Demiral double powers Turkey past Austria into Euro 2024 quarter-finals
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Demiral double powers Turkey past Austria into Euro 2024 quarter-finals

Turkey's Merih Demiral scores their second goal. (Reuters photo)
Turkey's Merih Demiral scores their second goal. (Reuters photo)

LEIPZIG: Turkey's Merih Demiral struck in each half and their goalkeeper Mert Gunok pulled off a superb stoppage-time save as they secured a high-octane 2-1 victory over Austria on Tuesday to book their spot in Euro 2024's last eight.

The central defender, who was man-of-the-match, scored after 57 seconds and added another with a powerful header just before the hour to set up a quarter-final on Saturday in Berlin against the Netherlands, who beat Romania 3-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Austria cut the deficit through Michael Gregoritsch midway through the second half and were denied in the final seconds when Christoph Baumgartner's header was kept out by a stunning one-handed stop from Gunok.

Celebrations broke out across many cities in Germany at the final whistle as thousands of Turks took to the streets, honking car horns, waving flags and chanting, with their national team eyeing a repeat of their Euro 2008 semi-final run.

"This match was a very important match," said Turkey coach Vincenzo Montella. "It was a match where we reflected the team spirit from the first minute to the last minute."

"This is actually a historic result, we have matched 2008 in terms of victories. This is very important. We are advancing step by step."

For tournament dark horses Austria, it was a bitter end to their European Championship with the team still waiting for their first win in a knockout match at any major tournament since 1954.

FRANTIC START

The Turks snatched the lead in a frantic start to the game when Demiral pounced on a goalmouth scramble following a corner to fire into the roof of the net for the fastest ever goal in a Euros knockout match.

Turkey were happy to leave possession to Austria, who beat them 6-1 in a friendly back in March, but kept pressing high and looked to catch them on the break, disrupting their opponents' usual no-frills playing style.

Despite missing suspended captain Hakan Calhanoglou, the hard-charging Turks kept Austria at bay, with Ralf Rangnick's side having no efforts on target in the first half.

The Austrians came out fighting following the break, picking up the pace and should have levelled six minutes after the restart when captain Marko Arnautovic was sent through with only the keeper to beat but his shot was blocked by Gunok.

Instead it was the Turks who struck again with Demiral beating two players in the air to head home from yet another corner by the excellent teenager Arda Guler for a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute.

Amid pouring rain, Austria pulled a goal back when substitute Gregoritsch finished at the far post in the 66th and they reached a total of 20 attempts on goal as they kept pushing forward in search of an equaliser.

Baumgartner thought he had got it with his added-time header but Gunok pulled off the save of the match, and possibly the Euros, by palming it wide to protect their slim lead.

"We didn't have the necessary luck. I believe if the game had gone to extra time we would have had a chance to win, the Turks were fairly exhausted towards the end," said Rangnick.

"The team tried everything, we scored, had chances to score but it's difficult if you have Gordon Banks in goal," he added, recalling the former England keeper's stunning stop to deny Brazil's Pele at the 1970 World Cup.

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