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Veteran captain Burak Yilmaz hat-trick leads Turkey to impressive win over Netherlands

FOOTBALL By Reuters | March 25th 2021
Football - World Cup Qualifiers Europe - Group G - Turkey v Netherlands - Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey - March 24, 2021 Turkey's Ugurcan Cakir celebrates after he saves a penalty from Netherlands' Memphis Depay. [Pool via REUTERS/Murad Sezer]

Veteran captain Burak Yilmaz netted a hat-trick as Turkey saw off a late rally from the Netherlands to secure a 4-2 home victory on Wednesday at the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Yilmaz opened the scoring in the 14th minute of the Group G match with a deflected shot followed by a penalty 20 minutes later at Istanbul's Ataturk Olympic Stadium to put the Turks 2-0 up at halftime.

The game looked to be effectively over when Hakan Calhanoglu added the third a few seconds into the second half but two goals in as many minutes gave the Dutch hope of a late comeback.

Their momentum was ended, however, by a stunning free kick from Yilmaz that completed his hat-trick and secured the points for Turkey.

The opening goal came at the end of a counter-attack with Yilmaz’s shot from the edge of the area taking a deflection off Matthijs de Ligt to beat goalkeeper Tim Krul, who had been pressed into service after Dutch first choice Jasper Cillessen was injured in the warm-up.

Donyell Malen then gave away a penalty with a clumsy challenge on Okay Yokuslu that Yilmaz converted with an emphatic strike.

Calhanoglu added the third 30 seconds into the second half with a speculative effort from outside the penalty area that deceived Krul.

Yet the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, where Liverpool fought back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to win the 2005 Champions League final, looked like it may be the venue of another famous comeback as Davy Klaassen scored in the 75th minute and Luuk de Jong got another 60 seconds later.

Klaassen's goal was a touch of individual brilliance as he brought down a cross from Memphis Depay with a subtle touch, simultaneously turning two defenders to slam home from close range.

De Jong swooped onto a dipping cross to get a touch for the second.

Yet the 35-year-old Yilmaz put a swift end to Dutch comeback hopes with a scorching free kick nine minutes from fulltime that restored Turkey's two-goal advantage.

The Dutch were awarded a penalty three minutes into stoppage time after tugging by Ozan Kabak on De Ligt but Depay's effort was saved by Ugurcan Cakir to complete a miserable night for the visitors.

Other results: [Photo: Courtesy]
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