised group winner Portugal with a 2-0 win to progress as one of the best third-place teams.

Turkey finished runner-up with six points and will next face Austria in Leipzig on Tuesday.


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