Turkey hang on to edge out Austria in pulsating clash

Last 16

Austria 1-2 Turkey

Vincenzo Montella’s Young Turks are on the march to Berlin after another riotous night at the Euros.

Two goals from defender Merit Demiral sent the Crescent Stars through to a quarter-final meeting with the Netherlands on Saturday evening.

But it was a last-gasp save by goalkeeper Mert Gunok, keeping out Christoph Baumgartner’s goal-bound header, that secured their passage into the last eight.

Turkey have the second-youngest squad at the tournament and there were even calls for Montella to be sacked when his team were thumped 6-1 by Austria in a friendly in March.

Turkey’s Merih Demiral pokes home a very early opener.

Only one of Montella’s starting team was aged over 30 – keeper Gunok – and Real Madrid teenager Arda Guler was the most creative talent on the pitch.

They had to call on huge reserves of resilience, both before and after substitute Michael Grillitsch set up a grandstand last 25 minutes with a clinical close-range finish just seconds after coming on.

Turkey’s huge support was just as impressive as Montella’s players, producing a wall of sound that only grew in intensity as Ralf Rangnick’s side pressed desperately for an equaliser.

Austria’s last victory in the knock-out stages of a tournament was at the 1954 World Cup – and they were staring down the barrel after just 58 seconds.

Michael Gregoritsch pulls one back for Austria.

Guler’s inswinging corner from the left, bounced off Stefan Posch, Baumgartner and keeper Patrick Pentz and Turkish defender Demiral rammed the loose ball into the roof of the net from six yards.

The hectic opening was a sign of things to come, the pace unrelenting.

Turkey’s goal led a charmed life at times. Baumgartner was inches wide a minute after the opening goal and then Romano Schmid’s corner skidded past three outstretched Austrian legs when the slightest touch would have been decisive.

Baumgartner sidefooted wastefully wide just before the break and when skipper Marko Arnautovic fired a great chance against the legs of Turkish keeper Bert Gunuk on the restart, Ralf Rangnick must have feared the worst.

Mert Günok produces the miraculous game winning save.

Especially when Arnautovic raced clear to lift an even better opportunity wide.

Turkey landed the killer blow just before the hour when another Guler corner invited Demiral to leap high between Philipp Leinhart and Kevin Danso to head powerfully home.

When Grillitsch fired in on the half-volley after Baumgartner had flicked on Marcel Sabitzer’s corner the tension was cranked back up again.

Austria laid siege to the Turkish goal but were denied an equaliser deep into injury-time when Gunok produced a wonder save to keep out Baumgartner’s header.

Today’s earlier result:

  • Romania 0-3 Netherlands

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