Turkey, Greece draw 0-0

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:52 IST

Turkey and Greece drew 0-0 in their European Zone World Cup qualifier in Istanbul on Saturday, handing a crucial advantage to Group 2 leaders Ukraine.

Turkey, Greece draw 0-0

Istanbul:

Turkey and Greece drew 0-0 in their European Zone World Cup qualifier in Istanbul on Saturday, handing a crucial advantage to Group 2 leaders Ukraine. This was the biggest game in Group 2 of the Europe Zone World Cup qualifiers, with some 32,000 expectant Turkish fans. European Champions Greece travelled to rivals Turkey on Saturday without any fans. With just two points separating Greece in second and Turkey in third in this group, not to mention an uneasy historic relationship between them, it was always going to fierce. Few chancesIn a cagey first half, Turkey had the clearest of very few chances. Belozoglu Emre was denied first by Antonis Nikopolidis and then shot into the side netting as the hosts edged the first 45 minutes. Otto Rehhagel's Euro 2004 winners hung in, though, despite not registering a shot on target in the first half. Turkey knew a win was vital to keep their 2006 World Cup plans on track and so the 2002 World Cup semi finalists came out firing. Umit Ozat's perfectly weighted pass early in the second half deserved more than Fatih Tekke's tame header. Greece were at their best on the counterattack, and Stelios Giannakopoulos benefited from the persistence of Angelos Charisteas. Fresh threatHowever, he couldn't get past Rustu Recber's crossbar as Turkey survived. Barely a minute later Greece threatened again. Giorgos Karagounis with all the work himself, but this time Recber, and not the woodwork, kept Turkey in the match. The Turkey captain and goalkeeper using all his 102 international games of experience. Desperate bid It was desperate for Turkey, and they surged forward with Hamit Alintop picking out substitute Tuncay Sanli. But his first-time shot skipped inches wide. The hosts feared it was not to be their night. That fear was confirmed in the last minute of normal time when Yildiray Basturk was pulled up for handball by German referee Markus Merk. Basturk had been booked at the end of the first half, so his reaction saw Merk show him a second yellow, and then a red card. (AP)



Topics : Football Turkish Grand Prix
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