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Saturday, September 5, 1998 Published at 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK

Sport: Football

Northern Ireland suffer Turkey setback

Colin Hill blocks Turkey's Hakam Sukur

Turkey 3-0 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's ambitions of qualifying for Euro 2000 have taken an early knock with a 3-0 defeat in Turkey.

Lawrie McMenemy's men were outclassed in Galatasaray's Ali Sami Stadium by a side who had lost their last three matches, including heavy defeats against Israel and Albania.

[ image: Goalscorer Okray Derelioglu battles with Kevin Horlock]
Goalscorer Okray Derelioglu battles with Kevin Horlock
Northern Ireland's line-up contained just three Premiership regulars and one of those, Keith Gillespie, was playing his first match in five months.

It was Besiktas striker Okray Derelioglu who did the damge, scoring twice to sandwich a penalty from Tayfun Havutcu.

McMenemy had attempted to smother the Turks by deploying captain Iain Dowie as the sole striker with Michael Hughes playing just behind him in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

But McMenemy's tactic failed from the first whistle as the Turks, whose coach Mustafa Denizli had promised the country a victory, poured forward.

It was Northern Ireland, however, who created the first decent opening after nine minutes.

Keith Rowland, making his first international appearance in 12 months, won a free-kick on the left-hand side of the box and the unmarked Dowie sent a diving header wide from Hughes' cross.

But that was a rare excursion into the home side's half and it was no surprise when Turkey opened the scoring after 18 minutes.

Gillespie lost the ball upfield to Mert Korkmaz, who fed Abdullah Ercan and he played a 50-yard pass over the defence for Okray to outpace Steve Morrow and chip Alan Fettis.

Turkey carved out another opening four minutes from the interval, but Okan Buruk sliced his shot high and wide.

Change of tactics

Northern Ireland replaced Rowland with striker James Quinn at half-time as they reverted to a 4-4-2 formation in an attempt to claw their way back.

But within four minutes Turkey had their second. Sergen received Abdullah's pass and ran into the area where he was brought down by Hill. Tayfun sent Fettis the wrong way to slot home the penalty.

Turkey were not done yet and after 58 minutes Oktay produced another exquisite finish for their third and his second.

He collected Tugay's pass in the penalty area and turned inside Hill on to his right foot before scoring in the far top corner.

Fettis denied the impressive Tugay a fourth when he palmed away his shot from an acute angle.

With victory secure Denizli brought off Tugay and Oktay as the Turkish fans began to celebrate their first three points, while McMenemy was left to ponder a tough road ahead.


Turkey: Rustu, Mert, Saffet, Tayfun, Alpay, Abdullah, Okan, Tugay, Sukur, Sergen, Okray. Subs: Engin, Emre, Hakan, Oguz, Arif, Hami, Hasan.

Northern Ireland: Fettis, Horlock, Hill, Morrow, A. Hughes, Rowland, Lennon, Mulryne, Gillespie, M. Hughes, Dowie. Subs: Taylor, Whitley, Kennedy, McCarthy, Quinn, O'Boyle.

Referee: R Wojcik (Poland)

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