Oguzhan Ozyakup dealt a major blow to his country of birth’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2016 as Turkey consigned Netherlands to a stunning 3-0 defeat in Konya to go two points above them in Group A.
Both coaches billed Sunday’s crunch clash as a battle for third place – and a play-off spot – after Netherlands were beaten at home by leaders Iceland on Thursday and Turkey could only draw with Latvia.
And it was Fatih Terim’s side who rose to the occasion with the backing of a partisan crowd at the Torku Arena, as Zaandam-born former Netherlands youth international Ozyakup headed them in front early on.
Arda Turan was the architect for Ozyakup’s first international goal and the Barcelona man doubled Turkey’s lead in the first half with a shot that Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen made a mess of.
Netherlands had their chances, but were unable to mount a fightback and Burak Yilmaz added a late third goal as Danny Blind’s second game in charge ended with another defeat and Turkey now in pole position to secure a play-off spot with two games to play.
Czech Republic sealed their place in next year’s tournament in France by beating Latvia on Sunday, while Iceland only need a point again Kazakhstan later in the day to qualify.
Robin van Persie returned to the Netherlands starting line-up as captain with Arjen Robben (thigh) ruled out, while teenage Ajax defender Jairo Riedewald made his international debut.
Sener Ozbayrakli and Ozyakup were recalled by Terim and the latter needed only eight minutes to open the scoring on his first Turkey start for almost a year.
The Besiktas midfielder exchanged passes with Turan before surging clear all too easily and dinking the ball over the advancing Cillessen with a fine finish.
Luciano Narsingh had an opportunity to equalise only six minutes later when Van Persie played him in with a backheel, but Volkan Babacan came out to make the save.
But while Netherlands looked dangerous going forward, they looked susceptible to conceding again and Turkey took advantage of their defensive frailties by scoring a second goal 26 minutes in.
It was a moment to forget for Cillessen, who really ought to have saved Turan’s effort at his near post after the Barcelona midfielder surged into the area and shrugged off Daley Blind.
The Ajax goalkeeper did manage to keep out Yilmaz’s shot with his legs to deny Turkey a third goal in a first half that left Netherlands stunned.
Stefan de Vrij was replaced by Georginio Wijnaldum at half-time and the Newcastle United midfielder should have scored just three minutes after coming on when he rose unmarked, but made a mess of his header.
Luuk de Jong and Jeffrey Bruma had chances to pull a goal back with headers before any hopes of a Netherlands fightback were dashed when Yilmaz took advantage of more poor defending to turn and fire home a third goal late five minutes from time to add insult to injury for Danny Blind’s men.
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