ATHENS, March 24 (Reuters) - Turkey thrashed European champions Greece 4-1 in their Euro 2008 qualifier to move three points clear at the top of Group C on Saturday.
Turkey went in level at halftime before three goals in the
second period wrapped up the points and gave them the edge over
their Greek rivals with a maximum 12 points from four games.
'We have gained a great advantage after beating our main
group opponents today. It gives us some credit and we're allowed
to slip up in the future,' said Turkey coach Fatih Terim.
He told reporters his team responded admirably after Greece
took the lead, keeping their cool and growing in confidence.
'I told my players everything would go well (and) not to
worry even if they lost but they turned it around,' Terim said.
Greece scored after just five minutes when defender Sotiris
Kyrgiakos turned and drilled the ball past goalkeeper Volkan
Demirel after a Giorgos Karagounis cross into the box.
'We started well, went ahead but for some inexplicable
reason pulled back and allowed our opponents to control the game
and gain confidence,' Greece coach Otto Rehhagel said. 'We
didn't keep them on the ropes like a boxer when we led 1-0.'
Turkey kept finding space on the left flank from which to
launch counter attacks and looked dangerous despite the noise
from a fiery 33,000 sell-out crowd at the Karaiskakis stadium.
The visitors almost equalised in the 13th minute when Tuncay
Sanli raced through only to see his curling shot from the edge
of the box fly past Antonis Nikopolidis's left post.
Sanli did level the scores 14 minutes later when he got the
ball in the box, turned past two defenders and fired home.
Gokhan Unal added a second in the 55th before Metin Tumer
made it three with a solo effort from outside the box with 20
Gokdeniz Karadeniz scored the fourth in the 81st within a
minute of coming on with a sparkling sprint down the left before
he slotted the ball past Nikopolidis as the fans started to
'I never expected such a scoreline when playing Greece at
home,' Terim said. 'But that is the beauty of this game. Now the
match against Norway (on Wednesday) becomes more important
because we can move further ahead.'
He did have a word of consolation though for Rehhagel, who
was the hero after leading Greece to the title at Euro 2004 but
faced the wrath of the fans after the final whistle.
'No coach should go through such a night as tonight,' Terim
Rehhagel added: 'Now we have to stomach this defeat and
prepare for Malta on Wednesday.'