The Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2013 qualifying campaign took a blow as they were defeated 1-0 by ten men Turkey at The Showgrounds on Tuesday evening.
An 84th minute winner from Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup was enough to send Turkey home with all three points in a dismal game in Sligo.
The Boys in Green started well and could’ve taken the lead just ten minutes in. Arsenal man Conor Henderson was making his first appearance at The Showgrounds and he gave the ball to Eunan O’Kane in midfield. James Collins collected the perfect forward pass but could only hit the side netting.
Robbie Brady had scored in all previous games at The Showgrounds but he was kept very quiet on this occasion, although he did put in a good shift in the first half. Omer Bayram was causing problems for the Irish defence early on but the Kayserispor player could not create anything solid enough to threaten.
Ian McLoughlin pulled off a fine save soon after the half hour mark when Sefa Yilmaz had a pop on goal with a strong effort. The deadlock just couldn’t be broken before half-time and the search for the opener was set to continue into the second half.
There were calls for an Ireland penalty early in second half when Aidan White felt he was taken down in the box but the Estonian referee said no penalty and waved play on. Omer Bayram was threatening again and did have a few chances but Muhammet Demir had turned things up a notch.
Shane Duffy was a rock at centre back and his leg prevented Demir was getting a good shot on goal. Demir certainly did turn things up a notch and then came the major talking point of the night on 72 minutes. The Gaziantepspor striker received a straight red after taking down Greg Cunningham and then kicking him. He reacted badly to his sending off, pushed the referee and even went back for seconds.
Minutes after Tolunay Kafkas’ side were reduced to ten men, the Republic of Ireland had an excellent opportunity to go ahead. A brilliant cross from Aidan White was headed on by Swindon striker James Collins and Ozkan Karabulut was forced to tip it over the bar but a free out had been given.
Noel King’s side found themselves under severe pressure in the last ten minutes and goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin was at his best to keep the Turkish out. McLoughlin did excellently to save a one on one but he stood little chance as Oguzhan Ozyakup went down the left and slotted past the MK Dons ‘keeper.
There was little time for a response from the home side, but John Egan did poorly when he came one on one with Karabulut in goal and he hit it straight at the ‘keeper. That was to be the last of Ireland’s chances for the game, but Turkey did not stop there. With just seconds on the clock, Ozgur Cek found himself through on goal after edging past Niall Canavan but he could only hit it straight at Ian McLoughlin.
There would not be enough time for an equaliser as Turkey went home with all three points.
Republic of Ireland: Ian McLoughlin; John Egan, Greg Cunningham, Shane Duffy, Niall Canavan; Robbie Brady, Conor Henderson (Sean Scannell, 82), Eunan O’Kane, Aidan White; James Collins.
Subs not used: Aaron McCarey, Robert Kiernan, Adam Barton, Paul Corry, Conor Clifford, Ronan Murray.
Bookings: Greg Cunningham (30), Richie Towell (70).
Turkey: Ozkan Karabulut; Ozgur Cek, Serdar Aziz, Murat Akca, Musa Nizam; Emre Colak (Oguzhan Ozyakup, 61), Necip Uysal, Soner Aydogou, Sefa Yilmaz (Ismail Haktan Odabas, 80), Omer Bayram (Sercan Yildirim, 76); Muhammet Demir.
Subs not used: Omer Kahveci, Orhan Gulle, Emrah Bassan, Baris Basdas.
Bookings: Omer Bayram (23), Serdar Aziz (30), Sefa Yilmaz (63), Oguzhan Ozyakup (88).
Sendings Off: Muhammet Demir (72).
Referee: Kristo Tohver (Estonia).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Emre Colak.