HomeEuro 2024Gunok’s Heroics Secure Turkey’s Spot in EURO 2024 Quarters

Gunok’s Heroics Secure Turkey’s Spot in EURO 2024 Quarters

Merih Demiral’s Brace Propels Turkey to EURO 2024 Quarter-Finals

Turkey Triumphs Over Austria in Thrilling Encounter

Merih Demiral made history with his double strike, including the fastest knockout-stage goal in European Championship history, as Turkey stunned Austria to secure a quarter-final showdown with the Netherlands.

In what was arguably the tournament’s most exhilarating match thus far, both teams played with relentless intensity under torrential rain, buoyed by fervent support from their fans. The action was non-stop from Demiral’s opening goal to a breathtaking save by Turkish goalkeeper Mert Gunok in the dying moments.

Lightning Start for Turkey

Turkey set the tone within seconds, with Demiral scoring just 57 seconds into the match. Arda Guler’s corner caused chaos in Austria’s defence, and Demiral capitalised, sending the Turkish supporters in Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena into ecstasy.

Just before the hour mark, the dynamic duo struck again. Amid mounting pressure from Austria, another Guler corner found the towering Demiral, who powered a header into the net. The stadium erupted once more, with Turkey’s manager Vincenzo Montella and his team celebrating wildly on the touchline.

Austria’s Fightback Falls Short

Austria, who had failed to register a shot on target in the first half, improved significantly after the break. Stefan Posch flicked on Marcel Sabitzer’s corner, allowing substitute Michael Gregoritsch to score from close range.

Ralf Rangnick’s side, known for their high-intensity, enterprising play, threw everything at Turkey in search of an equaliser. However, the Turkish defence stood firm, repelling every Austrian attack.

Turkey’s Defensive Heroics

Turkey’s journey to their first EURO quarter-final since 2008 has been backed by an incredible support in Germany, matched by their performances on the pitch. They matched Austria’s midfield intensity and won numerous defensive battles, with teenagers Guler and Kenan Yildiz, along with Baris Alper Yilmaz, providing quality in attack.

Goalkeeper Gunok was the unsung hero, making crucial saves to keep Turkey in the lead. His most vital intervention came in stoppage time, denying Christoph Baumgartner’s close-range header. As the final whistle blew, Gunok was mobbed by his teammates, and Turkish fans celebrated jubilantly in the stands.

Austria’s Early Exit

Austria’s hopes were dashed as their fans sang ‘auf wiedersehen’ to their team. Despite high expectations following a group-topping performance over France and the Netherlands, their early exit was a surprise.

Austria had become known for their quick starts, scoring early against Poland and the Netherlands. However, against Turkey, they found themselves on the back foot from the outset. Despite coming close to equalising twice, they struggled to regain their rhythm.

The introduction of Gregoritsch and Alexander Prass at half-time improved Austria’s performance, but Turkey’s defensive organisation, previously seen as a potential weakness, was nearly flawless. Austria pumped numerous balls into the area, but Baumgartner’s efforts either missed the target or were superbly saved by Gunok.

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