Atletico Madrid's Arda Turan scored a dramatic 95th-minute free-kick to send
Turkey into second place in Euro 2012 qualifying Group A as they eventually got
the better of Kazakhstan.
Knowing a win would see them overtake Belgium - who had earlier floundered
against Azerbaijan - Guus Hiddink's men looked to be headed for a night of
frustration as Ulan Konysbayev cancelled out Burak Yilmaz's opener, with Yilmaz
also missing a penalty.
Having wasted a number of chances, Turkey lost their cool and Selcuk Inan was
sent off late on, just seconds before Turan turned the situation on its head
with his 12th international goal.
Turkey were the quicker of the sides to settle and had the first chance when
Turan warmed the palms of Alexandr Mokin from just inside the box.
Hakan Kadir Balta then tried to make something happen from distance, his shot
being blocked by Yuri Logvinenko, while Serdar Kesimal was a little too
ambitious when he took aim from 35 yards.
The traffic was all one way, even if Turkey were unable to get into the
Kazakhstan six-yard box, and Emre highlighted their lack of final-third spark
when he twice tried his luck from outside the box, with his first shot superbly
tipped over by Mokin, and his second blocked by the obdurate Logvinenko.
Turan, who made a fleeting Atletico debut last weekend, also put a header wide,
before finally Turkey got the goal their play had deserved.
It came just after Kazakhstan had registered their first effort through a
Sergei Gridin header.
The goal was simple in its creation, with Inan's pass finding Yilmaz in space,
and the Trabzonspor man netted his second international goal with a crisp finish
from 12 yards.
Buoyed by his goal, Yilmaz tested Mokin before the break as he went in search
of a double, while Logvinenko's header almost saw him make a telling
contribution at the other end of the pitch.
Despite that late flourish, Kazakhstan had contributed little, and it looked
set to continue that way in the second half as Colin Kazim-Richards worked Mokin
and Selcuk Inan blazed over.
But then, in the 55th minute, Kazakhstan equalised out of the blue, when FC
Shakhter Karagandy midfielder Konysbayev picked up possession 20 yards out and
let fly, leaving the previously quiet Volkan Demirel helpless.
The home side were stunned but had the chance to regain the lead inside eight
minutes - an opportunity they squandered.
Turan's ball in reared up and hit the hand of Mukhtar Mukhtarov, prompting
referee Clement Turpin to point to the spot, only for Yilmaz to blaze high and
Undeterred, Egeman Korkmaz led the charge for a winner with a header that
flashed wide, but Kazakhstan now had some confidence and Sergei Gridin worked
Demirel with a volley.
Home tempers began to rise and Turkey ended the night a man down after Inan was
dismissed for a foul on Heinrich Schmidtgal, but spirits were soon lifted when
Turan bent in a free-kick from the left wing that evaded everyone and went in.