Demiral’s double sends Turkiye to Euro 2024 QFs

Berlin, July 3 (UNI) Merih Demiral’s double strike secured a 2-1 victory for Turkiye against a resilient Austria in the Euro 2024 round of 16 at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena on Wednesday IST.

The match started dramatically for the Turks, with Demiral scoring the fastest goal in the knockout stages of the tournament just 57 seconds in. Austria struggled to clear a corner, allowing Demiral to tap in the opener.

Austria responded with a series of attacks, but Christoph Baumgartner missed two opportunities to level the score. Despite their efforts, Austria found it difficult to break through Turkiye’s organized defence. Meanwhile, Turkiye continued to pose a threat, with Demiral narrowly missing a header from another corner before the break.

In the second half, Austria came out strong, putting Turkiye’s defense under pressure. However, Marco Arnautovic and Konrad Laimer couldn’t capitalize on their chances. Against the run of play, Demiral scored his second goal from a corner, doubling Turkiye’s lead.

Austria’s substitute Michael Gregoritsch reduced the deficit with a well-taken goal from a flicked-on corner, reigniting hopes of a comeback. Austria pushed forward in search of an equaliser, leaving themselves vulnerable to counterattacks. Baris Yilmaz had a golden opportunity to seal the win for Türkiye but missed from close range.

In the final moments, Austria nearly equalized, but Mert Gunok’s brilliant save from Baumgartner’s header ensured Turkiye’s victory. This win sees Turkiye advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2008, where they will face the Netherlands at Berlin’s Olympia Stadium on Saturday.

Austria coach Ralf Rangnick reflected on the loss, stating, “We didn’t have the necessary luck, and I believe if the game had gone to extra time, we would have won. We had time to score an equalizer. We didn’t make enough of our own chances, and we didn’t defend their set pieces well enough.”

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