Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Euro dream is over for Stephen Robinson's battlers

Close call: Jordan Thompson went close against Turkey
Close call: Jordan Thompson went close against Turkey

Two second-half goals from Turkey killed Northern Ireland hopes of European Championship qualification.

Stephen Robinson's side needed to win to progress to the Elite phase of the competition, but Northern Ireland were knocked out as two goals in the space of 13 minutes gave the Turks a 2-0 victory at Stangmore Park, a result which saw them clinch top spot in the group.

And Latvia will join them in the second stage after they recorded their second win of the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Luxembourg at Shamrock Park.

Northern Ireland's best chance of the game came just three minutes before half-time when Linfield striker Adam Salley forced a save from goalkeeper Tarik Cetin.

Enes Unal fired a shot just off target early in the second half before he opened the scoring in the 53rd minute.

With Turkey in the ascendancy they forced a couple of corners before Hayrullah Alici scored to double their lead on 66 minutes.

Robinson immediately sent Christopher Paul off the bench in search of a goal that could have sparked a comeback.

Northern Ireland mustered a couple of late chances when first Andrew Mooney had a shot blocked and then Jordan Thompson sent a free-kick wide in injury time.

NORTHERN IRELAND: Long, Hall, Foster, Whiteside, Quigley, Ives, Law, Thompson, Fallon, Salley, Mooney. Subs: McDonagh, Mallon, Paul, Lavery, Smith, Hoey.

TURKEY: Cetin, Kaya, Unver, Vatansever, Aydogan, Unal, Alici, Yilmaz, Karadag, M Celik, Karakoc. Subs: Adiyaman, Polat, Ersoy, Tezel, Ciloglu, O Celik.

Referee: Dennis Antamo (Finland).

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