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International Friendly: Turkey 0 Slovenia 2

Slovenia earned their first win since October as they overcame a determined Turkey outfit in a tight encounter on Friday.

Srecko Katanec’s men took the lead early in the first half through Milivoje Novakovic before Tim Matavz made sure of the win midway through the second period at Arminia Bielefeld’s Shuco Arena in Germany.

Turkey manager Abdullah Avci opted to leave Galatasaray star Burak Yilmaz out of the starting line-up, with Mevlut Erding preferred up front.

Meanwhile, Katanec left PSV hitman Matavz on the bench, as Novakovic headed the Slovenian attack.

Slovenia started the better of the two sides and they found a way through after 11 minutes when Novakovic showed great movement and awareness to head past Sinan Bolat at the near-post after latching on to a left-wing cross from Bojan Jokic.

Turkey struggled to find a response and their first real chance did not come until the 23rd minute, Caner Erkin blasting over the bar after Jan Oblak had failed to deal with a Mehmet Topal free-kick.

Erkin went close again six minutes later with a cross-shot that arrowed just wide of the far post.

Rennes’ striker Erding provided the Slovenia defence with another scare when he sent a close-range header narrowly wide of the mark and, although Erkin drew another save from Bolak right on half-time, Avcı’s men never really looked like levelling the scores.

Avci brought on Veysel Sari in place of Serdar Kurtulus at the interval, but it was Erkin who continued to be Turkey’s most creative outlet, the Fenerbache man delivering a wonderful far-post cross into the path of Olcay Sahan, but the Besiktas winger could only head straight at Bolak.

Yilmaz was thrown into the fray on the hour mark for the injured Alper Potuk, with Matavz replacing Novakovic for Slovenia.

It was Matavz who would have the greater impact, though, as the 24-year-old raced on to a through ball from Andraz Kirm before cutting inside Gokhan Zan to curl a superb strike beyond Bolat to double Slovenia’s advantage.

Turkey continued to dictate the play as they tried to get back into the game, but it was the counter-attacking style of Slovenia which created the better opportunities, 22-year-old Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Kevin Kampl forcing a fine save from Bolat after good work from Andraz Struna.

Yilmaz did have a late chance to try and earn a consolation for Turkey, but his efforts proved futile as Slovenia held on to seal the win.
Fri 31 May, 2013
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