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Sunday, 11 June, 2000, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Harsh penalty hands Italy victory
Turkey 1-2 Italy
(Arnhem - Att: 25,000)
Italy deservedly earned victory in Arnhem, but needed a controversial penalty to sink Turkey in a free-flowing Group B encounter.
The Turks had fought back well to cancel out Antonio Conte's acrobatic opener with a close-range header from the diminutive Okan.
But captain Ogun's challenge on Filippo Inzaghi was harshly deemed illegal by referee Hugh Dallas, and Inzaghi himself stepped up to drive home the resulting spot-kick.
Both sides had showed plenty of invention right from the kick-off and it was Turkey who came closest early on.
Sergen was only inches wide of the post with a delicate curling effort after he had shown good persistence on the edge of the box.
At the other end, Paolo Maldini found Stefano Fiore in space on the right who crossed well for Inzaghi, only to see the striker fluff a free close-range header.
Both goalkeepers looked less than comfortable on crosses, Italy's Francesco Toldo punching unconvincingly on several occasions while a succession of corners made Rustu in the Turkey goal look more than a little rusty.
After the break however, it was Italy who seized the initiative and broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute.
The ball popped up to Conte who dispatched it into the net with a well-executed overhead kick.
Italy should have been 2-0 up soon after but Francesco Totti saw his header come back off the bar and Inzaghi's effort on the rebound was scrambled away.
To their credit though, Turkey battled back and levelled with a goal that exposed Toldo's indecision on crosses.
Sergen curled over a left-footed free-kick and the tiny Okan found plenty of space in the area to nod home past the onrushing and stranded Italian keeper.
Substitute Alessandro Del Piero looked sharp when he came on, mesmerising the Turks on several occasions and curling a tremendous 30-yard free-kick against the woodwork.
Angelo Di Livio also entered the fray late on and had a breakaway goal ruled out for offside.
Yet it was that more than debatable penalty that ultimately confirmed their superiority.
Ogun tackled Inzaghi in the penalty area and referee Dallas awarded a spot-kick for use of the elbow in the challenge.
Following vociferous protests from the Turkish players and fans, Inzaghi dusted himself down and rifled home the goal that sealed a much deserved if unnecessarily tense opening win.
Maldini meanwhile became the most capped player in his country's European championship history by leading out his side in Arnhem.
The game marked his 28th in the tournament, including qualifiers, since he made his debut against West Germany in the 1988 finals.
The previous record was held by former Inter Milan defender Giacinto Facchetti, who won 27 caps between 1964 and 1976 and captained the Azzurri to their only triumph in the competition in 1968.
Turkey: Rustu, Alpay, Ogun, Fatih, Tayfur Havuctu, Tayfur Korkut, Abdullah, Okan (Ergun 89), Umit (Tugay 76), Sergen (Arif 81), Hakan Sukur.
Italy: Toldo, Cannavaro, Maldini, Nesta, Fiore (Del Piero 75), Zambrotta, Pessotto (Iuiliano 65), Albertini, Conte, Inzaghi, Totti (Di Livio 83).
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